Monday, April 02, 2007

Perry-Roubaix Stage Race

This past weekend my teammate Bobby Sweeting and I took part in the Perry-Roubaix stage race in Perry Georgia. It started off on Saturday morning with a 9.5 mile out and back time trial on a rolling course. I went as hard as I could and thought I would do a good time. My time was 19:14 which was good enough for third place. Bobby clocked a 19:06 for second, and Dan Larson (Cycle Science) won with a time of 18:57.
The next stage was a 52 mile circuit race which was 20 laps on a 2.6 mile circuit. The circuit was relatively flat and there was no wind. Bobby and I tried to get away for the first half of the race with no luck. By the halfway point we came to the conclusion that we wouldn't get away. I just saved my energy sitting in for the remainder of the stage. Bobby covered a few moves but nothing came of it. Two guys who were lower down on the general classification managed to get away in the closing laps. I set myself up well for the sprint but still didn't quite have the snap that I had before my knee problem and came in 11th on the stage. The GC at the top stayed the same going into Sunday's road race.
The road race consisted of 7 laps on a 12.5 mile course. The course had two decent sized hills at the beginning. It also featured two red Georgia clay road sections that were separated by an interstate bridge hence the name Perry-Roubaix. The total amount of dirt probably was about a mile long each lap. I made sure I was in the top 5 positions every time we hit the dirt because I didn't want to be caught up with a crash. The first two laps were uneventful. Then on the toward the end of the second or third lap Shawn Coleman, who was only about 10 or 15 second down on GC from Bobby and I rolled off the front with one other rider. We figured he would burn up off the front by the end of the day. Cycle Science seemed to think the same thing and didn't chase either. Attacks came and went but nothing seemed to get away. Then on the fifth lap on the dirt section I was near the front and a Jittery Joe's rider was drilling it pretty good, so I kept his effort going to the end of the dirt. This established a move of about five riders for a short while, but this was also swallowed up. At the beginning of the sixth lap David Guttenplan (Sakonnet) got a move going with Jason Snow (Cycle Science), James Sweeney (American Bicycle Racing Team), and a few others. This looked good to me and I bridged up to it just before the dirt section with two other riders. David and I were clearly the strongest in the move and did most of the work. People also looked at me to do work because I was the highest placed on GC and would benefit the most from it. Then at the beginning of the last lap a group of about 15 or so that included Bobby got back on with my group. David attacked with one other rider on one of the hills and I was right there but was starting to cramp in my hamstring so I didn't follow for fear of making a bad cramp. David was another threat to Bobby's and my GC position because he was only about a minute down. Bobby was too tired to do any work in the group, so I set the pace the whole time with some help here and there from some random rider. In the last two k's attacks started coming and I paid the price of my work. I almost got gapped off with one k to go but managed to just stay in the group. Shawn Coleman managed to rough the day out and keep about 1'40" gap over Bobby's and my group at the end. It was a pretty impressive ride. Both Bobby and I finished toward the back of our group on this stage. I am proud of the work I did because Bobby kept his second place on GC by one second over David as a result of it. I dropped down to fourth place on GC by the end. Even though Bobby and I didn't net a win by the end of the weekend, I am happy that I got in some quality training in a rather long race before I go to Richmond, VA next weekend for the US Open.