Sunday, September 30, 2012

USGP 1-2, Gateway Cup Cross

I'm pretty late getting this race report out. It's been kind of hectic ever since the build up for the first USGP started. Left KC on Thursday, drove to Madison on Friday, raced sat/sun and drove to Omaha Sunday night. Got back in the car early Monday morning and drove back to KC. Wednesday morning it was time to get back into the car and headed to St. Louis for the Gateway Cross Cup. Since it was such a late finish to the Elite race we opted to stay the night and drive back in the morning. With all the travel and trying to get some work done at the shop I was just a bit fried by this weekend.

As for the races, USGP #1 went pretty well. A fast dry course was similar to last year with a few more turns. Off the start I was up front and early on my teammate Mark Legg took off and was gone. I had a good battle with Jeff Weinert over 2nd place eventually ending up 3rd.

Day 2 didn't go quite so well. Once again Mark took off and was gone but this time there were 5 riders battling for 2nd thru 6th. It was a tactical battle the whole day and I tried to bust up the group a munber of times but in the end I was 6th. Not a bad weekend at all.

45+ podium Day 1

35+ podium

Tim Johnson on a dry, dusty course

Katie Compton hopping the boards

Jeff and I hopping the boards on Day 2
Gateway Cross Cup
Another early start had Joe and I heading for St. Louis for the Gateway Cross Cup. We arrived and quickly got a prime location for our pit. Teammate Mark Legg arrived and we got ready for our 40+/50+ race. Mark and I both got slow starts but soon we were on the front. Once Mark got to the front he slowly started pulling away from me. In the end Mark finished 1st in the 45+ race and I was 1st in the 50+.
Joe was the real trooper. He got up early to travel with me when I was a early race and he was the last race. I think there was 5 hours between our races. 9th place and some UCI points was the outcome for Joe's first race of the season.

50+ podium
Missed out on Boss Cross this weekend for a number of reasons. Kind of a bummer but I think I needed to reset.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quite a few videos of Gateway Cup

Tour de Lafayette

Tour de Frances Park

The Giro

Tour de Benton Park

Time to move on and get ready for the Source Endurance Cross Clinic, starts tomorrow and goes through Sunday

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gateway Cup, Benton Park

Here we go, here we go, here we go!!!!!!!!!!!

The Benton Park race is one I love to hate. I love it because it's  a great a course for me. It's around 2 miles long and has 10 corners, great for guys like Shadd and I who can really drive a bike. I hate it because I've never had a good race on this course. The course isn't the problem, it's the fact that it's the last race of the weekend and I'm always tired. But after the crash fest at the Giro yesterday I actually had a day off. My Garmin showed that I was in the race for 45 minutes before I got pulled. After the crashes I was just rolling around in a small group, spinning the legs, and waiting to get pulled. In my head I knew the race was over for me and I needed to save myself for Benton Park. That night I knew that I was going to go into the last race more rested than I've ever been. Motivation was even higher because I also knew that this was probably going to be my last race in a Mercy Cycling kit.

The race day started off right when we got a prime parking position for the white whale and Trek trailer. There was no chance of rain so the carbon wheels came out for the first time all weekend and soon we were ready to race. As a team we had 2 guys in the top 10 overall and we really wanted to maintain those positions. Of course winning the race would work as well! At the team meeting before the race we knew that a break would probably determine the winner. Our plan was to make sure we were represented in every break until one got away. If it did come down to a group sprint we would go with the same plan as the past few days and set up a lead out train.

The race begins and the pace is hot, Jelly Belly and Kenda are sending guys up the road left and right trying to spring a break. As the laps go on a lead group slowly starts to pull away, but the group continued to get bigger until the field finally decided to pull them back. Mercy cycling had good representation in the first break and as soon as it got caught another break went. This time there were only 6 riders and Colton was in there for Mercy. The break quickly got a minute gap and Adam and I were on the front of the field slowing the pace. While we were trying to slow things down riders were constantly attacking the field and trying to get away. Eventually another break formed between the first break and the field. This time Nick was in there with 3 other riders and it was time to get to work again.

As we got near to the end of the race we were looking pretty good. A rider in each breakaway and Zach and Shadd for the field sprint. With a few laps to go we started to get our lead out guys together at the front of the field when I saw a Mercy jersey coming back to the field. Nick had put out a huge effort to make the break and with just a few laps remaining he got popped off when the attacks started. With 2 laps to go we were pretty well set up for the lead out  when a rider decided to attack. I jumped on his wheel and the rider quickly became the first rider in the lead out train. As we hit the finish line hill I jumped past the rider and led for the next quarter of a lap. Next Austin was up and led until the half lap to go point where Shadd took over. With Zach on his wheel Shadd led right up until the sprint started. In the sprint Colton was 4th, Zach was 20th, and Shadd was 23rd.  Another great effort from the whole team.

In the final omnium results Zach ended up 6th, Shadd 12th, and Colton 14th. The thing that impressed me the most was how each rider contributed and did their job. We have riders that are better suited for stage races but this weekend the criterium is king so the sprinters rule. It was all in all weekend for our sprinters and 6th overall and best amateur shows we did our job.

What a way to end the road season!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gateway Cup, Giro

Yesterday was certainly a good, bad, and ugly kind of day. I woke up hoping for some dry weather but it was not to be. It was raining and that would be the theme of the day a persistent rain showers rolled through the area. A few of us had really hoped to get a short ride in to spin out the legs but after cleaning up the bikes we decided to just leave a little early and warm up at the race.

So we got loaded up and jumped in the van, only to find out the battery was dead. On top of that there are no jumper cables to be found. Luck for us our host, Mark, went over to the neighbors and found some there. So after a short delay we were off for the Giro de Montagnia.

We get to the race a bit late and the great debate begins. Do you set up for rain or not. It's dry but the radar shows a pretty good possibility of rain. Most of us set up for rain and are ready to go. Warming up I was definitely feeling the effects of the first 2 days of racing. Pretty tight and sore legs but you never know, maybe I can ride into the race and feel better.

So we line up and I had a pretty decent spot on the line. My only issue was that I was right next to the fence. At the whistle we take off and the guy next to me leans over and runs me into the fence. Instantly I went from the front of a 120 rider field to the back.The first few laps of the race were fast but after that the pace backed off and I slowly worked my way up to the front of the field. The bad part of that it started misting and then a light rain started to fall. Naturally it turned the roads to ice and the carnage began. This time I wasn't as lucky as the first 2 races and I got caught up in a couple of crashes. I can't complain, at least I only got stopped by the first crash and just fell onto the pile in the 2nd. No bike damage, no skin loss, I'll take it.

I got in a small group and kept riding but it wasn't long before we got pulled. Bummer, but I went and put on some dry clothes and watch the rest of the team go at it. The guys were riding strong and working as a team. Zach helped Nick get a $100 prime and the rest of the guys got to the front for the end of the race. Once again Shadd and Colton set up next to Jelly Belly lead out train for the last 5 laps and kept Zach in position for the sprint. It paid off with a 6th for Zach and 12th for Shadd.

Pre-race clean up

It's the Giro Baby!

Not sure where to go with the photo credits here, some are mine, some are from the STL Biking site. There are a bunch of photos from the weekend on the STL Biking site if you go to the Forum.
Last day of Gateway Cup today. The Benton Park course is by far the hardest course of the 4. Hoping I'll have the legs to help the team today since I got a bit of a rest yesterday. The forecast is for dry conditions.....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gateway Cup, Tour de Francis Park

Day 2 of Gateway Cup weekend came with more scattered showers so the plan for a morning ride was out. Instead we worked on cleaning up bike and kits from the previous race. We are very lucky to again be at the VonBokles house, our St. Louis base camp. I can't say thanks enough. We are able to do laundry, wash bike, cook food, and generally act like we are at home.

As for the race, we arrived at the course and there were scattered showers around but it was dry. As we were all getting ready it started to sprinkle. Then 30 minutes before the race it just started to pour. Time for some team bonding as we all huddled in the trailer to hide from the rain. Luckily, the rain stopped just before we lined up to start the race.

Once we got going it was obvious the team was riding really well. I could see all the guys riding near the front of the field. Shadd, Colton, and Zach were all in prime hunting mode but unfortunately they came up just short each time. After the Friday night race we knew that we needed to have the whole team working at the front of the race in the last 10 laps. Zach and Shadd are our sprinters and we needed to protect them and keep them in position for the field sprint.

It really is pretty exciting when the plan works and you get the results you were seeking. Each person did there job and in the last lap Shadd took over to lead out Zach. 3rd for Zach and 4th for Shadd was a great result for the team.

As for me I'm pretty pleased with how I'm riding. I would of never guessed the races would be going this well considering how I've been riding the past few weeks but I'll take it. Two more days to go!

Colton and Brad Huff

The sprint!

Actual proof that I was at the front in the closing laps of the race!

Nice shot of Colton

Photo credits go all over, Nikki Cyp, Jelly Belly Cycling, STL Biking

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gateway Cup, Tour De Lafayette

Colton navigating while Shadd pilots the mighty white whale(Mercy Van) through the deluge on interstate 70.
Gateway Cup, Day 1 Lafayette Park
Pretty crazy day yesterday as we drove in a monsoon to St. Louis. It was a long drive as the it was slow going most of the time. Once we arrived the rain continued on and off right up until race time. I was a little worried about visibility with the rain and dark course but I figured I could quit if it got too bad.
So we got going and the race was fast from the gun. All the guys on the team were on the front of the race and riding well. After a rough start I eventually worked my way to the front of the race and tried to hang out in the top 20. With 10 laps to go most of the Mercy crew got to the front and started to get ready lead out our sprinters. Then the battle with the Pro riders began. As a amature team we are not quite as organized or have the horsepower as the pro teams. But I doesn't stop us from trying and last night we were close. Zach was 8th and we were really active at the front of the race all the way to the end. No results yet but I thing we have a few other riders in the top 15.
Looks like today will be another rain race as it's raining right now and probably will all day. At least it won't be dark!