Joe Martin Stage Race is in a couple days. I haven’t been looking forward to it much because I’ve been feeling so crummy. But, even if I was riding super good, it’s hard to look forward to a race that has all the best Pro Teams there with twice as many riders as the rest of the field. With Toyota and Healthnet and others, bringing 10 guys, it turns the race into a training weekend for guys like me. Actually, it turns the race into a training ride for virtually the whole field, even the race eventual race winner. Most likely the race will be won by whoever wins the 2.5 mile uphill TT. But, last year, Healthnet kept the race together for field sprints in both road races and the criterium, so Gord won it on time bonuses. Two hard road races and a super technical criterium stage race won on time bonuses. Fun.
It is a shame that the people at USAC can’t address the problem and restrict Teams from only being able to enter 6 riders in each NRC race. It would help encourage offensive racing and help alleviate the huge difference between the “PRO” teams with big budgets and the local teams.
I, as a rider, would personally hate going to a race with 9 teammates racing. It would be embarrassing if we lost and very unrewarding when we won. So, at least two or three PRO teams racing Joe Martin are going to be embarrassed.
Tri Peaks, the next weekend is even worse. Healthnet has brought 14 or so there the last two years. Sorry for being so negative, but when it’s in you own backyard, it seems more important. But, like I said before, should make for some good expensive training.
It’s Saturday afternoon and stages 1 & 2 are in the books here. Yesterday was a 110 mile road race with a climb at about 30 miles to go. Nothing new to report. 3 guys got away and up to 11 minutes. Jelly Belly, Toyota and Healthnet put 2 riders each up front and they were caught 10 miles from the finish. About 3 km out, going about 40mph I got crossed up, overlapping a wheel, and high sided. Needless to say it didn’t turn out too good. My frame is in more than one piece. My body is still in one piece, minus a fair amount of skin. I hadn’t fallen hard on the road for three or four years. It was weird in the bathtub scrubbing out the abrasions wondering how I used to do it on a constant basis. It hurt like hell. Toyota finished 1,2.
This morning, after about 3 hours of sleep, we started at 8 am. It was a 95 mile road race on three circuits. Brian got off the front with a Tim Johnson from Healthnet, a Jelly Belly rider and a rider from Mexico. He rode 50 plus miles in that group and got caught 15 miles to go. Toyota only had to put 4 ridrs on the front most of the day, but eventually Priority Health added a couple to help out. I can’t figure out the tactics of Pro Teams nowadays. But, that’s not anything I can control. It eventually came down to a field sprint. Big open, downhill for the last 500 meters. I had good position, but with 300 meters or so to go, got cut off and finished somewhere between 10-20.
So, as usual, the weekend is going to come down to who can ride up a 2.5 mile uphill TT. And time bonuses. My start time is nearly 8 pm tonight. Seems alittle late, but I don’t mind. Like I said in the last post, it is boring, but predictable racing. Pretty negative. But, there was no secret there.
Joe Martin is over. It went pretty much as predicted. It was fine for me because I’m riding like hell, but this tempo style bike racing is boring. Healthnet put 9 guys on the front of the criterium for an hour and a half. I wonder if USAC thinks that is what spectators want to watch? A 9 man TTT in every criterium of every stage race in the US.
The criterium wasn’t easy though. The course is hard and technical enough that there is carnage at the back of the field even when it was steady at the front. There were less than 30 guys left at the end out of 130 starters. I moved up to 35 overall because of the attrition. $100 prize money. That works out to about .0001 cents for every brain cell I lost in the past 3 days. Pretty good value really.
Hopefully, during the next two weeks, things will turn around. I’ve been off antibiotics for almost a week now. And allergies usually subside somewhere around the first of June. My favorite races of the season are nearly here with Quad Cities Memorial Day Weekend, Tulsa Tough and then Nature Valley Gran Prix. I might go down to Austin for a one day/night Criterium in the first of June. That is always a good time.
In the mean time, the Giro and Floyd’s hearing should be interesting to follow at least.
The two weeks from Joe Martin to Quad Cities went pretty much like the rest of the spring has went. I was super beat up from falling and then the sinus infection thing came back. I was laying low, trying to regroup for the memorial day weekend when another mishap occured. I stepped wrong getting out of my car and twisted my left knee. It swelled up like a grapefruit. I iced it about 6 hours a day for 3 days and finally went to the orthopedic surgeon. He stuck a needle into the side of it and sucked out about a half a cup of horrible looking murky stuff. I said I needed a MRI and that I’d torn my medial menescus and needed to get it cleaned up. I did the MRI on Thursday, but couldn’t get the results before leaving Friday. I called a friend of mine that is a radiologist and he pulled a few strings and got me the results.
And the results were….I jumped into my car at 7am and headed up to Iowa. I hadn’t ridden for 7 out of the previous 10 days and had a swollen knee, but it is nearly impossible for me to pass up the Quad Cities weekend.
Anyway, things went mediocre. For me, but as a team, our results were super good. Maybe less than expected though. A couple years ago we won 3 out of the 4 races, so my expectations were probably too high. Brian Jensen was on pretty good form and ended up finishing 2nd, 1st, 2nd the last three days. He was 8th on Friday. I was 6th Friday 11th at Snake Alley, 11th again in Muscintine and 7th yesterday in Rock Island. My form went from feeling stellar to feeling horrible. Sometimes all within a couple laps of the same race. But, I’m sure I pickup up some form and lost some weight.
Catherine Walberg finally got the Rock Island monkey off her back and won on Monday convincingly. That was fun observing.
We didn’t get back until nearly 4 am because Adam Mills had to spend a few hours getting stitched back together after dinner in Iowa City. He had fallen with about 10 laps to go in Rock Island and was all wrapped up when we stopped to eat. I looked under one of the bandages and realized he needed to go to the hospital. So, we went over to the Mercy Medical Center and hung for awhile. They sponsor the Iowa City Team. You have to support sponsors of bike racing. More hospitals should be involved in the sport it seems.
So 3 days off and then to Tulsa for Friday through Sunday for the Tulsa Tough. It’s super money and fun courses, so I’m looking forward to it. Update again then.