Monday, April 21, 2008

The Springs

the crew of killaz gettin' tha game face on.

We had a great big crew head down to the springs this weekend. The racing was intense, and a good tune-up for the gila. Best of all, we had one of the worlds best photographers and soigneurs, Marty Caivano, along for the ride. She's the one responsible for all the great photo's you see here, post race massage, and general good time.

Saturday AM saw some of us wake up and go through the agony that is a hilly Time Trial. After a night of not sleeping and hacking up a lung from being sick all week, I was not in a happy place as I wriggled into my skinsuit. However, the bright sunshine and some punk rock brought me out of the coma. the race was about 12 miles, and the start took me over a few steep hills. Nothing like laboring the TT bike at 10 miles an hour, getting passed by my minute-man, my 2-minute-man, my 3-minute-man, etc. The uphill effort was rewarded with a sweet, long downhill... topping out at 45mph. nice. I took it easy across the flat section, and then took it easier on the uphill finish, rocking out a 37minute time. I think Jeremy went 31 minutes, and my 9-minute-man just nipped me at the line. No worries, though, as we cooled down by riding back to the car and got to focusing on the real fun of the weekend...

...the downtown crit. We rolled onto the course and checked out the scene; a pretty straightforward course with a fast downhill sweeper, a steep uphill, and a couple of long straights separated by a 180 degree u-turn.

First up was the 4/5 crit, with a suprise showing by Steve Capstick and Dave 'Killa' Kilmoyer. Also in the mix was Mike Dancel and Ryan Lewandowski. Of note, Dancel whipped up on the youngsters earlier in the AM during the collegiate races.

Mike bringin' the heat

Steve "these are limited-edition Oakley's, so you betta recognize" Capstick

Overall, the 4/5's looked mean out on the course as Jeremy, Stuart, Jose, Kevin, Isaac, and myself warmed up. Once their race cleared out, we headed to the start line... it's business time, and we were all wearing our business socks. We clip in, light the fires and burn the tires. Stuart is rockin his first crit, and is up front checking out the lay of the land.

Stuart Love in Blue Sky, head to toe.

The pace picks up quickly, and I put my head down to stay in contention. I try to stay near the front to keep Jeremy, Kevin, and Isaac out of the wind, but I quickly realize that the "3/4" category is cat 3 with cat 4's getting spit out the back.

Rob and Jeremy showing the peloton how to grow sideburns.

My head is down as I blaze up the sides of the pack on the downhills and into the headwind, trying to maintain contact.

Kevin surveys his fiefdom.

Rob getting drawn-and-quartered by Kevin and his tyrannical regime

Eventually, I see the 5 laps to go sign, and the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the light is coming from a freight-train bearing down on me, carrying a full load of lactic acid waiting to drown me. I lose contact on the headwind section and take a deep breath as I sprint for all I am worth to regroup. I make it to the field on the downhill, only to explode on the climb. I look up on the finishing stretch with 2 to go and see the race leaving me. I keep my head down and am relegated by the fact that without any saps in my way on the corners I can finally test out my new wheels.

Hammer is down, even if i have already been hammered.

So, I roll across the finish line without any fanfare or hoopla, but I am spent and it feels good. The crew is hanging out and it turns out Kevin rocked 3rd, Jeremy 5th, and Isaac hunted the pack on the last few laps like a wolf in the hen-house, so all is well.

Back to the hotel for showers, then it's off to Dancel's pad for some BBQ and beers. The feast was totally worthy... complete with chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.

We sleep like the dead Saturday night, and warm up like zombies on our trainers in hurricane force winds on Sunday AM. The race starts neutral down a long hill and past a gnarly crash in the pro-field. Stuart, Kevin, Isaac, Lee, Jeremy, Kyle and I sit near the front for the first half a lap until the climb. Stuart pulls the ripcord. I follow suit. I ride 30 miles on my own in the wind, savoring my enervit and gatorade. On the final lap I wait for Stuart to catch back up and we put in a hard effort on the final climbs. We punk a couple of fools coming into the finish hill, and Stuart lays down a sick lead-out for DFL. I come around him and we sprint it out, even though Jeremy is back at the car fully changed and waiting to go get mexican food for lunch. Thankfully someone stuck around to watch us--Marty and Jose are on hand for moral support.

All in all, a good weekend of getting humbled by the competition. Gotta keep it together for a few more weeks, get healthy, and turn it on for the gila.

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