Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Stage 1: Chataguey

Stage 1 done and I am in 96th place over 10 minutes back! As always, there's a story: The course was a flat, four corner 5k loop raced 15 laps with intermediate sprints for time and finish bonuses. We raced at 5:30, mid-50s and rain threatening. The race was fast and nervous from the start, people pin-balling up the sides constantly to improve positioning. I started out positioning well enough, but by lap 3 had settled into about mid-pack. Suddenly the riders ahead of me crashed and I went down, easily but tangled in someone's bike. The crash delayed the whole caravan. I chased too hard too soon, and could not even hope to jump on bumpers when team cars came flying by at easily 35mph towing their respective riders on their bumpers. Burned myself to the point I even fell off a Colavita bumper that would have been my ticket back into the pack. And so the joke that I will go out of my way to do steady hard efforts continues, since there I was riding with two tiny riders not strong on this power course, riding a long sustained effort in the rain for the time cut. Later we picked up Mary Zider, someone I am always glad to ride with but not when it indicates we are both off the back. We jumped into the field for three laps (evidently this was ok), then finished on our own. Four teammates finished in the group, one came out of the crash as though kicked by a horse, and finished solo behind my small group. On the plus side, my legs felt the best they have all year. Today will bring a 110k route with some moderate QOM hills and a technical finish, with time bonuses bound to be hotly contested. Highly unlikely a break would go, let alone stick, unless Cervelo sees that as there best defense of the jersey. This race is pretty much for sprinters - though Thursday's race is a tough uphill sprint - and decided on time bonuses plus tomorrow's 3k TT. Positioning is the name of the game today. Side project is identifying German cyclocross star Hanka Kupfernagel in the bunch.

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