The A guys warming up on Sunday
Me and Julia Tellman wait to start the Road Race Saturday.
This weekend my team and I traveled down to wonderfully sunny South Carolina for some bike racing. Saturday morning we left Brevard NC at 6am so we could make it to the Fork Shoals Road Race course in time to start the team time trial at 9:00am.
I have done the last two TTTs with the A guys from my team, they are in the Pro 1,2,3 Category. The first one was at the Georgia Tech race and we started really hard and I ended up getting dropped- the guys decided they were going to hard about 30 seconds after I got dropped- so this time we decided to communicate a little more and I was able to stay on all the way around the 15 mile loop. That hurt almost as bad as the SC Cyclocross chamionship race.
After the TTT it was time to go cool down and relax until the road race started at 2:20pm. The sun was out but so was the wind. It was warmish but the wind made it feel cold. My race was to do 4 laps of the 13 mile course for a total of 52 miles. That is the longest race I've done all year- and close to the longest race I've ever done; the longest being the 56mile bike portion of the Ironman 70.3 I did a few years ago- and definitely one of the toughest.
The fork shoals course is a tough 13 mile loop with a few long steep hills that zap the legs and leave a dead feeling in them after the climbs. It was only made tougher by my stomach acting up. I had horrible stomach cramps for 3 of the 4 laps.
Early on the 2nd lap a guy from the biggest team in the race attacked so his team sat on the front and made sure he didn't get pulled back. Then a few other guys decided to bridge up and the days break was formed. Once again I wasn't there. I have got to stop second guessing breakaways and just go with them. I could have been up there. I was the only guy with no teammates and every team had a man in the break. I tried to bridge up once but the field wasn't letting anybody get up there without them; so, I just decided to sit in and get some good miles in for the rest of the day.
This pretty much sums up how the day went for me: (I'm on the back)
Sunday we left early again and headed down to Furman University for the most fun Crit I've ever done. When we left Brevard it wasn't raining, about ten minutes after we got the van parked and got a tent set up the rain started to fall- talk about perfect timing.
The men's C race was underway in about an hours time so I watched and cheered on a few guys I knew. Going into the last corner a Lees McRea rider had the deal sealed but he overcooked the last corner and ended up going down pretty hard. That was hard to watch, it made me a little bit nervous.
After I watched the guy crash it was time for the women's race to get started. Julia Tellman and and her 48 tooth big ring had a great race finishing up in 3rd place. I didn't get to watch too much of that race because I had to start warming up on their 3rd lap.
I got dressed and started warming up. As I warmed up the rain started to really fall hard. I was getting a little more nervous. I got my warm up done and headed out on the course to try a few of the turns, nothing was too slick- the cobbled section was a little sketchy, but that is to be expected. When I pulled up to the start line I saw John James, the manager of the shop where I work and a mentor of mine, I exchanged a few pleasentries and rubbed Blair LeMarche's head for good luck and we were off.
The course was awesome. The first turn was about 200m from the start line and it was only one lane wide with curbs on either side and a sewer drain right in the apex. After that its a straight shot towards Furman's Student center and a hard right turn onto the cobbled path that goes around to the lake- I think. Once on the coobles we went down and to the left towards one of the dining halls and then back up and made sort of a C before turning right again off the cobbles and on to the pavement. That stretch lasts for about 100m then its another hard slick right turn on to the main drag through Furman towards the far traffic circle and the Athletic building. Instead of going around the circle we took the left turn, which is a double 90 degree turn. That was a strange one- that's the one the Lees McRea guy went down- we went into it fast and had to brake hard to burn enough speed make the first 90 then kind of float outwards towards the grass and then cut back in for the second turn and then stand and accelerate to the start finish line.
A shot of the cobble stones:
Right turn off the cobbles:
The right hand turn on the main street through the campus. The building in the back ground with the banner on it is where the right hander on to the cobbles.
I had a good but baddish race. I held my position better than I ever have in a Crit, but I struggled for the first few laps on the wet tight corners. I also did a little bit too much work on the front chasing stuff down and trying to cover moves. I won a points prime and tried to focus on riding a good race.
Going into the last 4 laps I was sitting 8th wheel behind the guy who beat me in the sprint at GT. His team was on the front sitting the pace. I was focusing on relaxing and trying to hold that position. On the last lap I should have tried to move up a few places but for one reason or another I didn't. Coming out of the last turn I stood, still sitting 8th or 9th, and sprinted. I passed for people and ended up taking 4th place. Normally I would be really happy about getting 4th but I really wanted to win and I probably would have if I had been a few more places up in the line. Oh well, thats what racing is all about- live and learn.
When I got done it was time for the men's A race to start and the star MC to have the mic in his hand for a whole hour- he was having a great time talking about cornering and "pot-hoes". T Cowie and Corey Meyer- Corey made it after crashing in the early laps- made the lead break and rode a hard race. T Cowie and Corey definitely showed they were some of the strongest guys out there, it just wasn't there day but they still ended up top 10.
All in all it was a really good weekend. I learned a lot and definitely gained a lot of fitness from it. The whole team did a great job and we had lots of fun.
Can't wait for Alabama next weekend.