Monday, August 03, 2009

USA Cycling TT Nats

Well, Oregon officially owns my download cord for my camera so pictures will have to wait.
we took off for the long drive to Bend, OR last week. Greg Brandt, his brother and father, and myself made the trip. We drove straight through to Bozeman so that JM could look at the university there. From there we drove to Pasco, WA and stayed in a pretty kick-ass Holiday Inn Express. Dealing with the 105 degree weather, Greg and I hit a big 30 minute ride in. Greg tried to get me to drive into the barrio. Obviously, I am typing right now so I clearly didn't not take that turn.
We made it to Bend late the next morning and hook-up with Frank Overton of Fascat Coaching and his two athletes, Austin and Melissa. The IS Corp crew was staying with us as well and they pulled in at the same time. We unloaded, hit groceries, and started in on bikes. We got Greg's family into the Holiday Inn Express and it was race time.
First up was Austin in the JR 15-16 road race. Heat hit him like many others as well as getting caught up in an early crash. His day ended early.
The IS Corp crew got the next day in the U-23 race. Heat once again took a field of 178 and turned it into about 43 finishers.
The next day would be Melissa in the women's road race, and Greg and the IS Corp crew in the Elite RR. Melissa hung strong and finished 1:43 back from the Winner, Meridith Miller (eeer, Hed sponsored!) from TIBCO. Greg rode strong and smart but a mechanical took him out. Matt Brusche finished 5th from IS Corp which was a strong ride. Frank, Greg family, and myself sat at the feedzone and handed water to nearly everyone. It was hot! A lot of riders were using "wet lube" out there. But, it was too dry and dusty for that. A lot of chain suck and problems. I set up all the bikes I worked on with a dry lube for this reason. That night I worked on TT bikes for nearly everyone. A long night.
TT time came. Austin when out first and discovered that the turnaround was further than we thought. Oh well. Melissa was the first to deal with the heat and it showed when she got back. Frank had the "ice towels" going strong and they helped. The rest of us got warmed up with me going last out of our group.
The winds picked up so I ditched the Stinger wheelset and was on the Jet C2 disc and Hed H3 front. I started off into a crosswind and could already feel the heat on the road. The air was dry and demanded a lot of sips from the bottle. The day before I was joking about a headwind up the climb. Well, late into the U-23 men's race and early into our Elite race the winds shifted into a headwind for our 7-mile climb. Talk about a trudge. I found myself in gear patterns that I was not prepared for. I rode the 56T when I could and the 44T when I couldn't. I got to the turnaround after about 20 minutes of fighting the urge to drop out. It was stupid hot. At the turnaround I had about 1:20 on Colby Pearce and 1:40 on Olheiser. However, I later learned that the last 5 riders (which I was one of) were sent off in 1-minute intervals (that would explain why my 1:30 and :30 man seemed absent at the start). So, in actuality, I had 20 seconds on Colby and was down 20 seconds on Olheiser. I was racing them on wrong time gaps. Not good for the thought of my progress.
On the downhill I was full-on the 56T and that was even spinning out (considering Zirbel rode a 58T with an 11-23 round trip on this course a week earlier......freak). Still, it was a smart ring, and I kept the cadence high and the body aero........"hell, I forgot my shoe covers!" Being that I missed 4th by 15 seconds and third by 22 seconds.....well, you TT folks know how much time shoe covers give you. Frustration strikes! I got to the bottom and nearly cooked the corner into the final 6K lap. Up, down, into the wind and out, the final circuit was designed to clean you out of whatever you had left. I paced it wisely and used the final 3K to my favor. In the end I was 5th overall. A podium spot but it SHOULD have been better. My error, my mistake, my loss. Next year will be better based on what was learned here this year.
That night, the IS Corp crew bailed back to Portland for a 12:30am flight back to Chicago in order to get to Elk Grove by 1pm........crazy fools. The rest of us went to the awards podium for my finish. Bjorn Sealander put in a very impressive 2nd place in the U-23 ( I have the rare set-up podium that did not happen for the U-23 men to post soon) and Jordan Cullen was 2nd in his age group on his new Hed wheels.
After killing Ben and Jerry's, we hit the grocery store.....errr......beer store, had Lance Niles and Maggie over, grilled some mean burgers, and enjoyed the final night in Bend. The next morning we were off.
We drove straight through with a stop in Bozeman for the sole reason of their killer CO-OP. From there is was Sturgis bound motorcycles and long roads. Now I am back.
I have rehearsed and re-run this TT over and over. I am bummed about my rookie mistakes but I am happy with a result such as this with the guys I was racing against. I know I can do better and I know I will the next time. One can only perfect the unperfectable. It is a constant struggle but for those who stay on it, well, they will break through eventually. You will get it right.
Big thanks to all for the support. Of course, Hed wheels and Dino for the rare wheels and tech knowledge, Grandstay for letting me travel to these things, Greg, JM, and Tom Brandt for the drive and travel, Frank Overton at FasCat Coaching for all the years of support and friendship, Trek Bikes and Maury for the incredible TT bike, Rudy Project for helping me see clearly, and the family for encouragement in a very frustrating discipline of the sport. This is a tought sport without support like this. Period!
I rode a mountain bike tonight! I have some work to do. Speaking of mountain bikes, take a look at Lance's new Trek for Leadville. Awesome! Ciao -Ian