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We are adding an all white top for summer heat. Let’s hope we get to group ride again this summer.
Ride solo, ride Zwift and stay safe out there. Just because the roads are clear doesn’t mean you can’t get run off the road by inattentive drivers or worse, semi-truck drivers. Check out my encounter below.
Four hours. Four hours may seem like a relatively short period of time to spend on a single task, especially considering how easy it is to lose hours on a Netflix binge. Very similarly the four hours I spent racing this previous Friday at Amateur Nationals went by far too fast. A certain level of calm and nerve starts to work its way through my mind. Heart beat starting to rise as some of the best riders in the US get a call up to the line. For the next four hours I’ll be contending with elements beyond my control, at speeds that leave little tolerance for error. In the moments before the race my mind reaches out to grasp at things it can control: Have I checked my brakes, am I in the right gearing for the start, where do I need to be for the beginning of the race, is my power meter calibrated, does my cat have enough food, and most importantly any little bit of luck I can get. Before long a little voice pops in my head, not one of self-doubt, but one that leaves me hopeful. As I look to my right, and then my left, I realize these guys are every bit as human as I am. I believe in myself, my training, my strength, I’m ready for the four-hour fight alongside them. The nerves calm, and in that moment, I feel at home in this environment.
“Riders on my count, 3, 2, 1…” Let me pause for a moment. As much as I wish I could just show up with this hyped up, grandiose confidence, to keep me in the right mindset to race against some of the FASTEST people in the USA, I didn’t just show up to find myself standing there waiting for the green light to race. I remember watching the tour and seeing some of my favorite riders racing their hearts out to chase their dream. Dan Martin races with his heart, and whether that is true or not, I look up to him because of that drive. Yet heart alone won’t let you slip away from the strength of the pursuing peloton behind. That single moment is all that we see from afar, but its everything that was done in preparation, the hard work to get there, that made that moment possible. In that moment the announcer was counting us down, I found my thoughts wandering. How did I get here, ready to race against some of the fastest riders in the country, at the Amateur National Championship Road Race?
I was never the most competitive person growing up, nor was I the most athletic, but a few years ago I discovered a new passion. Running. I jumped in the deep end. My mind, absolutely loved it. My body, did not. The two disagreed with my plan of jumping into a marathon, as I had had only been running for a few weeks. I wanted to run to new places, to places that were missed by the quickness of a car. Luckily for my joints, before any marathon attempt, I found two wheels. I felt very much like a kid again. A momentary break from reality and the ability to travel to new places under my own effort. I could go as fast or as slow as I wanted, but I seemed to enjoy going fast the most. A chance meeting with an old friend at a park put me in the direction of my first group ride. I remember being so afraid of getting dropped in Detroit, that I made a pact with myself to work however hard I needed to, so I wouldn’t get lost. No matter what, don’t get dropped. I only got dropped once that day. Looking back maybe an attack over the Belle Isle bridge wasn’t the best move.
Since that day everything has moved so fast. I learned about pacelines, racing, wind directions, tactics, and training in the cold months of the year. I’m still learning new things every day I clip into my bike. The cyclists I meet always provide great stories, and whether they know it or not, will even provide invaluable wisdom. This guy is quite thankful for that. It has been about 2 years of solid racing now, not including the time I was sidelined due to a car running me over. That’ll be a different tale for a different day, I promise. But I’ve lived the past 2 years trying my best to break through to a next level of fitness. For me it is a balancing act of breaking myself mentally and physically and having to piece myself back together again. All in the hope of becoming stronger, smarter, and wiser on a bike. My friends and family have been supportive of me and have picked me up when I have been at my lowest in this sport, and in life. And in my lowest moment of my riding era I decided that I was going to once again jump off the deep end. While I laid at home with my broken ankle up on the back of the couch, I reaffirmed my dream. I used it as my drive to try and become strong again. Like my first group ride, I would do everything within my power, to not get dropped. I decided I want to be racing against the best riders in the country, at the USA Cycling Amateur National Championship. In that moment, I put in for my Category 1 upgrade.
This year has been a roller coaster of emotion when it comes to my training and racing. Chasing after your dream is not easy. I have fallen, crashed out of contention, almost passed out on the trainer, had some breakthroughs in my fitness gains, and even shed some tears along the way. Yet, I continue to chase. I do these things because I learn so much about myself along the way. I find my character, and I find my drive, I find comfort in the uncomfortable. I have seen so many amazing things and been to so many new places. Made amazing friendships, and sometimes traveling halfway around the country to meet people that live in my backyard.
Four hours. 2018 Amateur National Championship. As the whistle released us from the starting line, I smiled. For the next four hours, I’m in my element and I wouldn’’t want to be anywhere else.
The Race: Amateur Nationals – Road Race
The race itself was like any other race, but faster, and quite a bit punchier. Not to mention that a good number of teams had radios. New team goal: Race with radios. I started the race with a simple task; Race near the front. Whatever it takes just stay near the front. With some mentoring from Alexey I knew I needed to find my moment to strike all my matches at once. To be willing to be aggressive and not afraid to lose it all. To trust my gut, and race like I do most other days. Little did I know it was going to be tougher than that. Nor did I think the feed zone would be so deadly. Grabbing bottles from our team support was like trying to grab brick from a moving car. The peloton would take a left hand turn into the feed zone at speed, never slowing down because position into the Draper climb was far too important.
In four feeds I received one bottle, but I took one in the chest, tried to grab one like a wide receiver catching a ball, and I think I had better luck catching the other one if I had just punched it. Such a shit show. The best way I heard it described was by a Strava title that went something like, “A bar fight in the feed zone”. I can still smell the carbon brakes from the 45mph decent into a 90-degree right hand turn. The sound of our team president’s ENVE hitting a pothole that stealthily laid in the shadow of a tree down a dark road, and the sound of carbon cracking and breaking behind me to those who weren’t so lucky. Sometimes I miss it when riders called out obstructions in the road, or just went around them. I also saw cars having to drive into ditches, and riders having to shift right at the last second so as to not hit the car that is driving on the supposed closed course. Yet, through all of this I found myself able to stay near the front. I chased after wheels, I brought back a few moves, and I even attempted to bridge to moves up the road. By the end of the race it was clear that a break would not win the day, and field would be rushing to the line in a sprint. Which was good for me, because I would want nothing to do with a sprint and was good to know that I didn’t miss a break after being taken out in a crash. Remember that “Bar fight in the feed zone”? I got caught up in that. One of those “bricks” that missed a hand off landed on the ground. A guy to my right with one hand on the bars darted left to avoid it and hit me hard. Left me hitting the ground. I was able to get up and with SRAM’s help was able to start riding again. However, my contention was done. I gave it my all in the post-crash mindset of catching them again. In that moment of desperation up a Draper hill, watching all the convoy pass me, I realized I wasn’t trying to catch the field, but I was chasing a break. Like I said before it has been a long up and down year, and I’ve had some great fitness, but just haven’t been able to catch a break.
I had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get here. Having put a lot of weight on a good result, I began to tear up knowing my day was done. In that moment with one lap to go, I was determined to accomplish the most basic of my goals, finish the race. Benny Cook kept me company during that last lap, and together we rode through the line. I technically took out Benny. Well I was the body that came to a stop in front of him. To say I felt bad about that would be an understatement. That last lap was by far the slowest lap of the race, but under the circumstances it was a great lap. I was able to process the good and the bad, focus on the fact that I had a support system in my life to have put me and my closest friends in a race in Maryland. Where would I be without BaseMedia support, I don’t know. I owe Wassmann, and Donnelly so much for all the love and support they have shown me, and the others. I’m sure it can be frustrating at times dealing with all of us hooligans, especially when we destroy the kitchen.
Fun Fact: nothing gets a grupetto wound up more than someone attacking over top of it to get a better finish. That group banded together so quickly to chase it down. Kudos to Benny for being the one to start the chase.
Four hours. A lot can happen in four hours, no matter how short that time might feel, and a whole lot more can go into it than what first meets the eye. My coach always reminds me that the process is the most important thing. If you cannot enjoy the process, you’ll have a hard time working through the tough times. One step up would be to always enjoy the present moment. Through all the crazy of that day I had so much to be thankful for. I was so thankful to be in Maryland with my closest friends and teammates. It is through their support that I was even able to be there in the first place, because I couldn’t do it alone. I probably would have given up long ago without their encouragement and support. To have shared in so many laughs along this journey, and even with the medic cleaning my wounds I had plenty to smile and even more to laugh about. I love bike racing for more than just the racing, but for the experience, for the people, and for learning that I can endure. I learn new things every time I get on a bike, and though the field has many more years of experience than I, I am quite stubborn and can endure quite a lot. All I need is a little bit of a break.
Thank you Wassmann, Donnelly, and all the others from Base Media that help support me in my dream of chasing down a pro field, and for believing in my ability on the days that I struggle to see them. To all my friends and family that put up with a hangry and otherwise unsocial person during the months leading up to this event. I know that can be quite hard on you and is a big sacrifice. I have great teammates, who are a blast to ride with, and who remind me I don’t currently get paid to do this, so be sure to keep it fun for the soul.
We had an inauspicious start to the day. How does one drive across the entire mitten state without cash, drivers license or credit card? Feel free to ask. I can provide pointers.
Fortunately, the rest of the day improved. We had a good team turnout given the 5-6 hour round trip ride: Kristen Waite (and her two “children” dog 1 and dog 2), Matt the “Diesel” Jenkins, Chris Donnelly (Yeah, the guy with the flyaway Base Media tent) and of course the Cat 2 team of Chris Wanley, Benny Cook and Christian Eckart.
A special shout out to Terry Ritter – heal fast! Terry crashed in the Masters 40/50 race coming out of the fastest corner on the course, at least 30-35 mph – as someone once said, like jumping out of a moving car…naked. A lot of us were fortunate to avoid the crash.
Watching Kristen crack the women’s race and finishing 3rd. As usual, she was aggressive and forced the race. Fun to watch.
Then, the Chris Donnelly victory in the master’s race after a short lived break away by yours truly. I was happy to hold on to the pack at the finish. For some reason, I was short of breath.
Chris Wanley finished the day off with a solid 4th in a “hectic” pro 1/2/3 sprint with support work by Benny and Christian.
Beautiful venue along Lake Michigan and definitely worth the drive. A big thank you to the organizers for putting on a great event.
This week had been physically draining, between the tough workouts, and trying to get enough sleep. The car ride down wasn’t bad, thanks to Brian Lucas’s driving skills and the company of Benny Cook and Thomas Moran (who raced Cat 3 instead of 1/2/3). We were able to get out and stretch the legs a few times during the trip. During those times I realized that my legs didn’t feel as bad as I thought. I had the, “I got this today” feeling back. I ate my usual breakfast, with a little snacking during the trip, followed up with a subway sandwich for my pre-race meal. Once we arrived and got kitted up, I started to roll around where I could given limited time and space. Seemed like I was always rushing no matter how early we left. Ate a powerbar during the warmup and gel for the roll out. Stuck with water for my first bottle.
Starting the race I found the first couple surges very unpleasant, but after a few more my legs woke up. I worked to stay close to the front of the pack as much as possible, while also trying to staying out of the wind. The crosswind was gnarly, and the peloton rode everyone in to the gutter. A few fliers went up the road throughout the early laps. They all seemed to go off easy, but the peloton never lost sight of them.
Shortly after the feed zone there was a right hand turn that went over a few rollers, where momentum seemed to take over and speeds soared. This is where all of the riders off the front would get caught. It wasn’t till after the 2nd lap that things start getting a bit “spicy”. Benny had helped with covering attacks and doing a few digs along with myself. I had bridged a few times to promising breaks, but would see that we were being chased down, so I shutdown the match burning each time. Eventually I got my break. Leading into the climb on the backside that takes you home to the finish line, Benny had covered a move through the little town, but a small group was pulling away from him. He wasn’t able to cover the move, so I moved up and made the little bridge, and kept it going.
We were a group of 5 chasing down two riders off the front. Roadhouse and Petrov were the two man solo, and we were bringing them back. Once we caught them we were a group of 7, which was big, but all of the dominant teams were there. Finally it was a good enough assortment for the teams to shut down the chase. One rider was skipping pulls, tired from bridging to us, but we had all worked to chase. Bissel rider Jonathan and I found this unacceptable, and I pulled a “Glenn” to get him to work or to drop him. What’s a “Glenn?” In buffalo last year Benny and I raced against a Cat. 1 rider out of New Jersey. When someone was skipping pulls he would pull in front of the offending rider during the pace rotation, but let the pace line go. He would let a gap open up and when it was at a decent distance he would snap away and chase down the group. The rider either had to do the same thing or get dropped. So I did that before the descent to let him know you pull through or I will make life hard on you. He didn’t miss a pull again.
With a little encouragement everyone played nice in the pace line, and did their fair share. The crosswind was now far easier due to our echelon formation. On the last lap, Roadhouse did a dig on the first roller going south after the feed zone. Petrov did a pretty good one on the hill. I pushed the pace and did a few attacks when I had some good momentum, but no one got dropped till the last climb. Roadhouse did a dig, but it was Petrov that layed down the hurt. I knew in my head he was going to do something, and I set my gearing to be very responsive. He went and I matched. Another rider did a dig, and it was brought back. Petrov went a second time and he got the gap. It was left to me to bring it back. I did so slowly because I knew I had Roadhouse on my wheel. I didn’t want to burn everyone only to miss his attack off my wheel. At this point there was no one else to worry about. Just before I had Petrov’s wheel Kyle, the Roadhouse rider, attacked and I couldn’t cover. I was however able to still catch Petrov and sprint around Kyle for second.
Overall, I was happy with my effort. Benny was amazing, and I couldn’t have done it without him. Base Media was able to support us again this weekend, and Brian Lucas was awesome for hanging out on the side of the road all day to hand us bottles. For his first time he did an amazing job with the hand offs. I just missed the Big W but I knew that for a moment I had a negative mindset with my performance that almost checked me mentally out of the race. Fortunately, positive thinking turned that around in a flash and I was back in the game for the win. I still needed to be more aggressive and I’ll get better at that as I become more confident in my ability as a racer.
There I am in the middle of a Devils Den in Arkansas, with my skinsuit half on carrying my bike attached to the trainer. I’ve been having a hard time finding level ground to set up my bike. Every time I think I find a place to set it up, it turns out to be just as uneven as the last spot. After a few minutes of this aimless wandering Wassmann (aka The Chief) finds me. With a smile and a whatcha doing, he helps me find level ground.
It was in this moment I realized that I wasn’t as relaxed and calm as I had thought I had been that morning. During my warmup I was running through all of the turns, when to push harder, how I’m going to handle the switchbacks, and most importantly focusing on what this effort will feel like. Soon my thoughts go to all the cold rides in the winter, and terrible trainer rides without a fan. I find reassurance in those thoughts because here I am in the sun sweating away in a different state with a good friend who only wants to see me have a good experience. My only responsibility is to enjoy the adventure, and to let the body do what I’ve been training it for.
Our adventure began almost two days earlier in Donnelly’s car. Wassmann was driving us towards Cay Stout’s house in Toledo. We decided to not drive through the night to make it to Arkansas a few hours earlier than if we left Friday morning. Cay was nice enough to open up her home. We got to sleep in comfy beds and enjoy amazing Thai food. Up to this point I had never had Thai food, and I was soon in love with it. Come morning Cay, being such an amazing host, brewed us some coffee, and a hearty breakfast to fuel our long day in the car. Once our adventure started we returned to our audiobook by Phil Gaimon, Pro Cycling on $10 a Day. I still think the audiobook could have been better if a different voice was used for the reading. All the same the book was a good way to pass the time, and every so often the book would spark some conversations. When traveling be sure to remember that time zones will affect your food stops. We had planned a stop for food at some small city in Illinois, but didn’t take in account that we went into a different time zone. When we arrived the restaurant hadn’t even opened yet, which left us waiting around for 30mins to eat.
West of St. Louis is a small town by the name of Cuba. Brian Lucas put together a route for me so I could get some pre-race openers in. This was a town that would have a post office and sheriff department under the same roof. It was still a bit cold, and rain looked possible. The ride needed to be done all the same. With Wassmann behind me we headed west, keeping the highway just to the right of us the whole way. This was such a windy ride, and not without a lot of rollers. My memory goes back to a comment Brian had mentioned to me while sharing this route: So there aren’t any KOMs going east on this road. I laughed because I realized the wind probably never goes in any other direction.
After a long car ride, we finally arrived in Fayetteville Arkansas. Michigan this time of the year can be a slew of mixed weather, but mostly sky grey, and the trees still bare. There was something revitalizing to see blue skies, green grass, and the leaves blowing on the trees. I think seeing these things mentally prepared me for an awesome weekend, because even if the racing didn’t go well I would still be having better weather than if I were back home. Packet pickup was being held at the Chancellor Hotel in the heart of town. There are many etiquette rules in cycling, and though I have broken a few of them, I wasn’t going to walk into the hotel with unshaven legs. I hurriedly grabbbed my Nike pants and put them on in the valet drop off. I soon realized that in my haste I put my pants on backwards. So there I am in line with all of these other racer with my pants on backwards. Nothing more awkward than trying to put your hands in your pockets only to realize you can’t do it. I totally owned it and left them on backwards for the remainder of the night. This allowed me to not worry about my weekend of racing. Due to my lack of decision making skills in regards to selecting a place to eat, Chief decided on Wood Stone. This ended up being an awesome place to enjoy some amazing pizza. Without much effort we both were able to polish off our own pizza, and I an order of breadsticks. There was certainly a moment that I thought I might have too much for my own good. This would probably have been a good meal to replace all the lost calories at the end of the race, but I find I love pizza far too much to turn it down. Before long it was getting late, and after a grocery store stop we were back at the hotel. It didn’t take to long for me to get unpacked. Before I went to bed I continued to do my TT homework. So I had a moment of “what’s messing with my sleep” that night. Eyes open up quick to hear the toilet making far too much noise. In one quick aggressive motion I was out of bed turning the water off so I can be quiet again.
There is one meal that I absolutely look forward before every ride. Mash is my usual morning go to meal. Easy to make and loaded with all that I need. With the addition of a Doppio from Starbucks, I felt full and complete the whole car ride to Devils Den. Apparently I was far more nervous than I originally thought that I was, because I was doing a lot of pacing around. The funniest was walking around with the trainer attached to my bike. Warmup went well, which is to say slightly unpleasant and second guessing what I will be able to accomplish in the TT. Regardless of these thoughts I still found my way to the starting blocking with 10mins to spare.
I still find it foreign to be held in place without touching the ground with my foot. Maybe if I had spent more time at the track I would feel more relaxed during this process. Unfortunately I wasn’t very comfortable, and unclipped because I thought I was going to topple over. This happened ONE second before I was sent off. My first pedal stroke was with one foot clipped in, and the other foot trying to get clipped back in. I was so focused and adaptable that this process went smoothly and without too much loss of effort. Right turn, left turn, is my power meter broken, long right turn, I’m sure it isn’t broken, left turn, okay you’re doing too much. As pro as I wish I could be, I can’t hold 600 watts for 9 mins. Taking in a calming breath I was able to find my pace and tempo that was going to get me to the finish. I didn’t get to look at my power meter too much during this effort, but a glance here and there was all I needed to make sure I was staying on target. I passed two riders on the way up the hill, which helped to keep me focused and motivated during the race. I remember cresting that last hill to see a very non dramatic finish line. I was so spent that it actually took me a minute to decide if this was the finish line. It didn’t feel like I was riding for over 9 mins, but hey i guess I see a line. So I hammer it as hard as I can down this descent. Other than feeling confident I did a solid effort I had no clue as to what my time was. It wasn’t until we were inside Subway that I got the results. I remember being conflicted with my reaction. My first thought was I was second in the Time Trial, which isn’t want I wanted. Of course we all think at one point or another that no one could have had a better time. My eyes then traveled to my time and was instantly blown away. My time far exceeded what my coach and I planned for. I had pulled off a 8:06 time on today’s effort. Sitting on the tailgate of the car I realized that was an effort I could be proud of.
Pulling into the parking space for the road race I was instantly blown away seeing all of the pro teams I follow on the web. My excitement came from looking forward to racing with them someday. It wasn’t so much like the David vs Goliath as it was about my body not being strong enough yet. Went through the normal routine of unloading the car, preparing the bike, getting dressed. Warmup wasn’t quite completed as prescribed, but I wanted to roll around and take in all the people. Just so many racers. I’ve never seen a thing like this in Michigan. Finding the wheel car was a bit troublesome, but with Wassmann’s patience and persistence we were able to get the wheels loaded up. Our roll out was running behind, which let me squeeze in an extra bathroom break. At some point I knew I was going to be in a break, so I started to mentally prepare myself for that. I was also looking at who I would want in a break with me, and who I didn’t want with me. The dominant team today was 4D out of New Orleans. They didn’t really have anyone high up on GC, so I knew they were going to try something big in the road race. It didn’t take long to see that was a correct assumption. Within 10 miles they had a guy up the road solo with a 1min plus gap. I think after 15mins everyone started to get a bit worried, because the GC contendors had their teammate on the front pulling the solo rider back. 4D blocked all efforts. Every time someone pulled off the front, 4D would shut down the chase. That solo rider came into sight countless times, and went right back out of sight just as many times. I put a bit of skin in the game to bring him back, put no one was willing to work together to pull him back completely. Getting through the Feed Zone I finally had had enough of this team. I waited till the steepest and longest climb to do my Wanley attack. With about 300 meters from the base of the climb I just roll to the right of the group. Just pushed the pace enough to roll away in a nonthreatening way. I had a small gap before I kicked into an attack up the hill. By the time I made it inside the pro feed zone I had a good gap on the group. Took a small descent before a little riser and right hand turn. During this time I looked back to see if I had anyone that wanted to ride a long break with me. I saw 4 people bridging to me, none of whom were from the 4D team. There was however 2 GC contenders that wanted to join. I weighed the odds on the fly and felt confident that I could still take them, but I needed help to bring back a 2 min lead that the solo rider had on us. We pace lined the remainder of the race, rotating and rotating. We finally caught the solo rider with maybe 8 miles to go.
Our break had worked very well with each other through this whole race. Everyone was working together, and pulling off into the wind to give the next guy coverage. The second time through the feed zone someone grabbed a coke. After the rider had his sip he passed it around the group so everyone could get a little bit of sugar kick. That was a first experience in a race for me. One rider out of Peru, Brian Babilonia, was super aggressive near the end of the race. I had to chase him down a couple times, and found myself thinking that’s what I should have been doing. I got a couple attacks in to try and keep off the front being so close to the line. Coming into the last Kilometer it looked like it was going to be a sprint. So I picked the wheel I would want to follow to the line, and hoped that I picked the right one. All seemed good until I see two riders, one the each side of me moving up. There was the moment that they both stopped moving forward, and started to fall back. In a moment of “I don’t want to be here.” They went looking for a wheel to hide behind. The wheel that I was on. I was pinched with nowhere to go, and before long I was going over. My front wheel found the rear derailleur of Brian Babilonia, and my left foot started to slide on the tarmac. I almost pulled off this balancing act for a full recovery. Of course I would have missed the sprint, and came in last with this group, but my left foot went out on me. When my left foot slid out my wheel caught an edge sending me sideways back first to the tarmac. I remember wakeboarding as a kid, and one of the worst falls was when you caught your front or back edge in the water. It’s as though your equipment just stops dead in its tracks leaving your body hitting the water like it was concrete, the whiplash leaving you dazed. I experienced that same sensation when the back of my head hit the ground. I knew that something broke, and I was crossing my fingers that it was only my helmet. I was up and trying to get on the bike as quick as I could, not allowing myself to worry about the fall till after I crossed the line. My legs still worked so that was all I needed in that moment. Once my chain was back on the chainrings I was off to the line.
Aside from just having a small headache I suffered a small amount of road rash to the body. My equipment survived alright with only the wheels needing a good true. I was upset at losing out on the possibility of acquiring GC bonus points, as well as missing out on a possible stage win. The medical personal took care of me and made sure I was alright. Without waiting for results Wassmann and I packed up and went to dinner. At dinner my head was all over the place, and found it to be difficult to focus on one task. Wassmann had to keep me focused on eating my dinner, and if he didn’t I probably would have never finished it because I would have forgotten about it. By the end of dinner I had realized that tacos was exactly what I needed after that day.
Fixing the wheels ended up being its own experience, one that would never happened if not for Wassmann. Realizing it would be a long shot to wait for Shimano neutral service in the morning we needed to come up with a solution late Saturday night. It wasn’t until we made it back to the hotel that we saw Team Rally Pro Cycling in the parking lot. They had brought their entire trailer with them, and as it was the Mechanics were out there working. Wassmann spit balled the idea of asking for help, and before we knew it we were on our way to see if they could offer some assistance. These two mechanics ended up saving the weekend. As super busy as they were with their own obligations to their team, they let us occupy a spot in the trailer to true our wheels. Wassmann’s new favorite wheels are Enve, because they were difficult to true (who invented internal nipples and why?), and it took over an hour to complete the task. Thank you Rally Pro Cycling for opening your doors to someone in need.
I went to bed that night accepting that I fell, and that when I woke up the following morning I wasn’t going to worry about the fall anymore. Look to the future and focus on the task that I needed to do in the crit. Make up time!
That following morning arrived and I was stoked for the race. Wassmann was able to find a parking spot 50 ft from the starting line, which gave my warmup a bit of entertainment. I was happy to realize that all the road rash was in locations that didn’t affect my biking position. I knew it was time to make my way to the line when I heard my name being called, along with the other top GC contenders. Realizing how much of a kicker this last hill was going to be, I knew I could probably force a break here, if not by someone else. I didn’t realize how much of descent was on the backside of this course. Momentum ended up making a break difficult because of this 40 mph descent, but it didn’t make the course any easier. The primes kept everyone smashing up the last climb, and though I didn’t worry about the primes, I wanted to be near the front to either push a break or nab ahold of the wheel that was going for a break. A few times I would make an attempt to be off the front for an attack, but I was always brought back. The last lap was quite a fun one, because on the descent everyone swelled up for positioning. That 90 degree turn at the bottom of the hill was intense with people going almost 3 wide. I was able to hold great positioning through that turn, and held it all the way to the last right hand turn before the finish line. By the time I was on the last climb of the Crit I was fourth. I didn’t have enough runway to bring back the other two riders. I crossed the line in 3rd place resulting in a 9 seconds bonus to my overall time.
I finished the weekend of racing in 2nd place in the General Classification. I was proud of myself for bring back some time that was lost in a crash, and happy that the crash didn’t keep me from competing. I really want to thank all of my sponsors for allowing me to race so far away from home, and to push me to become a stronger and smarter rider. Without the help of Base Media Racing, I wouldn’t have been able to experience this adventure. Also want to thank Chris Donnelly for helping out with the Lincoln, which allowed us to travel in luxury. Thank you Benny for letting me race on carbon wheels for the first time, and a part of me cried when it came time to return them. Finally I want to thank David “The Chief” Wassmann for believing in my ability all through the winter, and encouraging me to continually push myself further.
M1Concourse, a world class private race course in Pontiac, MI, will be hosting their first ever cycling event on April 30, 2017. This is a rare opportunity to experience the beautiful 1.5 mile track – here’s a team preview drone video of the track. Sign up now at BikeReg and enjoy hours of competitive timed riding. We will limit the field to the first 200 riders registered. Prizes for the top finishers will be awarded. The rumor is that there will be interesting prizes and primes, yet again.
Who remembers the “Dude” package from the Corktown Crit? The winner surely remembers.
Who should register for A or B categories?
We suggest that if you’re an experienced racer (typically Cat 1, 2, 3) enter the A group, the pace will be high knowing some of the early entrants. Less experienced riders/racers (Cat 4, 5 or non categorized riders) might prefer the B category because the average speed will be lower. The nice thing is…you never REALLY get dropped. Although…you might get lapped. Not to worry, someone trustworthy will be watching your laps. There might even be a drone. And if you do get lapped, there’s a certain camaraderie when you accept your fate. We can’t all be Tom Brady or say, Peter Sagan (by the way, even Peter Sagan has been dropped/lapped, just saying).
The tentative schedule on Sunday, April 30 is as follows
10 am: Track opens for warm up. Anyone registered can ride for 2 hours until start of the first race. There is a gated entrance and parking will be available on the skid pad
Noon to ~1.30 pm: Staggered start for A and B fields.
~1.30 pm – 3 pm: Prizes awarded, tour of track – All are welcome to continue riding the track
We are working on getting a food / coffee truck but nothing has been approved yet. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for late breaking info
3 pm: Track closed / all event attendees must exit
Where do I get updates about the event, prizes, schedule, etc.?
Please follow our Facebook page, to get the latest updates and/or to ask questions.