If you find a picture from the 2007 Joe Martin Stage Race let me know. Until then I'll tell you how the race went for me this year.
Stage 1: Well, I felt good. I knew that I had got on to form and had my training plan in place to fire up at this race. Coming into Mile 66 we went through a turn and I smoked a pothole that was in the center of the intersection. The front tire blew out a few feet later so I pulled over, took out my front wheel, and waited for the wheel car.........and waited........and waited.........what the F?.............and waited.........is there one?..............did they see me?.........and waited some more........."Hey, the peloton is out of sight"................Wheel car! After getting a wheel that took at least three minutes I set chase to the base of Mt. Gaylor and tempo'ed up the 9 miles. I picked up a few guys and a few guys more to get a group of eight. With three of us doing all the work we got in some 23 minutes down. You can't wait three minutes for a wheel in any race. The problem was that 2-miles before my flat we crossed some bad RR tracks which took some 7 riders out with flats. One was a teammate so even if we were using a team car I would have been screwed. It sucks, that was my stage. I love that climb. Instead I chased for 55 miles.
Stage 2: Legs felt great after yesterday's extended time trial effort. Everyone was riding well but the feared feedzone gap formed on the last lap. I had went back because some teammates were near the back and it ended up that we had to chase 28 miles with 10 other guys. I was trying to help them since my GC hopes were lost the day before, and wanted them to save some legs for.......
Stage 3. The 2. 5mile Devil's Den climbing TT. For all the work I had done trying to salvage stages I placed mid-pack. I felt really good again but a great chuck of power was lost over the past two stages. Mark Hekman put in a good time.
Stage 4: The crit. This is the hardest crit. I race each year. Being that I was super blown by now and my legs felt wooden pegs I managed to stay with the lead group for 78 minutes of the 85 minute race. I really wanted to find a "second wind" to get up and help Hekman. Even if I couldn't do anything for him I think it would have just stoked him enough to see another teammate. If the previous days hadn't went the way they did I would have been right there for him. Well, that is stage racing.
Dewey did well in the cat. 1/2 race and took third I think in the overall.
Before the race I spoke to a couple hundred elementary students about bike safety, nutrition, and a little about racing. They always love the equipment, love to hear about crashes and trophies, and love to share their stories about tipping over. Be a part of that and sharing our sport with them makes coming down here all worth it.
Now I am at the Tri-Peaks Stage Race in nearby Russellville Arkansas. Tough, tough, tough climbs and long. Apparently the courses for this year are much harder than in the past. For me it is all new. Hopefully I have some Superman powers after Joe Martin.
The rest of my team is making their 16-hour trip home. They are a great team and some damn cool dudes. Well, more to come from this trip of Arkansas. The climbs here will make the team ineffective so the climbs will sort things out. Good for me, bad for them. Ciao -Ian