Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Steamboat Stage Race - Race Report

First, I would like to thank all of you that were giving me words of encouragement over the last week for this race. It meant a lot and I really appreciate it.

I used to live in Steamboat, so this was a special race for me. I have never done a stage race before, so I was a bit nervous going into this. I didn't know how I would hold up over the 4 days of racing. I have been feeling pretty good lately, so I had set some high expectations for myself which added to my nervousness.

My Goals:
1) Put as much time into the skinny guys in the TT as I could.
2) Don't get dropped

The opening prologue was a fairly short rolling 10k that did an out and back along the Yampa river and then finished with a short climb up Mt. Werner Circle. I was fairly confident going into this one as I can usually do well in a TT. I went as hard as I could and ended up 6th overall (22 seconds down). Not a bad way to start the weekend.

Marabou Circuit Race-
Marabou Ranch is a private community and is not open to the public except for this race and one of the town challenge mountain bike races. I had never been there before and there was no elevation profile posted, so I had no idea what to expect. I knew there was a climb, but I had no idea how steep or long it was. I was able to park pretty close to the course and I was watching other racers laboring up the hill to the start/finish. I don't pretend to be a climber, so at the last minute ditched the 11-25 for the 11-28 I bought for the Centurion. Good call there as I would later find out. On tap was 6 and a half laps of a 4.5 mile loop. The first lap was fairly mellow while the group scouted the course. With each lap, the pace seemed to increase a bit. The first few laps hurt and I found myself really having to dig to stay in contact over the climb and then descend like a banshee to catch back on again. The descent was really fun. The roads were perfect and you could really hang it out if you wanted to. The last few laps felt a bit better and I was still in the front on the final lap. On the final climb, all hell broke loose though and I lost a few seconds. 14th on the day and I dropped from 6th to 9th on the G.C. Still pretty happy that I was able to hang with the leaders though.

Here is a short video from the local paper. You can get a bit of a feel for the course.

Road Race-
When I used to live here, I did have a road bike, but it got limited use due to the world class Mountain Biking Steamboat has. My knowledge of the Road course was pretty limited, so I didn't really know what I was in for. Ignorance is bliss as they say. On race morning, I felt okay. A little stiff from the circuit race, but not too bad. The weather report said it was going to be windy, but I had no idea what was in store. It is never windy in Steamboat, so I didn't pay much heed. My race time was at 12:20 and as the morning progressed it was starting to get "Boulder Windy". At the start, the wind was blowing really hard. It was going to be a long day. A big thanks to Eric Scroger for wishing me luck at the start! The pace started out like all cat 4 road races. Pretty manageable for the first half of the race. The biggest issue was the wind. Guys that were rolling the deep dish wheels were all over the road. There was no where to hide either. You would get in a good spot and then the road would turn and you would be taking the brunt of it. It seemed like we had been riding a long time already when I looked at my computer an we had only done 15 miles. uh oh. Finally, we approached the turnaround/feedzone area and it was chaos with everyone trying to get more water. One guy in the pack asked if negative humidity was possible. The moisture was literally being sucked from us! As I fumbled around trying to get a bottle in my jersey pocket, the pack was not slowing down. I had to bury myself to try and catch back on and then there was a big acceleration climbing out of there (see profile below) that spit me out. I had a bit of company though and 4 of us worked together all the way back in. We kept picking off guys that were getting spit out along the way, so we were going at a good pace. Still, 4 can't keep pace with the main group in that wind. I was just happy I had some guys to work with. The last 2 climbs were brutal. I just wanted to be done. I ended up losing 11 minutes and change. My G.C. hopes were done.

Downtown Criterium-
My start time was at 8 am on Monday and the temps were supposed to be near freezing. When I woke up, it was in the low 40s but still a bit breezy. No problem though. Downtown, you are sheltered from the wind and I like it when it is cool. A little embrocation and I was good to go. The group was a bit smaller today. Either some guys decided to get a jump on traffic or the buzzards got them in the Road Race. The Crit was really fun. There was a bit of a power climb up 4th Street and then a long decent all the way down Pine. For the whole race, I felt pretty comfortable at the front. It was going to be about position at the end. On the last lap, I thought I was in a good spot coming into the last corner. However, someone cut the corner in front of me and I had to hit the brakes or be taken out. It was now a drag race all the way up Oak street. I passed quite a few guys, but the gap that opened coming around the corner was too much to make up. I ended up 9th on the day and 20th on G.C.

Here is another video with some crit footage.

Overall, it was a great event and I would for sure do it again. Hopefully, next year we can get the crew up there for a strong BSV showing.

1 comment:

Eric Scroger said...

Nice report and overall GC. Sounds like you recovered well on the final day and did great in the crit. I would be down for this race next year.