i love stage racing.
LOVE stage racing. One time at band camp i raced something like 28 out of 31 days. It was heaven.
But last year i did, for the first time since i started pedalin', not one stage race. Not one!
This is the year of the stage race, baby.
- - -
There are some favorites of mine. I love the Bisbee - Gila combo punch to the gut. I've never had a decent overall at Gila and really want to give that a go this year (if i can actually break into the double digits in hours training per week, that is). Last time there, I was 10th after the Mogollon stage (got cracked by Moniger ... again), yet felt wonderful for my chances to keep it together for the remaining days. But, got an uber-bad case of food-poisoning from the pre-Mogollon breakfast at "Caballero's". The stomach began rumbling in the last few miles of the race, and then it went straight-up ballistic on the car ride back to town from the finish. It was one of those blast-out-both-ends episodes, all night long, leaving you a husk of a human, jerkified and emptied for days to come.
I started stage 3, one of my favorite road race courses in the US, struggling and getting dropped on the rollers out of town. I weaved and wobbled, barely able to put together two C-notes of power down. Finally I just flat-out fell apart and lay on the side of the road until I could flag a car to bum a ride back to town. Made it not more than a handful of miles out of Silver City. Race over.
I want revenge.
- - -
Another of my favorites is Mt. Hood. That crit is just heaven on a stick, baby. Hood and Gila's crits are my favorites because they allow the wee-boys, such as myself, opportunity to dig and dive for wins. UNlike that fukkal Redlands crit ... which you need to be a raw-beefed locomotive to stand half a chance. Those bastards go fast in that bloody crit.
- - -
I loved the Zinger back in the day, but it was just when i started racing and I didn't have the oompf or experience to get up those long, gradual climbs. I remember getting shelled out of the lead group something solid on one of the stages. It was on a forever climb that I saw no light on the horizon for. Of course, it didn't help that in the 50 miles preceding the climbs, I contested every damn sprint point and attacked 43 times to get away from the pack.
Anyway, me ... being me ... i never gave up and kept the hammer down as best I could - chasing, chasing, chasing. I would collect boys on the way and ride with them if they felt inclined. This would be the first time I would meet Trent Klasna. Now, Trent's a cool dude and all, likes to do his thing and was a monster that one year in the NRC. But, he's also one proud mo-fo.
Anyway, he kept jawin' at me, "why you goin' so hard? The race is up the road?" You know, that kind of thing.
We were in a group of about 10, he at the back, getting the free ride from me and another guy trading pulls over rolling, difficult terrain. Everytime our group would roll up a hill, I'd keep the gas on and drill it ... forever. And each time there'd be the complaints behind, "what's up hammerhead, who you chasin'?"
And then, as we rolled through a canyon and got view of yet another one of these 4+ minute climbs ... there we saw the team cars behind the lead pack. No bloody way, there they were.
Klasna attacked to try and bridge across.
yeah, i logged that one in the memory banks.
- - -
Couple years ago at the Tour de Nez ... Klasna caught me on the opening day hillclimb TT of the stage race. I'll admit it, I didn't like it. But, i fended off his 30 seconds until the final 100 meters and he had to put a bit of sprint to get past me.
Still, that shit stings.
Then, in the crit ... I missed the break that went away on the first lap. Klasna was in it, of course. I had to use the pack watching and following in fear of Fast Freddy the rest of the race - finally countering off one of his full lap blisters to get away for some scraps in the omnium.
The final stage was a bitch of a road race that was waay beyond my endurance and strength. Maybe half-way through the race there was a long flat section that i knew pretty well. I was tinkering with the idea of shooting off to get a bit of a headstart on the hardest climb of the day. I remember BJM saying, 'now would be a good time to go ...', just taunting me.
But, of course, i had to go. Off solo went I, humping my bike something ugly on the flats to get away from the pack. Up creeped the gap to 2 minutes and I thought, hey ... might just be enough to get over the top before the thundercats swept me up. Not even close. I was going backwards on the final 20% grades and was left for dead by all the real riders. But, as always, i never give up and keep bashing my head against the wall in chase, chase, chase. And after the climbs, who do i roll up on but ... Klasna. Eventually we would have a small group riding out the final miles of the race. Me, remembering.
In through town, towards the finish ... he led out the sprint in a group that wasn't really interested in sprinting. Well, all except me. None of us had any idea where we were placed, how many guys were ahead ... but, Klasna wanted to make sure he got any points left over.
I came around him. Got 20th on the stage, last place for points available in the omnium and moved ahead of him in GC with it.
hollow victories ... still sweet on the tongue.
Blogs that suck time
Thursday, December 21, 2006
i love stage racing.