Went to central Missouri this weekend with the American Equity boys to contest the Tour of Hermman. This race is put on by Jeff Yielding, so I hear lived in the Cedar Falls area for a few years according to the Twisted Spokes crew! Never got to see or talk to him about it, but a pretty decent race, very hard.
Paul and I drove down Friday afternoon and got in around 7pm. Our hotel as a Days Inn, fairly new and pretty nice, sporting the northwoods theme. The area however, could be something to recon with. We ate at this place called "cafe" right off the hotel and I70 exit. An all you can eat Friday night fish fry sounded good, but I tell you, the salad bar looked like something that would not be edible. Paul and I opted for a bit safer food, Paul still questioned my decision with the grilled chicken, but all in all was ok. This place had a median age of about 75 years old for the evening, as a bluegrass band was playing. Some interesting characters for sure, but I am sure there is nothing else to do in this area.
A 14 mile TT to start off the weekend. I had a decent warmup in, but they said I missed my start by 1min when I showed up 3min before my start??? 15 others had missed their start as well, and finally they realized the official clocks were not synced together....So I sat around for 15 minutes while waiting to go. Probably not the best for the legs. Started off alright, I just don't know how to TT yet, have never done many and just don't have enough confidence to really push into the red and know I can hold it. Passed by my 30 sec guy, but ended up passing about 5 people during the TT. Still only placed 3 places from the bottom, another bad placing in my eyes....but nothing but something to improve on. Good results from Paul, Chad, Lou, and JJ!!
The crit course is right by the famous Stone Hill Winery in Hermann. It is a 1.2mile loop with a very very steep 500m climb or so, I'd say just as steep as Snake Alley but not as windy/etc. I would have done Snake Alley any day before this crit though. The pace was very high and everyone but JJ and Chad were popped after a few laps. Chad actually even got a omnium place preme on the 4th lap. I ended up just rolling in order to finish the 19 laps and get some good training in. After the race, most of us were out of the omnium chance except for Paul who was in 11th.
Ate at the StoneHill winery after the race, was good, had some grilled salmon which was awesome! It was also prom night in Hermann.
The final day of the Tour of Hermann was a 90mile rr that was actually the course used during the 2008 Tour of Missouri. This course was rolling the entire 30mile loop, but had 8 substantial climbs during the loop. My goal for the race was to see just how good my endurance was from the long rides I have been putting in this spring. Race started out pretty hot with a bunch of breakaway attempts. We covered almost every move and at one point had 3 guys in a lead group of about 9-10. With 90degree temps, and 30mph winds the break wasn't able to get much lee-way and we brought them back. After the start finish line, there is a 1k climb of about 18%!!! This thing was huge...even the lightest guys in the race couldn't sit and spin, everyone was pushing and weaving as hard as they could to get up the hill. And after the crest of this, the road rose again for another .5 miles or so. After the second lap, only Chad and I were left in the race for American Equity. We blew to much energy before the real race would begin. At the top of this "wall" I just described, I lost Chad, which meant I was it. I have never had to dig as deep as I did on that climb to hang on with the GC leader group. About 5 miles later however on another one of the big climbs, I couldn't hold it again and popped off the back with about 4 others. I wanted to turn around and head back for home. But we kept it rolling, David Carpenter (Z3 Coach), Jeff Barnes (ICCC) and Brian Dwieza (DogFish). At the end, David and I were all that was left of the group and we finished 12th and 13th on the day. I though it would be much worse, but we hung in there and placed very well!!! Ended up in 15th overall for the weekend out of 40+ starters! Not to shabby!
I definitely had a confidence boost from the RR, in that I suffered a lot and placed decently, and know my endurance is there. Now I know what I have to work on in the next few weeks. Time to stop worrying about the long endurance rides and start getting behind the motor and high power output intervals on tap. Coach Nick and I are ready to rock!!!!