Two weeks ago Angie and I headed back to St George for my 3rd Tour del Sol. This year I was able to race in the Masters A category and it would be my first time in that group as well as my first time racing with my new teammates on Infinite. Angie skipped out on work that Friday and I worked for a while but we finally left Salt Lake around 2pm. The drive was pretty crazy after we got past Provo and a snowstorm came down on us. It was nearly a whiteout for a while and I was glad that I was able to get both of my bikes packed up inside of the vehicle. The weather cleared up as we got closer to central Utah and by the time we reached St. George the weather was pleasant. We stopped in at Red Rock Bicycles and grabbed my race pack and I was able to chat with Ira, Mike and Dave, as well as some other teammates and we made plans to eat.
After we left the bike shop, we went around to the other side of the Bluff and checked into our rented condo at the Sports complex, which was a nice 1 bedroom with a den and extra bed on the bottom level. The unit was a bit dated but I loved it, a very comfortable place with a kitchen that would allow me to feel at home and relaxed. We quickly got our stuff out of the car and into the condo, then headed off to meet with the rest of the team at a place called the ‘Brick Oven’ which was a pizza and pasta place. I had a big shake before I left an that kept me from gorging on a heavy dinner. After dinner we stopped in at where Ira was staying and said hello and chatted for a while, Ira told me about the course and it made me a bit nervous so we went out in the dark and drove it in the car, then went back to the condo to get some sleep and wake up for the next mornings time trial.
When I woke up, it was windy and cold, the weather had dropped and was now in the high 30′s. The wind made it absolutely miserable out there so I had to wear a lot of extra clothes that I normally don’t wear for a time trial. I found where Ira was and parked my car next to his, then set up my bike and trainer and started warming up with him. The wind was blowing so hard that it made it very difficult to attach our numbers with an adhesive. I warmed up for a half hour and felt ready to go, and the wind started dying down so at the last moment I changed my front wheel out for a deeper dish one, which turned out to be a big mistake.
I left the start at 9:26 and the race immediately started with a hill. I paced myself pretty well but as soon as I started going, the wind kicked up again and I could feel myself blowing all over the road. I saw my 30 second man about 15 seconds in front of me but then the wind got so bad that I couldn’t even hold onto the aerobars and dropped down to my bullhorns. It was a big mistake to change out my front wheel as I rode for at least 2-3 miles out of the aero bars. My head was getting to me and I felt like I was going so slowly, but as I made the turnaround and the tail wind was at my back, I started picking it up again. I was able to pass several riders so I wondered if I had limited the damage.
After the TT we went back to the apartment and I was able to check my results with an email that was sent to me. I placed 5th, but over 2 minutes down, I wasn’t exactly pleased but it wasn’t the worst either considering there were 25 starters. I was also somewhat consoled that part of my time loss was due to using the wrong equipment or my inability to handle the aerobars in the wind, but not necessarily my fitness. I chilled out for a while, hit up the hot tub, rested and then got ready for the crit at the airport.
The Tour Del Sol criterium is one of my favorite courses; long, open and wide with two 180 degree turns. We started at 5pm which was nice, it gave us plenty of recovery time. The crit went well, a lot of attacks but it seemed fairly easy to negotiate the course and cover the attacks. On the last lap Spence Debry had a great attack and stayed away for the win. I was conservative and just made sure I was in the pack, while Mike Underhill scored a 2nd place with a great lead out from Ira. After the crit, we all decided to go to dinner, this time we went to a great place called Benja Thai, which had great sushi and thai food. It was a blast getting together with the whole team and talking, what a great crew. After dinner, Angie and I went and grabbed our favorite desert from Nelson Custard. We went back to the apartment and hung out for a while, but I had to get to bed early because we had a really early start, with the weather in the 20′s at Gunlock resevoir.
I had to get up around 5:20 in the morning to be ready for the stage start at 8am. I knew it would be seriously cold so I wanted to get there and get warmed up adequately before the start. We left the apartment around 6:30 am and got to the reservoir where I unloaded my bike and trainer and started the warmup (after signing in). I looked on my computer and it said 28 degrees, chilly! All things considered, it wasn’t really that bad however I really wish they would start it an hour later so the sun would at least be up.
The race started at 8:05 and we got going at a pleasant pace. There was an attack right before the first hill but it was easily neutralized in a few minutes by the top. When we hit the Veyo Wall, I wasn’t in the best position and had to claw back some real estate on the climb, but was up towards the front by the top. The race continued on down through Veyo and Snow Canyon and then onto the parkway through Ivins. I had a pretty uncomfortable ride because I had to pee so badly, but what can you do. I was actually really looking forward to Utah hill so I would be in enough pain to not think about it. A few attacks went off the front from time to time, and although I didn’t realize it, Spence got away again. We got passed by the 3/4′s right before the start of Utah hill and they hit the gas pretty hard.
Our group just held a steady pace and I moved up to the front of the pack, right in front of Ira and right behind the two leaders of the race, Louis Amelburu and Mark Schaefer. They set a steady pace up the climb and I glued myself to their wheel. I didn’t look behind but I am sure riders started dropping off, because we started with 24 riders on the climb and by the top there were only about 8 of us left, and just Ira and I from team Infinite. The pace wasn’t too bad, there was a time or two where it felt a little difficult to follow but I would say for the most part, I rode well within myself. Ira attacked towards the top of the climb, it took me a minute to respond but we caught back on right before the top and the turnaround.
We bombed down the climb and passed more and more of the cat 3/4 group. On the final run in to Gunlock, we caught the lead group of the 3/4′s and in the sprint to the finish line, Ira got the jump on the whole group and sprinted past Mark and Louis for the win, while I came in 4th place on the stage and moved up into 4th place overall. It was great to see Ira win and I had a blast being up there with him, not to mention had a pretty good result for myself.
It took forever for them to get the podium going but finally around 12:30 we were all done with everything and ready to head back to the apartment. We got back and I was extremely hungry, but we got showered up and went out and stopped into Red Rock to pick up some shoes for Angie that were on closeout, then ended up getting a salad at Cafe Rio. We went back to the apartment and gorged out on some great food that tastes so good after a race like that, then fell asleep for a while. Later in the day the weather was amazing so I went out and soaked in the hot tub for a bit, then woke Angie up and asked her if she wanted to go drive around. We took a ride up Snow Canyon where I had never been before, it was a short drive but nice to see. Then we grabbed a burger from Smash Burger and went back and just hung out, it was great. The thing I enjoy the most about racing, is being done and having chill time with Angie.
The next morning Angie and I got up relatively early, packed up all of our gear and got out of there before 10am. We were back in Salt Lake around 2pm and I was able to get some work done and Angie left and went to work for a while. It was a great weekend to say the least, and I was happy to finish the course with the Utah hill climb since the year before I wasn’t able to because of a mechanical issue. The following week I just trained and took it easy, with the exception of last Saturday where i rode up both Little and Big Cottonwood canyons, which took about 4 hours. On Sunday I went on the Plan 7 ride and had a few minutes to talk to Dave Harward about my training and keeping me focused, he decided to add in a “Strava” chasing day to help me mix it up.
This past week i worked on my deck a bit, trying to take of the top so I could resurface it, which didn’t work out so well because of the stripped screws and rotting wood. I finally decided that I just need to pull the whole thing out and build a new one. Yesterday I did a monster ride of 101 miles and did a few Strava segments, I feel like its good training and fun to chase. Today I finished the last of a three week block with some good efforts on my TT bike, putting in 267 miles this week and ready for a recovery week. Next week I think I will race the Tax Day circuit race.