Sunday, August 1 - T-Minus-20-Hours to Departure to Nationals!
By Jim Langley
Teammates - Now that the hard training is over, the bikes and bags are packed and we're ready to head out tomorrow morning, I wanted to update you on our Bicycle Trip/Symantec-sponsored trip to Louisville, Kentucky for the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships. First, a huge thank your for selecting us to represent the team.
This year we are only racing in the road race (there's also a criterium and time trial). Mark is in the 50-54, which take place at 3:15 on Wednesday, August 4. My race, the 55-59 is at 5:30. Weather reports say it will be in the mid 90's with 50% humidity come race time with a chance of thundershowers. That'll be significantly hotter than last year's races and we might be praying for rain.
One good thing is that for several years now, we have been doing 6-minute almost-all-out hill repeats at UCSC every Wednesday starting at 4:30 - so we are used to going race pace at about that time on Wednesdays.
Our fields are again stacked with former USA Team members and champions from around the USA (click here to check the current registered riders). Mark's race has 65 riders signed up so far, with multi-time national champ Thurlow Rogers the likely fastest man. By now you've heard that Geoff Drake is unable to race with Mark due to an injury. But, there will be some other quality NorCal racers there, including Jan Elsbach and Hunter Zeising.
My race has about 50 riders registered so far, including last year's top 3, Wayne Stetina, Dave LeDuc and Tom Doughty, plus the NorCal champ who rode away from us at Districts last week, Rob Anderson (Specialized). My hope is to finish a little higher up the ladder. If I could make the top 10 against the guys in this race, I would be pretty excited.
The course in Louisville is in Cherokee Park, a lovely wooded expanse designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed NYC's Central Park. Cherokee Park has a golf course, meandering hiking paths, all kinds of flowers, bushes and trees, huge meadows and a very nice curvy, rolling road encircling it that's just perfect for our road races.
It's about a 5-mile loop. Mark's goup will do 10 laps. Mine does 9 this year. That's one lap more than last year for both of us. The course is relatively flat and fast. There are two climbs, but nothing steep. We'll probably spend the entire race on our big rings. Last year Mark's race was decided by an early breakaway with the field chasing hard all day but never quite bringing them back. My race was blown apart by Amgen/Giant teammates Wayne Stetina, Tom Doughty and Kent Bostick, who finally escaped taking Dave LeDuc with them.
Mark is very excited to get to race with the famous Thurlow Rogers. I can't wait to see how Rob Anderson handles the accelerations of Stetina and teammates - and whether or not it results in the group staying together longer. Mark and I have spent the entire year getting stronger and we're both coming in fitter than ever. Mark took second in the Districts road race last week and I rode a lot stronger in my Districts race than last year.
We're staying in a different hotel this year and hopefully will have more reliable internet access. If so, I'll try to provide short reports to keep you up to date. You can follow me at http://twitter.com/jimlangley and check back here. We will be back in town Thursday night, August 5. Thanks again for the support!
Jim & Mark