Friday, August 08, 2008

BMW's and Starbucks rule L.A.

As if this was ever not to be expected. 1 hour to drive 11 miles on I-5 to registration.
Greg Brandt, his father Tom, and myself flew to LAX this past Monday evening to hit the USA Cycling Elite Nats. Tom scored us a sweet rental pick-up truck and we rushed down to the Candlewood Suites in Irvine. The next morning we hooked up with a relative of mine to pick up our TT bikes that we had Fed-Exed out. We went out to the TT course and got a good glimpse of it. It was hot as whack from the get-go but we rode it easy. The course started off on a undulating climb up a wide bike path for 2 miles, through a tunnel, and onto a road for another 1.8 miles of climbing. From there you screamed down into a hot, arid valley for 9 more miles until a 1 mile climb up to the turn-around. From there you screamed back down to a stair step climb for 7 miles to the finish. Tough ass couse. We hooked up with my old coach, Frank Overton of FasCat Coaching, and went into chill mode.
The next morning I had a 9:08.30 start which I thought would play into my favor with cooler temps. I had a good start and caught my 1.5 minute man by the tunnel. By the end of all the climbing I had my 2.5 minute man. I was clear that the new Hed C2 disc was fast. That sucker is stiff and great on the climbs. I kept drilling it and doing the mental talk game to the 1-mile turn around climb. Again, I came to the turn around and got stuck behind a slower rider negotating the turn. I took the turn, watered down, and got back up to speed. At mile 16 it all crashed down. My legs tightened up and it took me another mile and a half to talk myself out of it. The legs came clean, I hit it hard again, saw the 500 meter sign, and sprinted for my life.

I came across the line and got the "Hot Seat" for about 12 riders. Finally my time fell. They kept me around until I was knocked out of the top three. Times were getting faster. I blame some good names for that, but also the tailwind on the way out picked up. When it is a 14 mile out, 7 mile back course, that tailwind is going to play some good benefits for the later riders. Sure, I could have ridden some parts different. I didn't even think I was going the race two weeks ago and had stopped LT workouts, but in the end I did the best I had. 6th place would have to do. I was looking for a top 5 but missed the Disney Land/ ESPN Zone podium by 8 seconds. Next year yo!
Greg had a tough go on the TT but came back for an 8th place finish in the U-23 Crit. Nats. A damn good result when you look at the riders and teams he was up against.
I packed up my bike, went out with my relatives, Mindy, Josh, and children along with the Brandts for Sushi, and went back to the hotel to pack.
We hooked up with Frank again for coffee and then went to get my ass back to LAX.
Thank-you NWA for the 2-hour delay and getting me to MSP at 1:30am. Today I slept and I am whipped.
Got to checkout and ride the new Dura Ace 7900. All I can say is that no matter what the critics say I thought it was absolutely great. I loved the SRAM hoods, but I have a new crush on the DA hoods. Plus, it is so silky smooth over SRAM.

Nice eh? Thanks to Wayne Stetina for the lowdown on the new groupo. A lot of people to thank for getting me to the TT nats. To my secret supporter for helping out the financial end of this race. It means more than I can describe in type. To Tom Brandt for getting the rental car together, and dragging us around L.A. and keep Greg and my stress levels down. To Minday and Josh England for the bike drop off and directions to anything useful to a cyclist, Frank for being Frank, Cool people on the plane, and to the Hed's, Dino and the crew at Hed Wheels for getting me that C2 disc. That wheel is fast if you have the frame that can fit it. And to all those who gave me encouragement. Trust me, I feed off of it.
So now what? I am looking at the TT Master and Elite Nats for next year already. 2-minutes off the pace? I seriously know where I can find it for the next time. Tomorrow a wedding in Clearwater, MN, next weekend in Downers Grove, then State RR, and then a careful bachelor party for Scott Sherman. And then the Cheqfest.

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