Thursday, September 9, 2010

USA Cycling National: 30-34 Criterium, TT, RR

Race: Masters Nationals 30-34 Criterium
Location: Louisville, KY
Date: 08/07/2010
Place: 4th

I flew down to Kentucky after driving 3 days to Boulder Colorado to see my parents. The plan was to drive to see them, spend one night, fly to KY to race Nationals then fly back to Boulder to stay for 2 weeks.
Louisville is actually a cool town with some nice restaurants, coffee shops etc. The first day was the TT which didn't go very well do to a couple factors:
1. Driving 3 days and flying for one makes for heavy feeling legs.
2. Getting a bike fit should be done more than 2 weeks before your race.
3. Drink lots of water if the race is going to be in 100 degree heat in super humid conditions.
But I got a 5th place in the TT and learned a lot.

Second up was the Road race but both Ryan and I ate some bad macaroni salad from Wal-Mart and got food poisoning the night before. I drove to the race site the day of the race hoping I would feel better but no luck and I scratched the race. Here is what I learned:
1. Dont buy deli food from Wal-Mart ;-)
2. If you are throwing up the night before the race you probably won't be able to race at 8am.

Third day was the Criterium. It was a nice 4 corner course on the river. I got a good warm up in and the race started. It was non-stop attacks from then on. I started them off hoping I could get an early gap but as there were no teams and everyone was racing as an individual, everything was chased with gusto. Halfway through I realized it would come to a sprint so relaxed, conserved and let others chase. When the final lap came, I lined up in perfect position for the last corner and sprinted it out. I was half a bike length off the winner with two in between for 4th place. Things to take away:
1. Broken collarbones 6 weeks before the race don't bode well for strong sprints.
2. Even if you were sick a couple days before you can still have a good race.

I want that stars and stripes jersey! Next year... a bear jersey too :)


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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gateway Cup

Gateway Cup (Sept. 3-6)

During Labor Day weekend, pros and amateurs from around the nation piled into my hometown of St. Louis for the annual Gateway Cup races. The womens’ field was smaller than the previous year when it was the “Tour of Missouri” but strong nonetheless with racers Laura van Gilder, Team Colavita, Sam Sneider of TIBCO, and a few Vera Bradley girls. Friday’s race was my first twilight crit ever on the barely-lit course around the young-urban section of town called Lafayette Square. I had a blast at the twilight although wasn’t a strong contender for the sprint. Modesta of Colavita won the stage and started the next day as the omnium leader.

This was another four-corner crit around Frances Park. I attacked early on but didn’t manage to get a good gap. With 15 minutes left to go, Colavita’s Saunders went off the front and stayed off til the finish while Lauren Hall of VBF won the field sprint. The next day’s criterium was the Giro della Montagna or the race in the dominantly Italian part of the city called the Hill. I won this race last year in the 3/4s so the adrenaline was high (along with caffeine) going into it this year. A group of four went off the front about halfway through the race and when they were at 20 seconds ahead, I knew that I just missed the move. I thought that Colavita would’ve been more organized in chasing since LVG was in it and she would go on to steal the GC from Modesta. But nothing happened and again I had a bad sprint at the finale.

Then the last day of Gateway Cup 2010 came on Labor Day with a new 11-corner criterium through the Benton Park district of town going over a highway, next to the Anheuser Busch plant, and through a bohemian part of St. Louis. It was by far the most fun and hardest course of the series. The field was strung out most of the time due to the tight chicanes and constant cornering. I attacked really hard halfway to go and stayed off for about 1.5 miles while Colavita organized themselves at the front to reel me in (now you do it???). I thought they might let me leave since I was certainly no GC threat but no cigar. However, I wound up having a very good sprint at the end (for me). The sprint was hard – headwind, long, and slightly uphill. While usually I tend to lose position in the last lap because I’m afraid for my life with all the wild elbows and close corners, I decided to be aggressive for the last race of the season (hey, if I crash, I’ve got 6 months til my next race!). Anyway, I was about 10th wheel going into that last corner and I just patiently stayed in the saddle jumping from one great wheel to the next while their sprints died prematurely. I wound up coming in 5th across the line! But unfortunately, I didn’t check results before they were finalized and they put me down as 6th. So lesson learned: don’t cool down – check results! Oh well, still a great finish to a pretty decent season. I have high hopes for 2011!


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