Seriously, where in the hell are you? Send me a photo, let me know you are o.k. Yep, I still haven't found that little bastard but I know it around somewhere in the apartment. The van has been ruled out since I thoroughly cleaned that a few days ago.
This past weekend was the Hutchinson Crit. A long drive from Winona and only made longer by the fact that it was raining, the course was somewhat technical, and it had these crazy unlevel pavement sections. With the Nature Valley GP fast approaching I started to write off the race for safety reasons and the fact that I was a little fatigued all last week. Once Kruse told me that the Swansons and Mean Dawg were coming I knew there was no way out of it. I suited up and dragged myself onto the course. We had the course for 30 minutes to warm-up on and I felt pretty good despite the cold. The course dried out and things were looking good.
I had a bum start but worked my way back to the front. The Swansons were mixing it up right away and I just wanted to be up there when or if they got caught so that we always had someone up the road. Well, I got my chance right away and got into a 3-man break for a good amount of laps. We eventually got reeled back in and Dougo took a flier. His group got caught and I found myself off again in another break. Actually, one formed and we were not there so I bridged across. That stayed away with a small chase group behind. I saw green in there so I slowed my pulls on the front of the breakaway in hopes that the rider would get on. Well, it was Danno and he bridged up into the break. Good numbers for us now. We drove the pace and started to play some cards once other riders in the break wouldn't work. They had plans too and were waiting for riders out of the chase. Two guys got on from the chase so now the tactics had to be figured out. Laps 4 and 3 to go I set myself on the front and drove the pace as hard as I could on the curvy course to keep attacks at bay. Lap 2 to go an attack went but Danno covered it good. At the end of lap two I moved up mid-pack with the intent to charge on the little climb with a half of a lap to go. We hit that point and I went. I looked over my left shoulder to see instant green. Danno was on and yelling "go Ian, go Ian, harder, harder, harder." Well, it was time to drill it to the line. Danno kept yelling, I kept pedalling hard, and I knew that if we could get through the last turn that Danno could pull the sprint off. We came out of the last turn and no one came around so I punched again for the win just in case Danno didn't come. Well, he did and he won. I was fourth. For a minute I thought I was going to pull off a win but it all worked out anyhow with Dan's arm up in the air. A good race and some attentive riding by Dan.
Next up is the NVGP. That all begins to throw down on Wednesday with the Prologue. I am pretty excited and I am using the rest day today to change out tires, clean up the bikes, work on turn-a-rounds for the TT, and pack my bags. Predictions? Hey, Nature Valley/Penn looks pretty good man. Big picture? Well, Healthnet is bringing an incredible team. Seriously, the roster is stacked with their "A" guys. Their moves will be the race moves. I say watch Ivan Stevic. Frank Pipp is looking good out of Target Training too. Should be interesting.
I will have pictures of the race if my camera makes a reappearance. Until then. Ciao -Ian