Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tour of Elk Grove Cat 2 Race

Today was the Tour of Elk Grove Cat 2 Crit. The day started out pretty sweet because when I was warming up on a trail near the house where I am staying I fet someone come up on me and turned around to see a bald man with red Oakley M-Frames in a Davitamon- Lotto jersey. I knew immediately that this was Chris Horner. We rode togetherfor about twenty minutes and just talked about racing. He was really cool and laid back. Now back to the race. The course was in the shape of and L. About 150 meters from the start there was a left 180. Then there was a curvy, narrow road for about half a mile until the next 90 degree right hander. The course got wider and straight from here through the next 180 until the 90 degree left hand turn to the finishing straight, which was on the other side of the curvy, narrow road. The course was rather long for a crit at 2.5 miles, and it was a pretty open course also. The race was 45' plus 2 laps. I didn't think a break would go because everything seemed to be getting pulled back by the pack. I just sat in the pack for most of the day, but followed a few breaks that looked serious. Then with about two and a half laps to go three guys got off the front and got a pretty large gap. It was small enough to be brought back if teams worked hard to chase it, but if the didn't it would stick. I had to take this gamble because I didn't have any teammates at the race to shut it down. With half a lap to go the break was still at a good size and like it would stick for the day. I tried to position myself near the front for the field sprint. Going into the last turn it looked like I was going to be nipped on the outside, so I told the guy in front of me that I was on the outside. He said that we were even and wouldn't give in, so I accelerated and cut him off. Then I was in about tenth wheel going into the final straight, which was a bit far back to my liking. So I shot every gap I could and bumped shoulders with at least three guys in the mad dash for the line. I had enough momentum to win the field sprint, but because the finishing straight was winding one of the last guys I had to pass before the line was closing my lane. The three guys in the break just barely stayed off the front of the race, and I rolled in third in the field sprint for sixth place. I think it was a pretty good race for me. I did pretty much everything I could have done, and I am very pleased with my scrapping skills I have acquired since I raced in Europe. Tomorrow is a Pro1,2 race, so it is going to be faster and tougher. I am excited for it.