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.