June 28, 2006
With most our U23 national Team in Spain doing a stage race, Brandon McKeever, Winston David, and I headed out for I.W.T. The race was 172k with rolling hills including the cobblestone climb the Muur. For lack of better words, it’s hard. After 110k we hit the local circuits with 4 laps of 15k. Each lap consists of 2 cobblestone sectors, both almost 2k long. The first sector leads right into a 700 meter climb immediately following the cobbles. After the climb, there was 4k until the next cobblestone section. After the last section of nearly 2k’s long, we hit the finishing straight with 700 meters to the line.
The race didn’t start off so hard, so the group was together most of the day. With just a small breakaway of 6 riders up the road, the peloton just kind of cruised. That was until we hit the Muur. Actually, all hell broke loose with about 4k before the climb. Everyone was fighting for wheels and if I didn’t know better it seemed we were about to hit the finish line. Anyways, I did know so I came to the Muur top 20 and made it over with the leaders. The group didn’t split up much, but it was the first time the race got hard so many riders were popped off at this point.
When we came to the circuits, there were a dozen or so riders in the breakaway now. On the first lap of the circuits, the cobblestone section came up on me fast than I thought, and I was caught up in the middle of the group. When we finally came off the cobbles onto the climb, I was another group rolling away of about 18 riders. Damn, I was already hurting trying to move up on the cobbles. I screwed up. Too far back. All I could do is hope to go across with another group. I followed some wheels on the next lap and got away with 15 other guys. On the final lap, I tried to get away several times, but couldn’t stay away. On the final section, I drove it hard, trying one last time to get away before the finish. After a moment of hard effort, the group was still on me. So coming off the section I sat up, making someone else lead it out. A couple guys jumped so I jumped hard to get on their wheel. I guess the length of the race was getting to the other guys because when I came around and looked back, there was no one. Maybe they just didn’t want to sprint. Either way, we didn’t catch the front group and I got in some really good training. Maybe on Sunday I can have a better race and get up there in the front group.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
1.12 Top Competition
June 24th, 2006
The team for this year’s edition of Omloop Het Volk was John Devine, Mike Wolf, Chris Stockburger, Brandon McKeever, Scott Jackson and I. The race was 172k long, with rolling hills all day. There was a 115k big loop with 2 X 28k circuits at the end. The race broke up early on with a group of 12 getting away about 25k in. We hit the Cappelestraat climb after about 60k. Devine and Wolf went across to the break with 18 other guys. Now there was a 30 man front group and we had two. In the Peloton, Chris and I were the only ones left. With 10k to go, the peloton of now about 50 caught the front group. There were 9 riders up the road, and the peloton now with Devine, Wolf and me. They were both hurting from a long day in the breakaway, so I did what I could in the 700 meter uphill to the finish. My legs were cramping pretty hard so it was all I could do for 13th in the field sprint. I was 22nd with Devine close behind in 33rd. Wolf rolled in just behind the peloton after pulling hard all day in the break as well as the final kilometers to the finish. It was a good race for the team so the motivation is good for the guys leaving for Spain on Monday. I’ll be staying in Belgium for two more races and then back to the US for nationals.