Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Joe Martin, Stage 4

Last day of the stage race and since Nick and I are out of the race we decided to ride up to Fayettville again. I think we both figured that since we were out of the race we needed to get in some decent training miles and then help the guys at the race. So off we went, we had a sweet route mapped out using Google maps. Training in Arkansas is great and we were having fun riding on back roads with no cars, and well, no houses or much of anything else. Along the way we hit some long descents that reminded me of Colorado and of course long climbs as well. It was all good until we his a super long, fun descent and then rolled up a long climb to find a pavement ends sign. Uh Oh, it was probably 10-20 miles back to any kind of cross road. Lucky for us a car came by just as we entered the gravel, we stopped the car and asked for directions but they were locals and everything they said made no sense at all. I figured the gist of it was that we had about 10 miles of what the locals called gravel roads. To me it looked like they just took a bulldozer and scraped a flat surface through the mountains. Pretty much dirt, a little bit of gravel and tons of small boulders. Kinda challenging to keep on schedule dodging big rocks on skinny tired road bikes. Gotta love my Michelin tires, not a flat between us! Any way, I wish I had taken pictures of some of the stuff we rode because it would of been a challenge on a mountain bike, but in the end we popped out of the gravel on the TT course at Devils Den State Park.

Yea!!!! but now we were way behind schedule and it was time to get on the gas. I finally got reception on my phone and could devise a route that would put us on Highway 71 which is part of the Fridays road race course. This is where something clicked in Nick. He was worried that we wouldn't get back in time to help the guys and after I heard him say,"now I know where we are" it was game on. We blew through a small town at 45mph(in a 25mph zone)and then hit the highway. With the wind at our backs we ramped it up to 30-35mph for the remaining 25 miles in to Fayettville. It was painfull but in the end we made it to the race in plenty of time to help the guys so it was all good.

As for the race, the team rode great and it all looked good for Zach to sprint it out for the win until 3 laps to go. With 4 laps to go there was a crash the split the field but Zach was still in good position and then the next lap only Colton was left in the field. I thought there was a crash but what actually happened is that Zach flatted and the guys stopped to give him a wheel and then help him to the finish. What nobody thought of is that stage race rules were in effect, not criterium rules. If Zach had gone to the wheel pit and gotten a wheel we would of received the same time as the field and retained 2nd place overall. Instead he took Adams wheel and chased losing major time and ended up 14th overall. It's a bummer but I think as riders who primarily race criteriums it gets pounded into us that you will not get a wheel after free laps end in a race. It's a bummer but a learning experience for all of us and especially the young guys who will probably see this again down the road. In the end we ended up with Colton in 6th as our best rider but we had 2 others in the top 15 as well. Overall it was a impressive race for the team, super aggressive riding with guys in all the breaks and 2 near wins.

Actual photo proof that yes, I was actually in the race!

Mercy alum Joe Schmalz wearing the white jersey of the Best young Rider (U-25)

Jason and Adam in the break in Saturdays road race. Great rides by both of these guys all weekend long. That's Brian from Tradewind behind Jason. Rough weekend for that team but they'll be back as strong as ever.

So that's it for Joe Martin, this week is a training week and JoBro's birthday so the next races for myself and the team is Tour de Grove in St.Louis. 3 days of criterium racing, Yahooooo!!!!!!

No comments: