There is a significant lack of pictures popping up on facebook so this post is going to be significantly lacking in pictures making it unsurprisingly uninteresting. I guess that is road racing though. I went into the race without much expectations and mostly because I was volunteering and snagged a free entry. When it was raining in the morning my motivation didn't exactly increase. Arriving on site the rain continued to fall...awesome. I rolled out with thoughts of relaxing and seeing how the race played out. If significant rain began I was sure to walk away with a DNF because I was feeling extra soft as the race began. Of course once the race starts there's no chance I'm actually stpping. The rain went away after a lap and was never too bad and I'm glad I stuck in there. Fortunately it has a nice easy start straight up the biggest climb on the course. Perfect. The field got lucky when one rider ran directly into the lead car and we all waited for him to gather his thoughts and check his equipment extending the neutral start before the race went live and attacks began in earnest. I'm still not sure what happened to that guy or how he manage to run directly into the car. Weird.
*All my pictures from the weekend can be found in a slideshow at the bottom of the post.
**Blog was updated "live" throughout the weekend so it is in reverse order if you're trying to read whole thing
Phew, what a weekend! A little slow on the final update but I’m going to chalk it up to letting it all sink it and not laziness. After the Short Track on Thursday I went into Saturday’s XC race with confidence and dreams of pulling on another stars and stripes jersey. I knew the race would be more competitive than the short track with a larger field, due in part to XC really being THE event and further helped by it's Saturday race time. The course was split into two sections, a relatively simple climb to the top with a steep double track kicker to a feed zone and the beginning of a descent back to the start finish. The descent had plenty of short climbs and flat sections all filled to the max with rocks that you had to pick your way through. It was a great course but you definitely had to keep your head up and and focused on the trail ahead. I knew most of my close competitors minus a couple dark horses but was most worried about Charlie Snyder from Richmond. He was ranked low but the course was perfect for him and his full-suspension 29er was the perfect bike for this course. I knew I beat him at the Tour de Burg, but he rode incredibly strong and actually spent the two weeks post Tour to recover. He was dangerous for sure.
Word on the street was that some guys went to the "Club" last night. I'm not sure where they got the energy, I took my full stomach back home, replaced my derailleur hanger and got my rear derailleur shifting as well as we could with the broken cage and headed to bed. My parents decided to come up for the final stage to check out what all the fuss was about. It's always good to have them around and Dad can't help but investigate a cool cycling event. Turns out I was extra happy to have them. Today we headed North to Camp Roosevelt in the George Washington National Forest near Luray, Va. It was supped to be a long day of ridge riding and you could tell people were definitely getting tired. The rowdy shouts and hi fives were at an all time low as the day began with a PP down the road to our first timed section. The jersey was feeling a little extra heavy even with a lot of time to bleed. A somewhat functioning rear derailleur is not ideal and this was a day made for Bryan Fawley with lots of rollers and rocks and no long extended climbs. Here we go, one more day of survival (and fun) at le Tour de Burg.
The legs definitely felt heavy as the rollout from Court Square began on Stage 4 but spirits remained high within the group. Almost immediately after leaving I had some fresh legs coming up and talk smack, the Men's Leader jersey definitely comes with some weight. The first KOM of the day over Mole Hill came only 30 minutes into the ride. Seriously harsh. I'm not warmed up before an hour ever, especially with all the junk in my legs. Mr. Fresh Legs Smack attacked and took the points and threw them in the air where they vanished before Dan and I came over for 2nd and 3rd with Charlie Snyder and a single speeder grabbed the final points. We continued our PP for another half hour before the sprint line was set up. Sitting on Fawley's wheel the whole way I rode past him and his lead out man to take the win only to hear him complain about it for the next 20 minutes. Following me was Reuben (Fresh Legs Smack), then Bryan Fawley, Dan Atkins, and Charlie Snyder rounding out the points. More PP would finally lead us to the first race section 90 minutes into the day. The race section was simple, up up up followed by a quick super D down and a gravel road smash to the finish line filled with food, soda, and beer.
I definitely woke up with some heavy and sore legs this morning, sort of like I rode 8 hours yesterday or something. After a good breakfast and some walking around they felt better. Today is the only road day of the Tour and with a small GC lead I was hoping to create a bigger gap. Some fresh legs showed up and with some big hills on the horizon, it was going to be a big day. Carp showed up in his 4th of July best and we began the PP rollout from Court Square surrounded by runners wrapping up their 4th of July race and yells of freedom and 'merica ringing all around. It was a good day. A crosswind/tailwind split the group leading to the 1st sprint of the day being voided. Apparently no one wanted to let me or the sprint jersey wearer know there was a sprint ahead. Fortunately we got another shot and I was able to snag the 1st sprint of the day with Mike Tabasco, Bryan Fawley, Colin Vento, and Charlie Snyder grabbing the rest of the points. From there a short PP section led to the 1st timed section over some steep rollers and then 3 main climbs to a hilltop finish where delicious food and soda was waiting. I got the party started with a "fake" attack right from the gun, all out for about 60 seconds and then I planned on sitting in. It was mostly for fun and to keep everyone on edge, I mean what is going on when the leader attacks 5 seconds in to the 1st section. With a big smile on my face I sat back up as fresh legs made their moves. Just before we caught Danny Fresh Legs KOM leader Dan Wolfe attacked and bridged up and their gap widened. Those first rolling hills hurt before a group of 15 or so got together and rolled our way across our first gravel section and then settled in to a well oiled paceline. Up the bottom section of Confederate Breastworks (1st climb) we were flying at 20+ mph. That group was awesome! Thanks for all the help in keeping me close to a big threat up the road! The climb got steep and the group quickly shrunk but all those that rolled over the top were treated to one heck of a view and an amazing descent. It was such a good climb, thanks Carp!! The rest of the group made quick work of the next climb and then as we hit the 3rd and final climb where Nick "fresh legs" Waite attacked as we relaxed just before the road pointed up. He was gone quicker than I could do anything. I charged that last climb and managed to catch Danny but not Dan as Nick took the stage. It was just a great ride. The last climb was super hard but so good. This event just keeps getting better!!
Stage 3 - Segment 1
Nick Waite: No Chip Land
Dan Wolfe: 2:02:10
Bryan Lewis: +:20
Mike Tabasco: +1:24
Alex Kurland: +2:06
Up and at em for another day of racing! I had a big waffle breakfast with my Sister to get the day started off right and rolled over to Court Square at 9:30 for a trip up Massanutten way. This would be the first day with sprint points up for grabs as well as one KOM and Super D section. It set up to be a beautiful warm day, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. After ripping on the Highball yesterday I pulled out my old favorite, the 26" Santa Cruz Blur XCc with Maxxis Ardents, gotta stay comfortable and in one piece for the long hall.
In other news it looks like Nick Waite was not in for the full pull and now I'm riding with the weight of the Men's Leader's jersey. I loved the women's cut and all the extra room to breathe but I'm not sure how I feel as a marked man after day one. There is a long way to go and yesterday was the "easy" day. We rolled out at a mountain biker 9:30 as one big old group on the roads out of Harrisonburg. My leaking camelback was doing a great job keeping me cool and ready to go.
A quick pee break and regroup and the first sprint point of the tour commenced. Dan Wolfe attacked and split the group up with 5 up the road. I ended up 2nd with Bryan Fawley getting me at the end even with my best attempts to let him take his mountain bike where it belonged right off the road. Charlie Snyder, YT5000(??), and Dan took the remaining points
With the ~4 mile ITT up and around timble trail in the George Washington National Forest the 2014 Tour de Burg has begun! I came in with little to no expectations or true understanding of what I had gotten myself into. I'm still unsure of the gnarly riding that awaits but if day one is any indication no matter how hard it get's it'll be a blast.
There is a certain excitement with any race day. I rolled in jamming to one of my Spotify playlists and got the wonderful opportunity to roll up with Taylor Swift's "22" jamming from my speakers. Peeeeerrrffffect. The camp had some excitement as we began our Party Pace (PP) rollout to the start of the Prologue ITT right near Todd Lake. We got our chip timing (what?!?! there is chip timing at this thing, it keeps getting more serious). Got the deets on the stage from Jeff Cheng, an awesome guy from East Coasters back in Roanoke, 2 miles up and a ripping descent back down. Sounded easy enough.
There is a lot to be said for being prepared, non of which I can say from experience. Making a possibly rash decision to buckle up for the 5 day Tour de Burg about a week ago I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. That being said with my broken hand and Nationals a short 2.5 weeks away I figured this would be the perfect crash course to get myself back on the mountain bike. Of course what I didn't consider was that my bike needed some serious TLC to be ready for any sort of serious riding. Finally deciding I better get to it I began giving the Blur the loving care it desired...this morning. What I thought would be a quick swap on some tires, new cables, and some minor other tweaks became a day long project. Thankfully I had some buddies to help sort the issues out, thanks Jeff Cheng and Steven Cook! I finally managed to pull the Blur and the Trek Road Bike (there is one road stage) together by 8:30, grab some dinner, and head back to Charlottesville. Unloading the myriad of junk in my car from a 24 hour trip home I should start prepping for tomorrow's prologue at 2:00. Instead I figure I'd reach real deep down to the mountain biker in me and call it good until tomorrow. I mean the prologue isn't until 2! Do I still need to pack clothes, figure out nutrition, finalize my bike setup ("You do realize your right break lever is pointed down a lot and your left is much higher right?", "Like I said, not polished yet"), pack the car, and double check that I actually have at least half the stuff I need for six days? Yes, and will it take way longer than it should, well I'd say that is probably a yes as well. Instead I'm updating this guy and hoping you all can laugh along as I roll through what should be a great week of, well of I have no idea what other than fun, over in Harrisonburg. I'm excited for what is in store and will be attempting to update this with, at minimum pictures, nightly. Until then, I'm going to catch some sleep and assume I can get it all together in an hour or two tomorrow, because really, being prepared takes way too much effort.