Stage 1 Cascade Lakes RR
This is a 70 mile race that starts with a mild climb for about 6-7 minutes, a long descent and some rollers before the final 4 mile climb up to the Mt, Bachelor ski resort. You could definitely feel the elevation in the lungs as we climbed up to 6300′ at the top. On the first descent, John got to the front for safety, and wouldn’t you know but the combination of the extra weight he gained from constant boating the 2 weeks prior and the super slippery Trek Madone he immediately puts daylight between him and the pack. 2 others had slipped off the front, and before John knew what he was getting into he found himself in the winning break of 6 or so riders. Unfortunately for John there was still another 2 1/2 hours of racing before the final climb. The solo winner of the stage, Ariel Herrmann from Thirsty Bear, stayed away as we caught the rest of the break, and John promptly paid for his efforts during the day and went straight to the back of the field. Brian, Tyler and I made it to the base of the climb, and when it all shook out, I ended up being the team GC leader in 13th place with Tyler and Brian close behind. Steve and Jim both had wheel issues at the base of the climb, but Jim raced like a monster and ended up just behind me at the finish.
Stage 2 Skyliners TT
This course was straight up a hill, and right back down. John was able to finish his TT before I started, and his advice was to go as hard as I could up the hill, because recovery was available on the way down. It turned out to be solid advice, and a crit monkey like me put down a solid time for 12th on the stage, and moved me to 11th on GC.
Stage 3 Downtown Criterium
Most of our team are strong Crit Riders, and we were confident we could get a podium at this course. Downtown Crits are always fun and with Bend being the Brewery Capital of the Western States this was no exception. No breaks were getting away, but with 9 to go I flatted on a pothole. Running to the pit to make sure I got in before the lap cut at 6 to go, I got a wheel and had to start from the back. With 75 guys in the field and it being strung out I had some work in front of me. Luckily my teammates saw me flat and positioned themselves to pull me back. Brian got me halfway back with 5 to go, and John pulled me to 5th wheel with 3 to go. After that I gave everything I had to keep position as guys kept wanting to swarm. I was pretty spent, but was able to keep position well enough to get 5th on the stage overall, and 2nd in the 35+ podium! John and Tyler finished at 6th and 7th. Not too shabby! The result put me into 10th on GC. The winner of our raced missed the podium, as his teammate took a $200 prime. He was probably well into putting the money back into the local economy at one of the breweries.
Stage 4 Awbrey Butte Circuit Race
This stage is the hardest. Short punchy climbs, 3 days of racing in the legs, and 67 miles of up or down takes it’s toll. The first lap was the hardest, as guys were anxious to not be the first ones dropped. John, Brian and Steve had no problem with that though, as their GC hopes had gone by the wayside. Not to mention that the celebrating the night before, and passing the cooler in the car every lap left a lot of motivation to be desired. Tyler and I tried to race as smart as we could, always placing ourselves towards the front of every 2-3 minute climb, and encouraging each other to keep hanging in. Jim on the other hand, wanted no part of conservation and jumped to start the winning break of the day on lap 2. I have to say that Jim definitely would’ve been a top 5 GC contender, but had the worst luck with several technical difficulties over the weekend. Jim rode like a beast for the next 2 hours, and finished on the podium with 2nd place on the stage! Tyler and I did our best, but lost about 45 seconds to the winner of the stage, and it was enough time lost to drop me into 11th overall.
All in all, it was a good time with great teammates. Thanks to Folsom Bike, Trek, Raley’s for all the support, coach Matt Chatlaong (Data Driven Athlete), and Deschutes for all the carbs! Looking forward to next year! Thanks for reading.