I guess. I guess I’m racing again this weekend. I skipped last weekend, thinking it would be better to rest than train. I’m not sure about that call now. Nothing much has been going on in Kansas. It’s been unseasonably cool here. Hi’s barely in the upper 70’s. Good time to try to catch up on outdoor fix it stuff. Nothing much else to report. Below are some photos that I took the last week. Swimming with Bromont up in Wisconsin. Horse shot from the Wild Mustang government auction I went to here in Topeka a couple days ago. Logging is definitely the industry in Cable. Burr season is in full swing in Kansas And photo of bikes I road up in Wisconsin on the Chequamegon course. One is my Eriksen 29’r. The other is a Eriksen 27.5. It might be the best of the selections. It rolls good like a 29’r, but has better handling. Tire selection is limited, but the tires available are pretty good. Going to the Gateway Cup to race Friday night through Monday. 4 criteriums. The last one is right before the start of the Tour of Missouri. Should be a pretty fun day. Okay. I’ll update as the weekend progresses.
Anyone that has raced in Tulsa and spent time there knows the Soundpony Bar. Probably too well. It is the gathering bar after nearly any race. The bathrooms are covered by race numbers and the bar itself is a shrine to cycling. This video shows how focused we should be in all endeavors. Okay, maybe he’s a little too focused. You judge.
Race didn’t start until 9:30pm. It’s kind of weird. I could count on one hand how many night time criteriums I raced in my lifetime until 10 years ago. And virtually all those would be the Athens Twilight Race. Now it seems every other race is at night. I like it, but it does make for weird sleep schedule. In addition, it’s a full moon tonight. It’s approaching 3am and our hotel room isn’t slowing down too much. Bromont, dog, is the only one that has hit the hay. That is after a bottle of wine to “calm our nerves”.
Race-The course is flat and 4 corners. Wide open. Tons of spectators that are drinking madly. The wind was not an issue. The race rolled pretty good all night. Not sure what the average was, but it never slowed much. We won two out of the three primes. Brian got into the best move on the night with 20 minutes to go and I thought it was a done deal. 6 guys go out of sight into the dark. But, Big Shark didn’t think that Colby Pierce could win, I guess and put their whole team at the front. With 3 laps to go it was back together. The field sprint is mayhem here. The road is super wide and there is a ton of passing. I was not in the optimal position on the 3rd side and went into the last corner, 250 meters from the finish out of the top ten. I was in the wind the whole way and ended up 7th. I just passed Bill on the line, who finished 8th.
Dan Schmatz, Big Shark, won in a field sprint, so I guess the Big Shark move of chasing down the break was a good decision in the end. I think Chad Cagle, Mercy, was 2nd and Josh Carter, ABD. was 3rd. Cole House, BMC, was 4th, not sure about 5th, then Chad Hartley was right in front of me. Brian was going pretty good. We won most of the primes and Bill and I were both in the top ten. Not stellar, but not horrible.
The highlight of the day was riding to and from the race. I love to ride through urban areas that I’m unfamiliar with. St. Louis is super interested because of the economic diversity. There is a ton of old money here. Really old. From the land settling, pioneering days. St. Louis was the original departure point of the trails going West. The houses in the affluent areas are nearly castles. Stone, huge, slate roofs. The ride to the race was through miles and miles of these. Then, the race was in an up and coming run down area. Boarded up apartments surround the area. And the city of St. Louis in the background. It was super interesting riding there and even better riding the 10 miles back after midnight. Everyone on the move. Super dressed up girls, in heels, bar hopping. Plus, the real estate views. Pretty cool.
Today was a near duplicate of yesterday. A flat 4 corner criterium, wide open, nothing else. It had field sprint written all over it. But, it almost wasn’t. A group of 5 got away with 20 minutes to go or so. Brian Jensen made the group and we were good with that. But, it wasn’t to be. We caught the break with about 400 meters to go. 100 meters before the last corner. Everything got pretty shuffled up at that point. Shuffled up enough that I came mildly close to winning the race. Chad Hartley jumped early when the break was caught and only Colby Pierce, who was in the break got on. I came from a ways back and latched on to them coming out of the last corner, 300 meters from the line. Mainly downhill. I tried to shift into my 11, but alas, I was already in it. I went by Pierce and was coming up on Chad in the last 20 meters, but Dan Schmatz and Cole House came by on either side and I was so taken by surprise I didn’t quite get by Hartley for 3rd. They were going 5 mph faster than me. I guess they started pretty far back. I’m not sure of the results of the guys behind me. These races are rolling along pretty good, but the courses haven’t been hard enough. Tomorrow’s race is in the Italian district and has a hill. But, probably not a big enough hill to split it up. We’ll see.
Today’s race was in the Italian section of St. Louis. The race is on a hill. Not a big hill, but still a hill. Rectangle, 4 corners with the long sides up and down. Downhill sprint. Pretty long, 500 meters or so from the last corner to the finish line. The race was supposed to start at 5:50, but the women had some rain and had to be neutralized to clear the carnage off the road. (Brooke Miller, Tibco, won for the 3rd day in a row.) Anyway, we started pretty late. Late enough that we were going to finish in the dark. With no lights.
The race was going pretty good. Pretty steady fast. It was looking like it was going to be a field sprint, but towards the end a small group got away. Finally only two were left. We were coming up on them pretty fast, but Coby Pierce couldn’t be denied and won ahead of a charging field. Dan Schmatz won the field sprint for 3rd. I was buried. The photo finish camera wasn’t working, so I’m sure the results are all screwed up. But, the prize money here isn’t anything to write home about until tomorrow, so it is nearly irrelevant. I was somewhere between 10th and 15th. Pretty pitiful.
Tomorrow is the final day. The prize money is nearly triple. Over a grand to win. That makes it way more interesting. Except, it is another 4 corner, flat criterium. Not really what I’m/we’re good at.
Here’s a slideshow of some of the good people watching/scenery photos that could be had at the start of the Tour of Missouri. Downtown St. Louis is a surprisingly beautiful place.