Thursday, July 5, 2012

Leesville/Atwater/Davis 4th of July Race Reports

30 June / 1 July / 4 July-

Busy weekend to say the least along with yesterdays mid week 4th of July race, so I will wrap them all up in one race report.  As many of you know I have a pretty stacked schedule while home chasing upgrade points, so a lot of racing means a lot of traveling and a lot of rest.  I am putting in some big training while home and also putting in some quality rest time.  But lets get to the point of this blog and catch everyone up on how the past races went.

Leesville Gap Road Race, 30 June-

I had put this race on the schedule as I thought the course would suit me well.  I had heard rumors of how rough portions of the road were but never thought it would be as bad as it was.  We had a full field of 60 riders and I felt comfortable along the opening stretch and was looking forward to the first climb which came around mile 22 of 66.  Well before that climb was the first dirt/gravel section and off the back I went.  I was just kind of hanging on, barely and the peloton was like a carrot I was chasing.  I almost went down a couple times in the gravel section but managed to make it to the climb.  This is where I started catching people and passing people but on the descent I wasn't willing to take risks like others were.  The roads were described by Chuck Hutcheson as "white-trash redneck cobbles" and I would have to say that is pretty spot on.

Of the 66 miles I would say 20 of it was really rough and sketchy and I just didn't feel comfortable at all through this section.  Once I got out of the rough stuff I started putting in a solid effort to catch the group.  It took me quite a while to catch the group and once I caught them I found out they were the chase group and there was a break of about 8 up the road.  There were 12 riders in the chase group and of those 12 about 8 of them had teammates up the road, so I had 4 guys that were actually working.  I recovered for about 3 or so minutes then went straight to the front to tried to get the group to start chasing the break.  We had 1'30" deficit that we had to make up and we worked hard, but with only 4 of us working we just couldn't make it happen.  I didn't know the course all that well and all of the sudden the 1K sign came up.  I was up towards the front so I just kind of slowed and waited for some others to come around and then I sat in about 3rd wheel.  At about 400m I went and it was just a bit to early as the other guys that hadn't been working came around me at 150m to go and I ended up getting passed by about 6 of those guys and crossed the line 14th.  Not the results I was looking for but it let me know that I was in good form compared to the other riders in my Category (CAT3), minus my handling skills through the rough section.

Category: Elite CAT3-
Results: 14th out of 60 (
Link to ride on Strava:

 Atwater Big Creek Crit-

After having such a big showing at Leesville I was looking forward to a big crowd down at Atwater.  I showed up to find out the CAT3 field was only going to have 10 or so guys in it which was quite disappointing.  I also heard that the P1/2 race only had 2 guys registered, so I asked the question if they would let CAT3's double up and do both.  They were fine with that so I was able to get 2 races in back to back which made the trip worth while.  They actually gave us free entry to the 2nd race which was nice.

I had already talked to my coach prior to the race about a plan for the race, but with the small field I threw that out the window and re adjusted.  The CAT3 race was the first race and we had 9 starters.  I waited till about 5 laps in of the 25 laps and then attacked out of the 2 corners and opened up a small gap.  I just slowly kept opening the gap up and gaining time.  I ended up lapping the field with about 5 laps to go and just sat in at that time.  There was 2 guys in the field that I knew from the local rides so I tried to set them up with a lead out, but one guy from another team went super early and I wasn't able to close the gap for the guys and ended up pulling one of the guys to a 3rd place finish.  I wasn't sure what to do once I had lapped the field but knew if I had teammates in the field I would have helped them out, and the local guys were the closest thing I had to teammates so I just helped them.  I was glad to get a win even though it was a small field, it was a confidence boost after the previous days race.

Next up was the P1/2 race, which included 3 CAT3's and 2 CAT2's, for a total of 5 people.  Really small race to say the least.  All of us but 1 guy had already raced a race previous in the day so when the race started we just talked and kept it very casual.  Then the officials got tired of us going slow and they rang the bell for a prime.  2 guys went hard for it and actually opened up a small gap and after the prime we figured they would sit up but they kept going, so once we caught them I countered and opened up a gap.  I ended up holding that gap for a while and slowly built it up.  I lapped the field with about 8 laps to go and took another win.

Overall I was happy to pull off 2 wins in back to back races but was really disappointed in the small fields.  It was also great to have my family there cheering me on and keeping me motivated to keep riding hard while I was solo.

Category: Elite CAT3-
Results: 1st out of 9 (
Link to ride on Strava:

Category: P1/2 + CAT3's
Results: 1st out of 5 (
Link to ride on Strava:

Davis 4th of July Crit-

Not necessarily the "biggest" race on the calendar while I am home, but it was an important one to me.  I really wanted to put the stars and stripes on the podium on this special day.  I had talked to quite a few people and they talked about how big of a race this was and how it brings a big tough field and a lot of fans.  I was really excited about the race but also nervous about it as it was a technical tight course and I would also have a lot of family there watching.

I got up to Davis a bit early and met up with my Aunt Renee, Uncle Kevin, and my Cousin Kyle who was the birthday boy and then my other cousin Todd and his fiance Dede.  We all had lunch together and then I went about my normal pre race routine and got in a short warmup as I was feeling really hot on the trainer and didn't want to get my body temperature up to high as it was going to be a hot race.  I got off the trainer and found a bathroom and then just spun around lightly in a small warmup area.  The race started at 1415, so I made my way to the start line around 1410.

I didn't get all that great of a start and just hung out for the first couple of laps.  I had a game plan that I was going to use at Atwater and myself and my Coach Zach had decided to use the same plan.  There was a pretty nasty crash right on the front stretch about 8 minutes into the race and that is when I decided I better move up a little closer to the front.  There was a solo rider that was off the front and then 2 other guys behind him but ahead of the main group.  I decided around 15 minutes to make my move and started to go.  It took me a bit to move up to the front but once I got there I went hard and bridged up to the 2 riders.  I then had my work cut out to make it to the next guy but made sure to not bring the other 2 with me.  I finally made it to the solo guy and the 2 others were back to the pack.  Once I got to him we got a split of an 8 second gap.

We worked really well together and worked the gap from 8 seconds to 12 seconds, which it seemed to stay at for a while.  Then it went from 12 seconds to 25 seconds in a matter of a few laps, not sure what happened there, but it just kind of hovered at 25 seconds all the way to the finish.  With 2 laps to go I looked over to the other guy and told him my situation of only being home for the few weeks and how I needed the upgrade points.  I offered him the 1st place prize in exchange for the 2nd place prize which was a difference of $60, so that I could take the win.  He had no problem with it, and I honestly think he would of given it to me anyways so that I could put the stars and striped on top of the podium on the 4th of July.  It was a great effort on both of our parts to make the 2 man break stick, half way through the race he thought he was going to "blow up" and I just looked over at him and told him to dig deep and believe because we were pulling it off.

It was amazing to have so many fans packed in the downtown streets of Davis and to have a lot of family there.  My Dad said he wanted an early Bday Present so that win was for him.  It was a heck of a day and honestly it still hasn't really set in, I put it up there with crossing the finish line in Kona, only thing I was missing yesterday was an American Flag to carry across the line or around the course, that would of made it extra special.

Category: Elite CAT3-
Results: 1st out of 58 (
Link to ride on Strava:

Video of Race (3:20 for finish video):

Thanks again for all of the support and as always a special Thanks to all the great supporters out there.  Thanks to FRS, Honey Stinger, HED Wheels, Chamois Butt'r, Primal Wear and of course all of my family and friends and fellow military service members!

Here are some pictures from the Atwater Crit:

Here are some pics from the Davis 4th of July Crit:

 Thanks to Alex Chiu Photography for the great photos!

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