Salida 09 – baby steps

03Aug09

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The Salida Omnium is one of my favorite race weekeneds in Colorado. That being said, it’s generally been extremely humbling for me. The road race usually 9000+ feet of climbing (starting at a base of 7000 ft.) over 90 some miles. Combining the difficultly of the race with multiple opportunities to “pull the ripcord” and bail mid race (because it’s a circuit) if it get’s too tough and that makes for a usually high attrition rate. After having a few big road races in my legs this year, my goal was simple: Finish the race and help the team. 

My teammate Nick threw down a 7th in the TT the night before, so now we have a GC guy going into the road race. The first lap was fairly tame. I actually rode top 5 the whole way up the first climb and led the field through the finish line at the summit. On the fast descent I re-loaded with food and water and prepared for the next lap. Things were going well. Very well. The first time I did this race as a Pro 1-2 road race I was spit out the back on the first climb so fast it made my head spin. Amazing what a few years will do. 

Anyway, so we’re on the highway heading into our second of 7 times up the climb and I’m still feeling money. Drew rolls up and says “Nick got a flat, you want to drop back and pace him back from the wheel change?” … after a few second and the realization that he could top 10 the weekend, we dropped back. Then we waited and waited, then the wheel car drives up and I ask where he is. Apparently, the wheels were not neutral and he didn’t get a wheel. Now we have our GC guy on the side of the road with no wheel, Drew and I are a mile behind the peloton and the climb is looming. Drew and I made a huge effort to get back on. Drew made it moments before the climb started and I didn’t. Just like that, my wonderful day was disappearing. 

Our sprinter Mark has been dropped on the first climb and had come up behind Nick and gave him his wheel. Then Nick bridges up to me and we proceeded to work together for nearly the rest of the day. We picked up a few other stragglers, but kept our time losses to a minimum considering our debacle. It was a long day and I felt like I was in a breakaway because it was just 3 guys rotation through. Around the 6th lap I started to loose steam and and the seventh time up the climb I was cooked, but I came in and finished. Dead last to be precise.

On the results sheet, it was a failure, but had we not blown our team to pieces trying to help Nick, I’m confident that I would have finished strong in the bunch and Nick would have held onto his top 10 on GC. That being said, I was happy to throw down and sacrifice for Nick and the team. I’d do it again if I had to.

I will take a lot of confidence into next years race.

The crit was insanely fast. Drew top scored a top 10 in an elite break, while Nick hung in for a finish. There we 30 finishers and unfortunately I wasn’t one of them. I thought I was going to be able to make it, but it was non-stop attacks and single file, strung out action the whole time. It was a bummer, but not surprising after the previous days efforts. 

All in all, things could have gone a little better, but they could have been a lot worse. We all stayed up right and most importantly had a ton of fun traveling and racing together. Our Cat 4’s team won the overall Omnium and the crit and our Cat 3’s team was strong as well.

A HUGE thanks to Symmetry massage for the massage and support throughout the whole weekend. 

I can’t believe the season is nearly over, but I’m committed to bringing my best to the remainder of the year.

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