Monthly Archives: June 2007

Tulsa Tough

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Just got back from 3 days racing down in Tulsa Oklahoma. It’s called the Tulsa Tough. Tim and the guys down there put on a super professional, well-organized race series, with way too much prize money. It is three hard, technical criteriums. Friday nights race doesn’t start until after 9pm in the hip bar district in Tulsa, then Saturday is another evening race at 7pm with Sunday’s killer, hilly criterium at 3 pm.

Drove down to Tulsa Friday afternoon and it looked like rain. I don’t really like racing in rain, but seem to win a fair amount of the events I do, so I can’t really say I’m adverse to racing in the rain. It downpoured during the women’s event and they called the race early because of lightening. We all lined up pretty early and watched a good lightening storm of our own on the horizon. They held up the race abit waiting for it to pass, but started pretty close to on time. It was wet and sketchy for awhile, but it didn’t seem like many riders fell. Sucessful Living had 10 guys there and Einsteins had a bunch too. Nothing seemed to be working, but the pace was pretty high. It ended up in a field sprint, with Sucessful Living smearing us all pretty easily. Bill ended up 9th and I was buried at 17th. Brian flatted with 3 laps to go. Bad luck. So much for a big payout.

Saturday didn’t go much better. I have been riding pretty mediocre and it showed again. I was fine in the field, but not good anywhere close to being in the wind. A Sucessful Living guy soloed in for the win and we ended up sprinting for 2nd. I planned to lead into the final corner, but Dan Smatz from BMC had the same idea and beat me to the punch. I was in a bad spot and ended up 8th. A big improvement, but nothing to write home about. Bill was 17th and Brian barely squeaked into the top 25.

Today, Sunday went better. It was a perfect course for Brian. I knew it, he knew it. We didn’t even need to talk about it. It took him alittle over 10 minutes to get off the front in a 90 minute race. I was a hard loop with a pretty hard climb and off camber corner about 200 meters from the finish. Anyway, Brian laped us with 3 other riders in the first hour. He went right through the remainder of the field and immediately went off the front to win the crowd prime. I was feeling OK most of the race and was riding at the front most of the time. But when Brian lapped us, either the field got alot more tired or I got alot better, because I was riding much better in comparison. Brian ended up winning the race. I kind of screwed up the end abit, but ended up 8th again. I was 6th overall which is kind of screwy because I had 3 of the worse finishes I could of the whole season. Nothing seemed to go right the last lap of any of the races. So, winning one of the days was all we could do this weekend, but that was still pretty good.

Hopefully, this will be my last bad weekend of racing. I’m going up to Wisconsin for the week, then back to St. Louis for the Winghaven race on Sunday. I’ll try to get a bunch of long miles in the next couple weeks for Nature Valley NRC that is coming up in a few weeks.

Winghaven-St. Louis

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I hate to sound like a broken record, but I’m riding like shit. It is way less enjoyable racing bikes when it’s a struggle. Usually, about NOW, I come out of the spring/allergy funk and start feeling great. But, alas not yet.

I was pretty wasted after Tulsa, so I decided to drive 1500 miles during the week to rest up. I went up to Minneapolis to do some PR stuff with the Dave LaPort, the promoter of Nature Valley Gran Prix, and then took Bromont, my dog, up to Cable, Wis. (his favorite place in the world) to run crazy in the woods for a few days. Then back Friday for the weekend races.

Anyway, a bunch of us went to St. Louis and raced the Winghaven Criterium on Sunday. Mike Weiss, Mr. Bigshark to you, put on this event in a new housing/commmercial area outside St. Louis. It is a great venue, a 2.75 mile closed circuit with the start/finish line at the top of a small hill, a couple hundred meters after a round about. It has a good prize list. Over 10K for the PRO 1-2’s.

The race was 20 laps. It rained most of the day until our race started at nearly 5pm. There were the usual regional guys around, plus a couple heavy hitter sprinters in the forms of Dan Schmatz and Hayden Godfrey. Plus, Crater and his guys from Milwaukee. I knew we might have some problems.

The plan was to keep the pressure on the whole race. It seemed to be going pretty well through the first half, but after an hour or so the wind calmed down and the course got abunch easier. It wasn’t hard enough to split the field. Or maybe, we weren’t riding well enough to split the field. We needed rain or heat or something. Whatever the reason, it was all together with a lap to go.

With one to go, Bill Stole, my team, took a flyer with one other guy. He sat out there a couple hundred meters and got caught about 400 meters from the line. I was trying to lead Brian out, but he lost my wheel somewhere approaching the last corner. I was on Hayden, 4 guys back heading into the traffic circle. I was jacked, so I decided to go for it and lead up the hill. But, when I commited to go into the traffic circle, Hayden did alittle “track swerve” to keep the masses (me) at bay. It worked perfectly for him. I was heavy on my brakes and floundered all the way to the finish line. Brian came from way back and passed me with about 50 meters to go to finish 5th. I was 8th. Dan Schmatz killed us and won easily. Josh Carter finish 2nd and Hayden 3rd. All three of them would probably beat me if I was riding good, so we kind of blew it letting it come down to a field sprint. I knew the course and conditions weren’t in our favor. But, that’s bike racing.

OK. T-minus 10 days until Nature Valley. A couple of us are going down to Tulsa to race on Thursday night. They hold a criterium during the Tour across Oklahoma. I’ve only done it once before, but it pretty fun. A night race with a bunch of tourists watching.

On Friday, I heard on NPR, they are unearthing a time capsule in Tulsa, buried in 1957. It has a ’57 Plymouth buried in it. I think I’ll stay down there Thursday night and check that out. Tulsa is a great town. I don’t need too many reasons to hang there some.

If I get feeling better, I’ll probably just keep going down to Austin for the downtown Pecan Street Criterium Saturday night. But, that seems to be a big if right now.