Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tour de Ephrata

I was looking forward to spending the weekend at home and getting ready for what is going to be two and a half months of fairly non-stop weekend traveling to various races. I had even signed up for a Prospect Park race. Then I saw this great little race in Pennsylvania and some of my friends from Empire were doing so I decided to go down there and race. It was 2 days and 3 stages so it would be good preparation for Joe Martin in two weeks. The stages were a little short but still the competition was good and I was looking forward to seeing if I could finally win something. Well it wasn't to be.

On the first day was a 60 mile circuit race made up of 12 laps of a rolie course. The wind was high so fairly quickly in the cross winds the race started to blow apart. I paid attention to always being in the echelons and after being in a few moves that had no legs I found myself in the right move with 3 riders from Rite Aid, 2 from Empire and 2 from Harley Davidson. I looked around and thought "oh boy, here we go again." The break worked well and within a few laps we were out of sight and until the end everybody pretty much pulled through. A few times guys were skipping pulls but all in all it was pretty even. I felt strong but not confident enough to attack and besides with two guys from Empire in the break I thought that we could keep it within New York. John Lohner was in there with me which was nice since we keep talking about riding in breaks together and it finally happened this time. If I couldn't win, I was hoping John could. We came into the sprint together and I sat on Bobie Lee's wheel from Rite Aid and he practically gave me the perfect lead out. Unfortunately when I stood up my legs didn't have much response and he quickly opened a gap. I made the mistake of sitting down and soft pedaling to the line while getting passed by 3-4 people when I probably could have just gotten passed by one or two. It was to prove a bad decision by the end of the weekend. The first stage I finished 6th

On Sunday there was a morning time trial and an afternoon criterium. The TT was only 14Km but it finished on a 2.5 Km wall. I decided to use the TT bike until the bottom part of the climb and then switch to the road bike. I started out well and stayed within my targeted wattage for the first 5 Km but after that I couldn't keep the same rhythm and fell by 10-20% for the second 5K. In the last part of the race I was just trying to get up the climb and didn't feel like I was going particularly fast. I ended up 7th for the day but close to 2 minutes outside of first place which in this distance is a long time. Since the race was based on points time didn't really matter and so far I was in 3rd place on GC. Still I wasn't happy and didn't think that I could win the whole thing so I decided to do some cooling down for about 30 minutes and then another 30 minutes of motor pacing to keep my legs supple.

The afternoon criterium went pretty well. My legs were good and I just kept an eye on the moves making sure that I didn't miss anything too important. The pace was fairly fast and I thought it would come down to a sprint and it almost didn't. The last break and the most dangerous of the race which I had missed got caught on the last turn of the last lap and I knew that the position you came through that turn would most likely be the position you would cross the line. Apparently a few other people knew that as well and it became a dash for the last turn. I jumped to the left and started my sprint to the turn and got beaten to it by Bobby Lea who won the stage and I finished 2nd a few bike lengths back. I can't match that speed and was happy with 2nd. On GC I ended up 4th one point behind 3rd and 2nd and as I had suspected after the first day that soft pedal cost me two spots. Even if I had finished one place up I would have ended up 2nd overall. Oh well, still learning apparently.

I was happy the race was over and it was great to hang out with old friends from Empire as well as some of the CRCA Juniors. Drove back home and felt fairly tired so I decided that this week I will take 2 days off and then ride easy for the rest of the week to see if I can get some snap back into my legs because its going to be a bumpy couple of weeks and the team is good right now so I want to do my part whether that is carrying water bottles, leading people out or maybe just maybe bringing a victory home.