Joe Martin NRC – Stage 3

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Today was a 95 mile road race. 3 loops of 25 miles or so, plus 10 miles out to the circuit and 10 back. After checking out the results, it seemed like it was going to be the normal controlled race. And it was. The first 15 miles or so it was attack after attack until a group got formed off the front. Jamis put all their guys up on the front since they were leading. The front group had a lot of guys and were going pretty good. We were moving along quickly and they had over 3 minutes on us after one large lap. It was obvious that Jamis wasn’t going to be able to keep that pace up for another 3 hours. Pretty soon, Team Type 1 joined in at the front.

On the 2nd big loop, we were swinging out around a car and the guy behind me didn’t swing quick enough and his front wheel went into my rear derailleur. He made some derogatory remark. The weird thing is that if it had been anyone other than me most likely, he would of fallen. As soon as I heard the contact, I leaned my bike back the other direction, even though I was off balance. He was the one not paying attention. Whatever. I came out of it worse than he. I couldn’t get into my 11 because my derailleur hanger was bent pretty bad.

A little while later I noticed that I couldn’t get into a 12 anymore either. So, at the 2nd field zone where it was going slow, I pulled over and got off to straighten the hanger. It pretty much fell off in my hands. I’d pulled off to the left to stop, so I walked across the road to the right to try to get a bike from SRAM. The SRAM guy saw me last minute and hit his brakes. Then the Jamis Team car ran into him from behind.

So, after getting the bike off the roof, measuring my seat, putting on Shimano pedals, I was standing around for about 5 minutes. Maybe more. So, I asked them if they were going to pace me back up. They said no, but kind of changed their minds when they came by. But, it didn’t work out. It is not like they didn’t try. It turned into a crazy hard interval session in a 11 in the back. I realized when we got to the hill and all the feed vehicles were coming down that it was going to be a lost cause. I was toast and really far behind. With nearly 40 miles to go. I rode up to the top of the hill and then turned around and rode the 15 miles back to the finish line.

I felt pretty good all day. Again, not that I had a chance to really feel bad. Unless you count the 15 minutes I sat behind the SRAM car at 45+ mph. It was a nice ride back. This is the 2nd time I’ve ridden a SRAM support bike the last year. They have the levers mounted real low on the bars. Like guys used to ride them in the 70’s. And with all the measuring, the seat was a cm low. Not that I’m complaining. I don’t really know what they could do differently following a road race neutral. There are so many different types of pedals out there. It makes it nearly impossible to get a bike change and have an ability to catch back on.

So, riding back, I thought, “man, why didn’t I just hold onto the car?” Shit. I was so far back, there was no way I was going to get back to the field motor pacing on that terrain. Unless it was someone that knew how to do it very well and they were deticated to getting me back. Which wasn’t the case here. It just didn’t cross my mind. I haven’t ever held onto a car in a car. I take that back. I did once during the Coor’s Classic when I was riding for La Vie Claire. Paul Koechli told me to hold on after I flatted to get me back up to a group so I could help in a long, long chase of a break. I didn’t like it then.

But, I don’t know. Somehow it seems okay now. Just getting back up to where I would of been. But, if I hadn’t gotten back on before the climb, it might of been all for not anyway. I guess it doesn’t matter. Other than I was really looking forward to riding the criterium tomorrow. It is a very hard course that they made harder by adding some more corners. Plus, there is a high chance of rain tomorrow afternoon. Not that I want to ride a sketchy criterium in the rain, but I would like to ride a sketchy criterium in the rain right about now.

So, I get to watch a sketchy criterium tomorrow. Did I mention Jonathan Cantwell, Fly V won today out of a field spring once again. It was sketchy in it’s own right. There was alot of leaning and coasting going on the last 50 meters. Seemed like the United Healthcare and Type 1 guys didn’t really get the sprint because they were too busy trying not to crash. Okay. I’m bummed, but that is bike racing I guess.