Tuesday, September 7, 2010

That’s All She Wrote: A GMSR Story

Four days of racing, one hundred and forty-four miles ridden, seven hours ten minutes and fifty-nine seconds of my life over with and GMSR has been completed!

Going into GMSR I really wanted to do well and incorporate everything I have learned throughout the year. In my mind I did just that. As we all know GMSR is no joke and for being a first year racer, finishing 30th in a strong 4/5 field I think was a pretty good showing. I was in the top 20, in the standings, until about half way between Middlebury Gap and Bristol Notch (stage 3), that is when the legs just couldn’t take it anymore. Well they took it, but they sure didn’t like it.

*The feeling my legs had after Stage 3 (Illustration by Jeff Mallett from "Roadie"*

My plan for the race was to go into it as a GC contender and race appropriately. The sprinters and KOM jersey sounded nice as well, but I wanted to see how things were playing out and those really depend on perfect positioning during a race with little error to pick up points.

Day 1 ITT:

I really didn’t know how I was going to do, seeing it was an “up-hill” TT, never done one before. All I knew was that once I hit the flat section of the course I was going to drop the hammer. It could have started off better, I flatted 15 min from my start during my warm-up ride. I begged the neutral SRAM crew for a zipp 404 rear wheel, but they were having none of it and only changed my tube. Probably the only mistake I made was on the finally climb out of the “dip” I was in too big of gear and probably lost about 10-15 seconds. After sprinting across the finish line, I had to take a small journey back to my car, because the course could not be ridden backwards..I must have ridden a million miles back!

So after I packed up my gear it was time to try to find something to eat. Turns out that if you don’t really know VT all that well, you’ll have a hard time finding places to eat. You kind of have to know the local eateries to find something good, my mistake for looking for a chain restaurant. Finally I found an Applebee’s, weirdest feeling ever eating alone at a family restaurant! Then it was off to check into the hotel. Apparently there are two Marriott’s in Williston and I just happened to go to the wrong one.

Day 2 Circuit Race:

Rolling out at 8:45am only meant one thing. Waking up early, 5am to be exact. I threw down three bagels, a banana, and two cups of coffee before we hit the road. Having warmed up for about 30-45 min I was ready to roll out. The 1st lap went well and I stayed with the main pack. At the beginning of the 2nd lap, it was the 1st KOM, so the pace picked up and I got left behind a little bit from the better climbers. Two other riders and myself pulled the lead group back. Once back on good position I found out there was a solo breakaway, which some riders were freaking out about, but I told them “look, it’s windy and we have plenty of time,” I think they were sprinters. Staying with the field again I knew if I could survive the last KOM I would be all right. So I worked hard on the KOM and stayed with the lead group for the last 3/4 of a lap. I think nerves picked up a bit for there were a lot of close calls. I myself hit the chain stay of the rider in front of me because of the yo-yo affect and people taking chances moving about the pack. There was a crash and I tried to find out from the riders next to me if it was the yellow jersey, little did i know one of them was wearing it. I seriously was going to go pro and tell everyone to sit up. With two miles to go, I moved to the front of the group to be in position for the sprint, but was soon left in the front due to riders pulling off. With a strong head wind this is not where I wanted to be so I slowed the pack down to 18mph and no one went around, until one guy did, whose wheel I caught, but then he soon too died off. Eventually a train flew by me and all I could really do was stay in contact and lose no time, which I did. Turns out that during our bunch sprint, the field got so spread out that riders went across the road and ran into a parked car.

I guess the only real humor from this race was during the second time around to the feed zone. I had an empty water bottle and as we all know those are unnecessary grams to be carrying around. So I decided to get rid of it. The thing that Tim didn’t know was Jeff was bad a physics. I threw my bottle and its momentum carried it right into Tim’s stomach. SOOOORRRRRYYYYY Tim!

Day 3 Road Race:

Middelbury Gap, Bristol Notch, Baby Gap, App Gap. Enough said. This was an extremely hard race, with a lot of climbing. I did well on Middlebury Gap, but still was left behind by the better climbers. I was caught in no mans land, but eventually was caught by two strong riders, one of which I chased back on with the day before, and then picked up two more by the end of the decent. Eventually we caught back on to the lead group and I was there for a little while, but soon fell off the back. The pace increased, due to the KOM climb I think, and I was at the merci of the wind. I keep chugging along catching riders one at a time and eventually there was no one in front or behind me. I eventually made it to Baby Gap were I had to stop for a moment and check my tires to see if one of them had gone flat, nope I was just going up at 8-10mph. At the feed zone there I picked up a Pepsi, without stopping. Some Riders had pulled off and were resting there before the big climb. After conquering Baby Gap and re-energized by my few sips of Pepsi, it was time to kick App Gap’s butt. I shifted back and forth from 39/26 to 39/23 and eventually made my way up passing quite a few riders. However the climb was not epic because of the length or toughness of the climb it was epic because of these guys….

*Ashton, Bruce, and Mark in their appropriate supporting attire (Tim took the pic)*

*Bruce, Ashton, and Mark disregarding oncoming traffic to give me a Tour de France feeling*

Day 4 Crit:

The Crit for the GMSR was quite interesting for it ran threw the streets of Downtown Burlington and actually was on Church St. for a little while. I really wanted to do well in this race and finish my season on a high note. I knew I needed to be near the front during the start and would have to pick some good wheels and stay near the front at all times. Unfortunately I did not get the good wheels part right. I found out after the race I got stuck behind an inexperienced rider, who was not comfortable in the corners. This caused me to move towards the back of the pack. Once around him, I tried hard to move up, but the legs soon gave way. I was off the back and pulled with 10 laps to go. Fortunately I did make it pass the ½ way mark so I was given a result and GC time. I finished watching the race from the side lines and talked to some Team Placid Planet members, who I Thank for cheering me on all weekend when they could.

Link to all Stage results!!!!!

So now my season is done and it is time to get some much needed rest. Perhaps buy a Mtn. Bike and do some recreational ridding. But I have to enjoy it now, for there are only a few more month before the 2011 season begins…..see you there!!!!!!!

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