I got out of work around 9 Friday night expecting to pack up my stuff, get a bit of sleep and then drive down to Iowa City early in the morning. I saw a number I didn't immediately recognize on my phone and wound up leaving Rochester afer 11 pm with Kesha. About halfway down to Iowa City I figured out that we were couch surfing. Rolled into Iowa City at about 3:30 am and found the Apartment complex, went to the wrong building first but then found the right unit and the key. Said a quick word to myself about the Trans-Iowa riders who were starting right as I was falling asleep and crashed for four hours.
The Lillig Cup was going to be a totally bonus race for me. I had planned on some very different stuff but here I was. The road race was fast but manageable and I rode well most of the day. Then the field split in the wind and I handled things poorly. I guess I was just antsy. In the end I burned matches I didn't need to, wasn't in position for the field sprint and finished near the back of the 1st chase group in 22nd. Didn't like losing to some of the guys ahead of me, but I knew full well why I had.
Time trial in the afternoon. Not my forte last year (although prior to last year I always thought I was good at them?). Felt like crap but hit my target time wise. Not embarassingly slow, not as fast as I'd like to be able to go with a few similar efforts under my belt for the year. This was honestly the first time I've sustained an effort like that for more than 3-4 minutes and all of those were for random Strava segments... not quite the same. They ran it in order of registration and I had done day-of... so I was on the start-list as going last. Felt like spartacus for a while... but then Brian Eppen signed up even more last minute. I was proud to hold my 30 second gap on him for about half of the course!
Saturday night I got out for a quick paddle at Sugar Bottoms...
Ok, honestly I padded maybe 1,000 yards total. Mostly sat in my packraft and enjoyed sitting. My arms were tired from the TT on a non-TT bike thing.
Then we had dinner at The Sanctuary with our couch surfing hosts. This sounded weird at first, but turned out to be awesome. Didn't make it back to the apartment until close to midnight.
Still got a solid 10 hours of sleep and then more great food from Monica's in preparation for the crit.
Went out for a warm-up with my friend Nathan Kullbom, actually we did this both days. He is from Iowa City area so it was nice to go with someone who knew a good route to take etc.. When we got about the furthest we were going to get from the race he flatted. Neither of us had anything. Luckily I had my phone because Kesha was racing in the 3s and I had figured I'd use my phone to keep time then hand it to him with the keys. However, he couldn't get ahold of anyone who could get there in time. We wound up trying to flag down vehicles! On about the fifth such try a punk girl with facial piercings and tons of tattoos stopped. I rode up there as fast as possible and told her the deal and she offered him a ride! We both made it back with plenty of time for the start and probably it's a funnier story from her end!
As a hardened 'cat 2' roadie I'm probably not supposed to admit this... but the crit scared me. I haven't gotten much time on my road bike since early August of last year, let alone anything like a crit. I recognized this as soon as I saw the course. In particular I just didn't trust the corner after the downhill. This sucked a lot because it meant I was on the gas on the flat prior to the climb while others were not. I tried to overcome this a little bit each lap but by the time I got somewhat comfortable I had already wasted a ton of matches sprinting out of corners in full yoyo mode while others were coasting. I was dropped and riding hard alone, determined to make as many laps as possible before being pulled. At first the crowd on the hill was silent and I was a little embarassed. I fixed my eyes straight ahead, stood and pedaled as if I were still with the field. I watched my gps and tried to better my time each lap. By the time I was pulled I at least got some applause. I definitely got a good workout.
I guess I also look happy! Or maybe Natalie Rekemeyer didn't upload the others (thanks for the photos).
I'm really looking forward to this weekend and the Dickie Scramble. I got out for 3 hours this morning and checked on a couple of things out on the course. I'll have finalized maps later tonight!
Postcards are rolling in - A few handfuls of postcards have started to trickle in. I'll get them entered in hopefully by Sunday night and post up here so if you sent in a card you'll...
2 weeks ago