Having upgraded to a cat 2 this year, I knew what I was getting into in terms of race length and intensity, but not the fact that many guys have been training all winter in the south to come to races nice and fast this early in spring.
Went to Iowa City and then on to Hillsboro, Illinois for the Hillsboro Roubaix Nature Valley Grand Prix qualifier race. Only Cat 1's are able to make the 8 man team, but this meant that some strong teams and riders were going to show up. Texas Roadhouse, ISCorp, Kenda-GearGrinder, Panther Cycling all brought squads of about 8 guys. Now racing with Mercy, there was Duey, me, Ryan Neninger, John Olney and Jeff Barnes.
Got all suited up in my new kit, which is pretty nice....really like the LG shorts and chamois.
Race started pretty neutral for about 10 miles, then the crosswinds started, and immediatly it was gas on. The course is very nice in the back country of illinois, on european sized roads with chipseal. Constantly were turning left and right, so the winds didn't have great impacts right away. Coming into town, there is a nice hill through the feed zone and then a 40mph decent on cobbles. This was very hairy, having never ridden the race before.....I counted a dozen bottles coming out of bikes and even about 3 bottles with bottle cages still attached. Anyway, I made it through the first 2 laps, but coming into town on the start of the third lap, I was caught to far back in the pack and starting to cramp...As the crosswinds hit again, Texas Roadhouse put the hammer down and I was popped off. Caught up to Paul Deninger a couple miles up the road and we rolled to the finish.
A little dissapointed, but I have only been on bike for about a month, and this is my longest race ever this early in the season, so nothing but good training. Looking forward to some more road races coming up.
Sunday, I was coming back through Cedar Rapids and Mark Guthart was nice enough to let me fly the "Luther Norse" colors in the NCCC cycling confrence race at Hawkeye Downs. Raced the mens A/B race, and immediatly guys from Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas went up the road and lapped our field. With this happeneing, I had no chance of a great placing and ended up being a good hour of motorpacing. Looking to do more college when I go to graduate school next year.
Now back to school, where I totally lack motivation to keep my studies going...that is not good as I have 1 month to go before finals even start ! Training will keep going as I try to be going my best at Joe Martin.