Today was the first day of Redlands, viagra and it started with a gnarly course. Short, but had a little hill that came with a nice bite. Still dont seem to have all my power back from puking it all out last week, but I felt better than going into brisbane, but enough with the excuses, the facts are I didnt have it today. Got passed by my minute man, but considering it was Santiago Botero, I dont feel too bad about it. I havnt seen the times yet, but a good time is in the mid 9’s for this course. Not only are some past pro tour guys in the race (a new experience to have them part of the domestic scene), but also had my TT bike checked for the first time, and it fit within all the measurements and weight requirements. Now were all just getting ready for tomorrows stage. It should be pretty exciting with all the teams being fairly level. All the bikes have been prepped and are ready(ive still got a mystery creak thats driving me nuts though), and this bowl of cereal is delicious. Tomorrows stage should be a little more exciting considering its longer than 5k. And by exciting i mean really F’ing hard. 200 guys should make moving around in the pack a little more challenging, and 200 guys in a technical crit course, better start at the front.
Now, its time to go get some Nutella.
Today was stage one of redlands(prologue was just a prologue). It was crazy starting with 200 riders, diet
youd move up and pass about 100 guys, look back and find out you were still at the back. The course had a couple of short climbs and a long gradual climb, small grade but you had to work to stay in the pack. I didnt get moved up very far when the road started to get narrower, which was a big mistake. Come the steep sections, I didnt seem to have the gas to keep tempo. A lot of guys had already been shelled of the back and I cracked with them. Really starting to wish that I had a few more races and a few less exams last month. The caravan started to pass me on the second shorter climb. Over the top and I started to get a little speed and used the caravan to move down the descent, but the bikes could take the hill at lot quicker so they slowed me down. Going into the final corner, taking the inside I hit a little gravel and the back wheel started to drift…straight into the BMC team car. After nearly crashing into a team car, i looked down the straight down hill section and the pack was way up the road. a few words came out of my mouth to say the least. The team cars started passing me going really effing fast, way to fast for me to slip in and catch some draft. Around a couple of more turns and my hope of getting back on was pretty evident I wasnt going to be getting back on. I looked back and a few guys were coming up on me. So I jumped in with them and for the rest of the time chased like mad, and a couple of crazy moments weaving through stopped traffic with 3 motor cops escorting us. Kinda fun, but it would have been way better if we were OTF instead of OTB. Eventually a columbian rider attacked on the climb after sitting in or a whole lap and broke it all up. Finished the race, but didnt make the time cut after Botero won OTF in a solo break. Some sunny training and maybe a local race for me this weekend. The legs must be throughly punished for this.
With not making the time cut at redlands, ambulance another team mate and I decided to head up to Santa Cruz and ride a crit. I definatly didnt have the legs for redlands(Oregon winter training, and only 4 prior races just werent enough to beat the legs into race shape for redlands) but a rest day after a brutal 90something miles, my legs felt a lot better than they have been. The power was back. Stephen and I got there really too early, so we started our warm up with a cup of coffee downtown before getting chamied up to start riding. Met up with a few other riders and rode around in the hills for about an hour before heading over to line up. Got a good position in the 86 rider starting field. We started the race and there was a tough headwind going into the 180, between the corners, narrow roads, hill and headwind, it kept things relatively strung out and moving up was a bit of a challenge. I found some good lines through the turns and held to them and kept a pretty good position, just far enough in the front to monitor what was going on and be able to react to anything, but far enough to keep from getting stuck in the wind. There were a few break attempts early in the race, but nothing was able to get away. About half way through, things started to break up, and gaps were opening. A few riders started to go off and I was pretty sure this would be the move to go with. I bridged up to the riders rolling away and looked back to see a big gap between the 9 man break and the rest of the field. We worked together somewhat, but never got too organized thanks to a cal-berry screwing things up. We kept our speed up through the course though. At 5 laps to go, a bissel rider attacked. I let him go expecting to hop onto another riders wheel to bring him in, there were 2 team mates in the break so it was their chore to cover. No one went though and he rode off. At 3 to go, I attacked in an attempt to break it up a bit, but every one chased me down and brought me back, I knew it was going to come down to a sprint in the break at that point so I made an attempt to save some matches. On the last lap, I moved into the 3rd wheel coming into the last corner. I thought that because of the head wind and hill, being too far forward would be a disadvantage since it was a pretty long finishing straight. I was wrong, around the final turn and it was a drag race to the finish, I got over taken at the line by a crafty sprinter to get 5th. I felt a little redeemed after having bad legs at redlands and brisbane to do well in a tough crit full of a quality N. Ca field. The race legs are starting to come.