Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Topsport Stage Race Report (Elite 3)

In summary, my old (but not too old) Veloflex Carbon tubular tires were out to get me this otherwise excellent race weekend. Here's how it unfolded.

Stage 1 - Little John Circuit Race a.k.a the conspiring front tire: ~90 minutes on a 6-mile circuit. Excellent pavement, crazy roller-coaster like 6-turn section through town square, and a fast out and back on rolling Little John Rd. Very safe race, as the turns were right after the finish and were more fun than an actual factor in the race.

Nothing too much to say, except I put in a few moves, fought pretty hard position-wise for an intermediate time bonus, somehow developed a slow leak in my front tire, and saw exactly when Paul Dyrwal from MS/Spec planned to separate the field. He took 10 other guys with him. It's not fun trying to motor with 20psi in your front tire, and it certainly makes the corners interesting... nonetheless, I worked hard to minimize the damage and somehow ended up 13th with my crazy low-pressure front tire.

Stage 2 - Little Rock ITT a.k.a. our cat 3 field has some sandbaggers: ~11 miles on pretty rough pavement, rolling hills, the narrowest turnaround ever (coming off a FAST downhill!) and a steadily-increasing afternoon wind. I warmed up, definitely felt the morning's efforts, got to the line, and hoped my legs would treat me well.

Not much to say, except my 25:25 time put me in 3rd in the TT, and 3rd in the GC. It was a brutal course, and it was mentally tough to focus with the rollers and wind and not ever catching my minute man (Johnathan Teeter, who, it turns out, won San Dimas and was the only racer to break 24 minutes in the whole race). The cat 3 1st and 2nd times would have also been 1st and 2nd in the p/1/2 field.

Stage 2.5 - Epic dinner calorie consumption race: Bob Montague, our teammate and owner of Cafe Sparrow in Aptos, cooked us up a mighty fine dinner fit for kings. Did I mention we stayed in Rob's mom's sweet vacation pad for the weekend? In this case, two pictures are worth two thousand words:

Stage 3 - Pavement of a thousand deaths RR: I gotta say, It was a pretty novel experience to hear people talking about me and eyeing my GC spot. Perhaps it was a premonition, but I felt like there was so much to lose today, and that I should race as defensively as possible... but I didn't even get a chance to. My rear tire punctured in the first 30 minutes, and I had no wheels in the follow car (race organizers: it's nice to know about follow cars before you're staging!). I must admit that violently tearing off the offending tubulars was quite therapeutic.

Lessons learned: Always have a wheel in the follow car. Maybe get a set of burly tires for races that question the definition of 'pavement'. Never forget that each race tempts fate.


Jim Langley said...

Bummer about the tire trouble, Nils, but great first 2 stages. To be 3rd is such fast company is awesome.

Dennis the Mennis said...

Wow, what swank accommodations and grub! Race, oh yeah, that was cool too! Bummer about the tires though... you were certainly one of the strongest riders there.