Monday, May 26, 2008

Tour of Atlanta - 5 days, 7 stages

Results - Cat 4/5 35+:
Overall GC – 11th
Stage One, ITT – 13th
Stage Two, Sprints – Qualified for the final
Stage Three, Circuit Race – 6th
Stage Four, TTT – Team got 5th (Unofficial but that’s what it looks like, 7 racers – Bill Bruning, Brian York, Joe Remling, Doss Wallace, Greg Phillips, Lee Griner and myself) – 3 first finishers included Bill Bruning, Brian York and myself – timed on the 3rd rider.
Stage Five,  Road Race – 7th
Stage Six,  Crit – 6th
Stage Seven,  Crit – 9th

Race Report: My first stage race, got my fitness and nutrition right for the 5 day effort. This was my A race event this season and felt strong in every race. I actually felt like my fitness got better as the days passed. I hoped I could squeeze out a podium finish in here somewhere but 4 top ten’s, just outside that for the ITT and 5th in the team TT is a great run. Thanks to the guys for helping me out on Saturday morning with the team time trial! Georgia Cup put on a great event and I had a blast.

Stage One, Thursday afternoon ITT, 85 deg. (felt very hot and high pollen, hard to breath after the race). My first race on the new TT bike, new helmet and borrowed carbon wheels - Reger Rulz. (never ridden them before - r'tarted - almost couldn't get the rear deralier adjusted before the race). Went out too hard too fast, took a few miles to get used to the wheels. My LT is 182, I hit that at about 0.4 miles in and steadily climbed up to 192 over next 16 minutes. If I had a power meter I would know if I lost power toward the end but my hr stayed steady. Brian York was out there suffering as well and finished close behind me for 23rd.

Stage Two, Thursday evening Sprints. 3 heats in the first qualifier. I took 2nd in the my first race. They decided to only run the final after that because of the number of participants. Couldn’t get into my new pedals and blew the chance to compete (my worst mistake or tragedy for the weekend so I can’t really complain).

Stage Three, Friday night Circuit race in the dark (8:30pm) – 0.9 mile course with 6 turns. We averaged 25 mph even with all the turns. This was the toughest race for me, always turning, no lines to draft from (at least not very often) and tough to see in the dark, but it WAS FUN! I attempted to go after the first MAR but so did everyone else and wasted a lot of energy for nothing. 1 crash. Geoff Hill from the SC Colavita team was there to share in the fun coming in at 18th.

Stage Four, Saturday morning Team Time Trial - Bill Bruning, Brian York, Joe Remling, Doss Wallace, Greg Phillips, Lee Griner agreed to come out and support, little knowing how much it would hurt… in the heat with no wind. Remling brought the camper so we at least had some shade between races – thanks Joe! As we headed to the start we were stopped and told the course would be extended to just over 13 miles instead of 10 miles. 7 guys, the plan was to pull through every 20 to 30 seconds and shorten the pulls as we picked up the pace coming back (more up hills on the way back). 3 of us on TT bikes, all others but Jim had aero bars to help too. Pace in the high 20’s on the way out and we were all talking, things were going well. Just after the turn around Greg and Lee pulled out, then Doss. Joe held on for another mile or so but was in the red zone too long. We set the pace a little too high on the first half and had a few too many accelerations between pulls, over the hills and out of the turn-around for everyone to hold on. Brian had taken some long pulls on the ride but stayed strong with Bill and I to the finish.

Stage Five, Saturday at noon – blazing hot, supposedly over 80 riders in our race. Bill B, Jim P, Joe R and Doss (his first race) stuck around for some RR action and were joined by Geoff for another race. Jim was nice enough to carry and extra water bottle incase I needed it (but didn’t even look back when he though I got caught up in a crash ;), there were 3 that day and Joe did get stuck behind one and had to chase for a few miles to get back on. Anyone who can chase down a peleton is on good form. 48 miles of fun on a rolling hills course. I snatched up a 3rd place KOM on the first lap for some time (not really much of a hill though). Left a little too late on the sprint. Bill and Jim were just behind for 18th and 19th with Geoff in 34th and Joe at 38th (Joe, stop getting behind people that crash).

Stage Six, Sunday 5:00 pm Crit race – Same course as the Gainesville Omni Crit, mostly flat with a short rise just before the finish. Geoff came for a 3rd race along with his significant other cheering for Colavita. I felt very strong day that day and my hr was very low for the entire race. I raced this course in April and got 4th so I figured today could be my day. Stayed at the front the entire race and the pace felt slow even at just under 26 mph avg. The GC race was very tight so the field went crazy at every MAR and we had 3 or 4 priem’s (seemed like every lap was something). The pack surged at 2 laps to go and I went from 4th back to 20th or so. I raced back up to the front for another top 10 but just lost way to many spots with 2 laps to go. Geoff finished with the lead group in 30th for another fast race.

Stage Seven, Monday 2:00 pm Crit race – Back to Buford for a rolling course with nice little hill from just before turn 3 to the top of turn 4. Joe R came back out to play today, my partner in crime for the crit races. Bill B. and family came out to watch along with Joe’s wife and my family. Which was a little scary since she has only been to 2 races and I DNF’d both of them. But today was different, I’m on form (and not sick). Since my finishing tactics so far have kept me high in the results but out of the podium I figured I’d try something different today. Legs were very strong again and spend a few laps seeing how hard it was to move around the pack from back to front. It was tough to hold position with the hills and went from 20th to first to 20th over and over. With just under 10 minutes to go 2 riders were off the front in different spots so I decided to make a little effort and see if I could get off the front. It worked and there was a gap. I caught Ben, the first rider, and offered him a wheel with the hope that we could work together and catch the guy on the front. After half a lap he was gone. I kept going and caught the lead rider and he was gassed as well. No help and just a little too much time to go. It was another MAR lap so the field was again fighting for the time bonuses and was closing in quickly. I sat up to recover to see if I could do something in the final sprint. Bad positioning on the final climb and waiting to get around riders in turn 4 made a sprint from behind tough. I tried something different. It didn’t work, but still finished well.

Here’s a link to the results -
Lots of people got pictures. I'll post them after I track everyone down. Thanks to the Aaron's guys Jeff, Jeff, Isaac and Mike for letting me lounge around their tent before and after races.
Is my season over? It’s only May right? I’m getting a margarita, a big burger and some couch time this week.

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