Saturday, September 1, 2007

9/1/07 Santa Fe Trail Stage Race (Stage 2) - Horacio

Stage 2- 75mile RR report:

Today was fun. The course seemed pretty flat, some wind but not bad. Jose and I stayed in the front half of the pack for the first half of the race. At the dam (mile 40 or so) where I anticipated an attack on a short climb I moved into the top 5. At the climb, I put in a surge and was second at the top. The feedzone, which I pretty much avoided, on the climb was kind of a cluster (riders not volunteers) so I was glad I brought 4 bottles with me .

After that, I was top 3 -5 spots until the last mile. Being up front was great. I only did some token pulls and covered every surge. It felt easy. There were occasional attacks which were more like surges and lulls throughout the day. The whole time I was hoping Jose would make his way to me but I didn't see him until the end of the race. It turns out Jose had lost his car key on the dam while going for an energy bar. He had to turn around and then do a solo TT for several miles to get back into the pack. Fortunately, he made it back on.

At 1 and 1/2 miles to go, I started to cramp- Nothing terrible but enough for me to worry that I could lose my placing. I backed off a little and fell to mid pack. The finish consisted of a right turn which strung out the field followed by a 1/2 mile straight away and then a left turn and about a 350 meter sprint on a fully open road to the finish. Unfortunately, the field began to bunch up in the middle (over the yellow line-no paint) after the first turn causing the moto ref to force riders to the right. This caused an hourglass affect and a split. I was at the front of the split but the whole second half of the main pack had to sprint to the lead pack to avoid a time gap. Just as we caught, the left turn hit. The front pack poured on a a very fast final sprint (a lot of fresh strong guys). So we had to sprint again like crazy to close the gap which we just managed to do.

I came in 9th and held 4th in the GC. Jose finshed 16th but we all had the same time. Jose actually moved into 7th in the GC (somebody must have been dropped). In retrospect, I probably would have been ok if I pushed harder with the mild cramping and stayed up front. It was a fun race and a big confidence builder for me. We averaged about 24 mph which was surprising since there seemed to be a lot of easy lulls. Fast course. The highlight of the day for me was watching a pack of wild mustangs sprinting next to us as we raced along the green countryside- So cool. Jose also caught this sight. Two down, one to go.

- Horacio

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