I thought that the Toyota-United Team were being silly Friday, but didn’t realize the extent to which they were willing to go. Saturday was a good course. The Tulsa race organizers must have some kind of pull somewhere because most of the courses were newly paved with new asphalt. Saturday’s course is a short loop with a medium climb. Pretty hot. Mid 80′s. Anyway, the race started and pretty soon Toyota had 4 guys off the front. With one Texas Road House rider. Chad Cagle and Cole House soon bridged. They were there and then not. Toyota just took them off the back one at a time. I talked to Cole and he told them he wouldn’t sprint, would pull and would take last place. Not enough. They took turns taking him off the back until he was gone. Chad had picked those guys up at the airport before the race. And he is local, from Tulsa. I guess they were yelling at him to get out of the break. Then he was gone. All so they could get 5th place, too. What a bunch of ball hogs!!!! And they did get 1st through 5th, Saturday. I crashed the last lap. Go figure. Nothing under my control. I landed in the grass with my carbon bars the only real casualty.
Sunday was weird. I decided to get up early and race the Master’s race. It was $750 to win. I got over to the course at 10 and that’s when the fun began. A storm moved through Tulsa with the winds blowing over 60 mph. After sitting in the car for 20 minutes, it became apparent that no bike racing was going to be happening any time soon. The course was destroyed. Barriers down. Pop up tents crumpled. Trees uprooted. They announced that the rest of the races were canceled
We went back to the hotel and packed up. Thought we’d get home in time for a good ride. Then the phone rang — the races were back on. Only for the PRO 1, 1-2′s and Women. So, back in race mode, sort of. The course is super hard. A pretty steep climb, screaming descent into an off camber corner, followed by a tailwind long home stretch. The Grand Performance Team and a few others made the right decision and decided to race the 1-2 race, since they couldn’t really “race” the PRO 1 race.
I pretended to race for about 30 minutes. I thought Toyota seemed a bit tired compared to the previous two days. And they might of been. Eventually 9 guys got away. Adam Mills, from my team, made it for a lap and then was back. Only 3 Toyota guys. Then, two of them dropped the remainder of the break. They had been doing a little over 2 minutes a lap with 9 guys. Two of them started doing 1:45 laps. 15 seconds faster. Pretty impressive. Anyway, they lapped the rest of the field and came within one lap of catching the remainder of the break. So, they only finished 1st and 2nd. Big failure. I figured out of the 75 grand prize list for the PRO-1 field, Toyota won somewhere close to 60K. They should of brought a few more guys if they wanted to win all of it!
I hope this post doesn’t make me seem like a whiner. But, I’ve never been to a race when a team entered that many riders to cherry pick the prize list. I know I didn’t appreciate it. And I’m positive that the rest of the field mirrored my views. All the Toyota guys except Chris Wherry are foreigners. Mainly from Australia. They had no etiquette. They didn’t have the ability to recognize that if they were there on their own, and not riding for Toyota, they would of had no chance of winning. Or even racing. Hopefully, the promoters realize that it made the event a nonevent and will address the situation for next year.
OK. Winghaven Criterium in St. Louis next Sunday, then Nature Valley Gran Prix starting the next Wednesday.