Elite Nationals Seven Springs, PA

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Friday started a long stint away from home. Got in the car early morning to go to Superweek and race in Beverly Friday night. We planned the time right, but hit Chicago traffic and got to the race later than I’ve ever arrived at a race (after the posted start time). Needless to say, we got no warm up and started dead last. I missed the 16 guys that lapped the field. Felt better at the end and ended up getting the next place, 17th. I’m still riding subpar, so I was hoping that it would help out for Monday in Seven Springs.

Saturday morning I put together my new trick Trek Madone. It is super light and super stiff. Then jumped into the van and drove out to Pennsylvania in the afternoon. I had plane tickets, but figured it was easier to drive the 550 miles. Bill Stolte and myself were the sole representatives for our team. Sunday we went over to ride the 28 mile course and ended up riding an hour and a half in downpouring rain. Great for the legs. The course was extremely hard. Hardly a inch of flats. I knew it wasn’t going to go to good for the home team.

Monday it was dry. The race started and a 100 meters into it I somehow made a rash decision and ended up off the front with two other guys. It was pretty much downhill for the first 4 miles and we had 40 seconds by the first climb. I just started pulling up the climb and found myself alone. I was in a bad situation, I knew it, but hoped over the long 4 mile climb that was coming up the field would split. I rode over the next climb and 12 or so good riders bridged up. It was too early and it all came back together soon.

Anyway, to make a long story short, guys kept getting shelled until on the last lap there were only 30 or so left out of the 175 starters. I was already starting to cramp and knew the 4 mile climb would be a big problem. I hit it pretty hard on the 1 km climb preceding the long climb and split the group down to 6. Paul Martin, Ned (Overend) and a few others. But not far enough gone to make it over the long climb. I got shelled on the long climb. Mainly I shelled myself. Kind of part of my new, “give up before it gets hard” deal I have going. 16 guys rode up the climb together and I ended up eventually in a small group behind them. We pretty much quit racing and more guys kept catching on until it was pretty much everyone else left in the race. On the 10 mile stair step climb back to Seven Springs, I felt alittle better and had the cramps under control. I ended up riding up to a guy that attacked the group and John Hunt bridged up. We sat on until a km to go and they completely fell apart. I felt alittle bad jumping John for 16th. Not sure what I was thinking at the time. Anyway, that was my result. Bill ended up 25th, which wasn’t a stellar result for him either.

It was good seeing Ned again. And Wayne Stetina. I knew Ned was going to have a good race. The race was made for him. He spent alot of energy making sure he was in every move and blew at the end and finished 11th. A little more road savy and he could of won. Wayne was only trying to finish in the top 50 (his own personal reasons) and finished 36th, so he seemed alright with he day.

The way I’ve been going this spring until now, it was pretty frustrating riding on a course with a field with the ability I had. I’m at about 50% always, which makes racing way less interesting and completely unrewarding, even when I have an OK result. Hopefully, I’ll snap out of this funk soon.

I’m back in Chicago racing up in Milwaukee this evening. Looks like some rain. That should be interesting.

Pictures-Ned and me (Wayne in the background). My new Trek and Ned’s Specialized. Start of Elite Nationals.