Tulsa Tough, 3 days of fun in the sun in Tulsa Oklahoma. Every year I head down to do the races and every year it hurts. Not the bad kind of hurt but the hurt you get from riding a hard as you can go. It seems like I go into the weekend with questionable fitness and I get my answer pretty quick on Friday night. Racing the Cat 1-2 race with 5 other teammates is fun but it comes with the burden of knowing you will be working to help your teammate win. Our guy was Shadd since most of these races come down to a field sprint and he’s our best sprinter.
So here we go: Tulsa Tough Day 1 Blue Dome Crit
As usual the sun is going down as we are getting ready to race but the temp is still up there. The field was full with a waiting list so we lined up with 140 guys ready to rip it up. I made the decision to pass on much of a warm up for a better start position and it worked, front row! From there the race went pretty fast, speeds were up with an average speed of 28.7mph for the race, and the crashes came every few laps. I’m not sure what the deal was with all the crashes, the course was good. It seems that guys were super aggressive trying to hold their position in the field and causing tons of bumping and diving in the turns. In any case the race went well for the team Logan did a killer leadout with 3 to go and got Shadd to the last lap on the front. In the sprint Shadd was a close 2nd to Michal Sheehan of Elbowz Racing. The whole team rode well and came away with all our skin.
Day 2: Brady District Crit
Day 2: Brady District Crit
Another race that starts at dusk and ends in the dark. I really do love night time crits, I’m not sure why but its fun to blast around the course with 100 other guys. This course has a little bigger hill in it and at race time the wind was strong on the downhill side of the course. The battle for position was hard as ususal but the team kept Shadd at the front of the race. With 14 laps to go I followed a Elbowz rider across to a group that was off the front of the pack. Felt good when we started, was totally cross eyed when we got there, and slid back in the pack as the pace slowed. The only problem with slipping back in the pack was that it quickly became impossible to move up. I guess it was because of the hill or the wind but the field bunched up curb to curb and that was the way it went to the end the race. Once again it was a field sprint where Shadd finished 11th.
Day 3: Riverfront Crit
By far, the Riverfront course is the hardest race of the weekend. Flat on the start/finish straight and then up Crybaby hill, another hill and then the big downhill to the finish straight. I knew this was going to be a hard one for me. I usually race Masters on Sat/Sun and the 1-2 race was really pushing me to my limits. We had a plan as a team to protect Shadd as best we could and protect his 3rd overall in the GC. The race ended about half way for me. With an ill shifting bike and dead legs I decided to pull the plug and call it a day. The rest of the team rode well and Shadd pulled out a 10th place to secure 3rd overall.For me Tulsa Tough went about as well as I could hope. My last injection into my knee was just the Wednesday before the weekend and with shots the previous 2 weeks training was a little slow. At this point its time to train and get ready for the Tour of Lawrence. The rest of the team is currently racing The Nature Valley Grand Prix.