Clear Lake Bicycle Blues and BBQ Festival... and with cooler temperatures only in the high 80s
ok, this is in no way related but WTF... I guess they just didn't need it anymore?
Bright and early Saturday morning. You an almost tell from the picture that it wasn't 85 degrees overnight and headed to 95+. This was great news.
Made it to Clear Lake around 7:20 am and registered for the TT then proceeded to run the Mercedes into a huge cement slab, high center it and then almost rip the bumper off getting off of it. Moved on and went for a solid 40 minute warm-up down along the lake.
The TT itself went about as expected. I more or less did 'ok' and wound up 5th. It was painful and not a ton of fun. I also wasn't quite sure how to pace myself etc.. I felt pretty good about the average speed at the time, but looking back over the times from the entire race (not just the 3s) I was pretty slow. Many, many people beat me including many that I have been able to beat consistently in crits, on gravel or mountain bikes over the last year. I need to keep practicing! The TT practicing I have been doing has obviously been on my new TT bike which was "outlawed" in this race for omnium riders. I also have only now had 4 total rides on it including that State TT when it was setup poorly. I probably would have been well served to just go out and try a 5-7 mile all-out effort on the road bike at some point last week. All that said, 5th put me in a decent position in the Omnium and I knew I had my weekest race out of the way.
Getting ready for the crit
tons of spectators! Really cool to be in a crit with crowds and $ on the line like this. Both add entire new dimensions.
I was feeling good and went for the first prime only to realize that it was very difficult to come around anyone between the last turn and the line. The next prime Franz was in perfect position to lead me out and gave a solid pull for the first 2/3 of the lap and allowed me to win by a large margin. I dropped back into the group and rested, planning to skip a prime or two and focus on the race. However when the time came I gave it a little dig up the hill an once again made it to the final series of turns in first and held on to win. A few laps later Franz fell, but was able to take a free lap and was back to lead me out/contest the next prime despite being all scratched up. This time it was a little closer and he lead all the way through the last corner and then drifted a bit on his way to the line such that I couldn't come by... he said he wasn't sure I was the one on his wheel. I skipped contesting one prime. Nathan Kullbom attacked and I knew he had a good chance of staying away. I was on his wheel, but didn't want to risk it/put in that much work and let him go. He wound up opening up a big gap and winning the race on his way to winning the whole Omnium! The pack was racing for 2nd. The final lap was chaos compared to the primes and I was a bit out of position. I knew where I had to "go" but I was a bit late due to traffic and one rider was gone into the technical corners and to the finish before me. There had been 6 contested sprints and Franz or I had won 4, I had gone 2nd, 1st, 1st, 2nd, skip, 2nd. This was super fun! What a difference a couple days and 10 degrees made vs. Wednesday or last Sunday.
The women's race was very competitive and really fun to watch
no spectators down here... way too hot in the sun down on this section. These are the women again.
This is me, a semi, podium girls, no one else on the podium etc. but it's not as funny as the next one...
Everything about this picture is funny/awesome. This was also the moment I realized that this race had been the Iowa State Criterium Championships.
one of the pro/1/2 race
Found some great Mexican food and spent a lot of time laying down after the races.
Today came fast but I felt pretty good. I was now in 2nd in the omnium with just the 84 mile road race to go. Franz and one of the Pings attacked, I attacked solo, Franz and a Rasmussen guy attacked and it stuck. We wouldn't see them again until mile 70ish (what an effort from someone covered in road rash btw). I spent a whole lot of time sitting in, resting etc.., like 3 hrs of time. I felt like we had played things well by giving Franz a chance to win and me a chance to sit and sprint. I knew that a bunch sprint was my best chance to win vs. this strong field and to potentially win the omnium as well. With 1k to go I found Kullbom's wheel and sat on it until begining to open up to sprint, got bumped hard from the left and had to pull my foot out of the pedal and sort of outrigger a bit while sliding. Felt lucky not to fall but unlucky that I couldn't get my stupid road cleats back in immediately. Wound up sprinting with one leg, finishing out of the points and falling back to 4th in the omium. Only thing that would have made me feel better right then would have been to go do the whole thing over. With some time/perspective I should be happy that I had been in that position and that the legs had felt good etc.. It also makes me question my strategy with regards to playing for a sprint in a 3 race. This is the 2nd road race in a row where I got screwed leading into the sprint while riding in a straight line in 4th or 5th wheel. I've seen enough of racing on TV etc. to know it happens, but it's frustrating. Maybe I need more road experience to learn how to avoid the trouble. I've only seen a few of these open road sprints vs. tons of crit sprints now and I'm sure there are different things I need to recognize. Sucks when you think you are doing it right and it bites you though.
Overall this was a really fun weekend and an awesome event. I hope to be back next year.