Monday, April 03, 2017

Joe Martin Stages 3 and 4

Over the past couple days I finished up competing in the Joe Martin Stage race. Stage 3 was a 110 mile stage where we rode out to a 23 mile circuit, rode four laps, and rode back to the start. The circuit had a tough hill and was fairly exposed to the wind. The race started off fairly easy with Rally controlling the pace and no attacks rolling. We went over the main hill fairly easy with the yellow jersey pulling over to pee, so I decided to pee as well. This put me toward the back of the group. At this point the riders at the front punched it in the tailwind, and a group of about 30 riders to rolled off. I decided to not panic, sit in, and see what would happen. If I used a ton of energy and bridged to the attack I would possibly not have any energy for the rest of the race. I stayed patient and the group came back. Shortly after this group was brought back another group of about 15-20 riders went up the road with Rob Britton who was second place on GC. United Healthcare did not like this situation, so they kept the pace high and brought the race back together. This was really fun and tough racing for the first two hours. I really thought the race was going to blow to pieces. Then Rally controlled the pace again, let a break of a few riders roll, and the pace relaxed for pretty much the rest of the race. They kept the gap to around 2-2.5 minutes to the leaders and just let them dangle there. With about 10 kilometers to go we caught the leaders and rolled the last 10 kilometers at around 60kph, dodging trucks coming the other direction. It was chaotic to say the least. I just sat in the group, saved energy, and finished. I was looking forward to the crit the next day.

The final stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race takes place on a tough 1 mile circuit that has 8 turns and a steep 200 meter climb. I staged early and got the best start position I could, but was only able to start midpack with storm clouds on the horizon. The pace started off fast, and it started to drizzle. I lost position over the first couple laps but told myself to be patient and the pace would slow down. The drizzle turned into a full on storm. However, as I was sitting near the back of the peloton the pace never really did slow down. I wasn't feeling like myself. Usually I live for crazy conditions and thrive in them, but on this particular day I didn't want to crash. You can't think like that if you want to do well in bike races. After about 10 laps of racing my legs were killing me from the bad positioning, and I lost contact with the peloton. It was far from my best day of racing, but I will move on and live to fight another day. I am thankful Foundation let me join them for Joe Martin. They are a great group of guys, and I am glad I met them.

Next weekend I will be racing the Sunny King Criterium and the Fort McClellan Road Race in Anniston, Alabama. I have done well at these races in the past, and look forward to racing them again.