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.