Monday, July 11, 2011

Clear Lake Weekend

This past weekend I traveled up to Clear Lake for 2 days of racing. My dad was covering the blues concerts for a couple magazines, so it was cool to hang out with him on Friday and Saturday. Saturday I got up and did a little spin around the lake to keep the legs moving, and they were feeling pretty good. Spent the rest of the day with my Dad watching the tour, having lunch and relaxing.

Forward to the race, we had a full squad with JJ, Lou, Paul, Chad, and I. Jeff decided to race the masters race. This race has really grown in the previous couple years, and Tim Putnam and the NI Spin crew have really done a great job. The course winds through the small streets along the lake and is a fast loop with a drag up a hill on the backside before a gradual decent back to the lake. With the well organized race and good prize money came some stiff competition. Two guys from the Kenda Pro Squad came, the GP Bianchi boys, and two local pros from Iowa (Tom Zirbel and my coach Nick Frey) who race for the Jamis Sutter Home Squad. Even though it was the Iowa State Champs, these boys would make any race hard and fast. So we lined up with the other 4o riders and then the story begins.

First few laps were quite fast with aggressive racing occurring to try and establish breaks. Having a month off, I didn't know how my legs would respond, but I had decent sensations. I settled into the main pack, but after a few laps, found myself off the back with a group of 20 or so...Have no idea how this happened, so we chased hard and made up enough ground to catch the lead pack. This is where the day went sour......I was coming around a corner, hit the only pothole on the course, and around the next couple corners, I head "Carson, you have a flat", damn! So I pulled off to the side, ready to change out my wheel, but then all of a sudden I found out that I had a double flat....Are you kidding?! Frustrated to the max, I pulled the plug and went back to my hotel.....This is unbelievable the luck I have had in the past 3 races. So anyway, I got back to the hotel, changed and made it back to the race to see that Nick had broken away from his break group and TT'ed his way off the front for the remainder of the race. Paul rode great and finished as the 3rd Iowa rider, and got a nice medal! So after the race, we went to the OP for dinner and to get ready for the 82mile race the next day.

On to Sunday and the road race. Got up, had a good breakfast, watched a bit of the Tour and headed out into a bit of a rainstorm to the Surf Ballroom for the start of the race at 10. The same crews lined up for this race, and pretty soon we were heading out for the race. A break got up the road after the neutral was over, and we had Lou in the move, while GP missed out. So they rode a hard tempo on the front to try and pull it back, and it took them about 20 miles or so, but it did come back. This is when for the next 15miles or so, attacks would go, be brought back, the pack would split, and hard chasing was done. My legs didn't feel bad again, and I was able to integrate into the main pack during all the chasing. Tom Zirbel launched a huge move just before the midway point of the race, and was solo for the next hour or so at a gap of about 30sec. It took 8-9 guys rotating on the front to bring him back. Once we did, a few attacks went off but it was resigned to be a field sprint. With 1k to go, the road was supposed to be full open road for us, but the motorref didn't know this and kept everyone on the yellow line. I only saw a 200m sprint sign and at this point, I was a bit to far behind. I ended up coming across the line 16th. Greg Brandt from Kenda won the race, Nick was 3rd, Jeff got 5th!!!!, Lou and Paul 13, 14, I was 16th and JJ was 17th. So we had the most guys in the money, and the best overall team position which was a good thing. Unfortunately though, we didn't get the win as Jeff was a bit boxed in the finale.

Overall, again Thank YOU! to Tim and NISpin for a great weekend. Everyone did a great job and it was fun to be back in the game. I have great endurance right now, and I know exactly what I need to work on for the rest of the season. The name of the game will be SPEED WORK! I was missing the high end snap in my legs, but everything seems good, just a bit of fine tuning. Big congrats to Coach Nick for a great weekend, was nice to see you again man!

*Edit* The WOB/B2U guys rode great this week, congrats to Buntz and West in the break on Saturday, and big thanks for the bottle on Sunday after I was unable to get a feed. You guys are riding well and always make it fun!

May do some SuperWeek, State Road Race and Gateway Cup. I sure wish there was a bit more racing....but maybe a full cross season is needed.

Picture with Paul, Lou, and I!