This past Easter weekend, I traveled up towards the Twin Cities for a collegiate race. Next weekend is collegiate nationals in Madison, and I needed one more race to be able to qualify. I was headed to Decorah anyway for Easter, and drove up early on Saturday morning, leaving at 5:30am, ouch.
Got up to the course, and was surprised to see so many riders. It was the Ken Woods Memorial Road race, and also a USAC race. Many, many riders took part, and I was happy to see this, wish there was this much in Iowa. The pro, 1,2 race 3 pro riders (Kenda Gear Grinder, Bissell), something we never get. I got my two numbers, chip and got ready for the race. I was running my powertap as it was collegiate and I didn't really care about a placing as all I had to do was beat the UND guys for Division 2 points.
We started off the race with 20-25 Mens A/B, for 3 laps on a 20mile loop. Right away, Iowa went to the front and just annihilated the pace. I got caught behind in a group of 6, and we spent the first 50 min full gas chasing this lead group. To show how fast we were going, we caught the Masters (35+) field about halfway through the first lap, and they started 5 minutes ahead of us.....we were flying. Eventually we did catch the lead group and were able to chill for a bit. Over the course of the next couple laps, Iowa used their strength and numbers to slowly windle down our single riders. David Carpenter (KSU), Kyle Sievers (ISU), myself( UNI) and a Kansas guy were able to work together to keep these all in check, and never let anyone get up the road. The course finishes on a 1 mile climb, averaging 5-6%. Coming into the last time up the climb after 63 miles, my legs were feeling pretty good, but when the pace picked up, I could feel my nice 1650gr powertap wheel wanting to hit the brakes :) I was dropped after a large surge up the final hill, and rolled in for 9th.
I was very happy with the power files, and leg speed, race pace work I did get during this race. It is one thing to race on a wheel set that is weight around 2200gr, when most of the guys who beat me are all on wheelsets weighing 1500gr, and deep dish carbon.
Excuse, excuse, for sure!!! It shouldn't always help like that, but having taken physics, biomechanics classes, I know what 500gr of rotating weight can do to a bike rider, and it is more than you think. Got my race wheels in, from my personal sponsor Velocity Wheels USA. The new set is an A23 wheelset. This new set is a clincher wheelset with a wider rim, (See HED, ZIPP) for relatives. Nothing but great reviews from this wheelset and I am looking forward to getting them rolling for the Old Capital weekend and collegiate nats!
Had a great Easter with my family, and now inside of last week of classes. I can say, even though finals are coming up, my focus is on my training, and school comes when it can :) Another hard week on the bike and a good taper next week for first goals of season.