September 25, 2006

Michigan UCI Race Report

Hitting' the barriers for the first time at speed is always an eye opening welcome to official cross season. Head is spinning, legs are burning, drool is bubbling and then they're they are, 40cm tall wooden planks right in your path and somehow you have to figure out in that split second while your at full effort that you have to get over them really fast - somehow.
Photo From:

It was an interesting weekend for me. Saturday I was amazed to be called up 2nd in a pretty stacked season opener. Baker, Jaque-manes, Dwight, Swanson, Grabowski and more all present and looking to get those first UCI points for the season. I proceeded to pull a pretty darn amature move and pull out of one pedal, then skip the second off the start and begin my season 20 places deep in the field. I worked like mad to get back to the front, only to drop my chain on a bumpy section right after cleanly riding the off camber section and gapping the group! I really had to dig deep the second time to come up to the group, but it was coming apart already with Baker laying down the hammer and I was at my limit. I managed to keep myself glued together and finally got away by myself to roll in for 4th, a great result but I new if it hadn't been for two super huge efforts I could have been there when the group blew apart.

Sunday went well. The course was muddier with a tough run-up section and more off camber than the day before. I felt great again and new today would be better. This time I stuck my pedals at the start and sat about 6th for the first couple of laps, keeping cool and riding smooth. I felt really comfortable and could see through all the lines. Once again Baker powered away and no one could match his pace through the bottom part of the course. I was pulling the chase group leading up the wide open road section, feeling good, but wondering when I would get jumped before the tricky off camber section and wishing I was sitting in instead of pulling. Jaque-Manes was breathing really hard right behind me though, and Doug hadn't jumped yet, so I decided they were hurting more than me and I kept the pace high. I concentrated on riding the next section perfect and was able to stick it, gaining a good sized gap on the group. I suffered pretty hard, trying to maintain my gap, while a group of four strong guys chased. I was sure they would catch me once we hit the road, but today I had an extra gear in my legs and was able to actually build on my gap for the next couple of laps!
From there is was ride smooth where I was making time, maintain in the open sections, and hammer the run-up. My gap kept opening, and at one point I brought Bakers gap back to about 10 seconds, but was never quite able to match his power and finally started racing for second.
I was really happy to finally make a podium appearance on my Trek XO-1 at a UCI event and prove to myself I can ride at the front. Big thanks to TREK for getting my new bike dialed in just in time and for helping to make it happen!

It was a great weekend, Robert Linden and Tailwind did an awesome job building a great course and keeping things rolling smooth. It really was a top notch race with a tough field and lots of great action.


Anonymous said...

great to cross paths and get you pumped for the race. i was really stoked for your 2nd place finish. you made the weekend worth it kicking ass in the factory team kit. see you at iceman.

Doug said...

Check out the Sunday pictures I took at the race. I should have a few of you in there:

Doug said...

Check out the pictures I took at Sunday's race:

I shoud have some of you in there.

Mike said...

You ready to steal the show at Sheboygan?!