This has been an extremely busy month. First a quick wrap-up on The Tour of Missouri. Man what a blast! I got to drive the team RV for Health-Net for the first 5 days of the TOM. These guys are extremely nice and down to earth. It's cool to see how a small budget/big time team does it. Everything is such well organized chaos. Basically, I drove the team to the start, hung out, made sure they were comfortable. Then when the race started I drove to the finish, found an awesome parking spot, went for a ride then got to work on preparing for their arrival. When they finished each stage it was my job to corral them back to the team area and get them to the hotel. Then off to a predictable meal of steamed veggies, pasta, soft chicken and salad. At least we had the option of 10 different desserts each night. The team didn't have the best of weeks racing, but they did have a few things go their way. Rory Sutherland captured his second consecutive NRC title, the team captured it's 5th consecutive NRC title, and they signed Floyd Landis for next season. Things are looking up for the team.
I came home to a week of catch-up before heading to Lincoln for the Pirate Cycling League Good Life Gravel Adventure. This race deserved a long name. You could tell that the guys that put on this event had a fun time. No race entry, no support, but guaranteed good times. Those of us that came up from the KC/Lawrence area were fortunate to stay at Dave Mcleod's in-laws house. It's nice to stay in a house instead of a hotel at any race. The 135 mile gravel race started at 6:00 am with a 2.5 mile neutral start. Then it was on. It was like a full blown dk200 sprint start, but in the dark. Those with decent lighting (like myself) had a distint advantage. Before I knew it the lead group was 8, then 6, and then 3. I was suprised to be in the top 3 at the first of 4 checkpoints. Which involved a casey's general store and purchasing a Nebraska Lotto ticket (which would all be pooled together at the end of the race and we were going to split our millions!). The chase group of 5 was pulling in as we were leaving the first check. The next check 15 miles later, we got out before the chase group pulled in: Out of sight; out of mind!
I knew that Matt Gersib was the strongest rider I was with (sorry Peter), so I attacked at about mile 55. I went hard for 30 mile until the 3rd check and got out before 2nd place saw me. I really started to hurt about mile 105 and had to hang out at the 4th and final check for a good 15 minutes. 2nd place pulled in as I was putting my shoes back on (damned hot spots). I knew he would catch me soon, as he looked much fresher than I felt. Then at mile 110 after being off the front for 55 miles by myself he caught me. I tried to attack a couple times to see if he had blown his load bridging up but it a futile effort and ended up hurting me more in the long run.
He put a lot of time on me in the last 20 miles and I really learned what hot spots felt like. I've never felt so helpless in my life.
I pulled in at mile 135.something in 9 hours 16 minutes. My feet hurting worst of all! The ride felt good for the most part, but a win would've felt even better.
A big thanks to the PCL crew for a great event, Dave for his hospitality and Peter for being Peter. Interbike wrap-up to come soon!
It's Cross Season!!!