Wednesday, July 14, 2010
My training and racing has been taking a back seat this year to allow me to focus more on supporting Jordan. By the time we got back from Junior Nationals, I was feeling pretty unmotivated. Poor performances at the Fairgrounds Crit, and Northfield had me ready to throw in the towel.
Then Carla helped me realize that I need to get back to my normal training volume. It started with riding home from the Northfield Crit to Hudson.
I sandbagged the Synergy TT, opting for the 20K instead of facing the fasties in the 40K. I won the Men's open division, and finished a mere 7 seconds faster than Jordan. Confidence building...
I had much better legs in the Hopkins Crit, getting in a short lived break with Chris Smith, winning a prime, and helping reel in a late solo break by Brian Koeneman. Feeling even better...
Then came my first Dakota Tech Crit since 2004. In the Masters 1/2/3 race, I stayed up front, to cover moves. After covering a few, I jumped on one initiated by Jason Snider and Charlie Townsend. I was so gassed covering them, that I just sat on for a lap before being able to pull through. Brent Binkowski bridged across the gap to make us 4 strong. Our gap was tenuous, with Charlie and Jason driving the break. Brent was pitching in too, and I pulled through as best I could. I was absolutely on the rivet for the entire time.
I knew my teammates were behind protecting the break, so getting dropped back to the pack was NOT an option. The laps ticked by, and with 2 to go, it looked like we would stay away. Snider attacked half way through the penultimate lap. Townsend was ready, but myself and Binkowski had to work to get back on. As we maneuvered for position on the last lap, the field was quickly closing in.
Eventually, Brent lead us into the 180 on the far side of the course, where Sinde, Townsend, and I jumped around on the outside. A small chase group, just in front of the field, caught us exiting the corner. I looked back to see Scott Flanders on my wheel, so I jumped, figuring he'd be on my wheel for the finish. I dug hard from about 300m out, seeing his shadow just behind. With 150m to go, I look back to see it isn't Scott, but Townsend who has my wheel.
At first I figure I've blown it, but I'm not going to give up when I'm this close. I dig as deep as I can remember to resume my sprint. Charlie draws along side me in the final straight, but I won't give up. I'm always telling Jordan never stop sprinting until you cross that line. I dug all the way to the line, and thought I had it, but it was too close to call. The photo above shows I prevailed by a very narrow margin. My first non TT victory since the 2009 MN State Crit. I was thrilled, and surprised, to say the least.
I was so wasted after the finish, I nearly blacked out. It took me a full cool down lap to catch my breath. I tried starting the Cat 1/2/3 race which immediately followed, but my legs were toast. By the time I finished the first lap, the field was almost done with 2.
I plan to formally celebrate my victory by joining my Flanders teammates in a 200mile ride up to Duluth tomorrow. The furthest I have previously ridden in one day is 140mi. It will be enjoyable and epic...