Monday, June 30, 2008

K is for Kampground

Before I blog about the stage race this weekend, I must extol the virtues of the KOA in Pocatello, Idaho. Not only did we have a quiet campsite, complete with large shade trees, picnic table and water, but we also had: free wifi, power at the site, laundry, showers, a basketball court, convenience store and we were walking distance to the community pool. All this for the lofty price of $25/night. Holiday Inn was $80/night without wifi. And no basketball court. Enough said.

The Gate City Grind is a stage race in Pocatello. First day is a road race and time trial, second day is a criterium. My road race started around 10am. When I noticed the temperature was 90° during the warm up I thought I might be in trouble. Luckily it never exceeded 95° that day. My race was just 2 laps around a 20 mile circuit. Lots of steep rollers, so the short distance is fooling. Everything stayed together and easy the first lap, but I knew things would start to heat up at the first set of rollers. And they did. Immediately five guys attacked and I went with them. This was wittled to three, and by the top of the roller it was me and one other person. We maintained a good pace, not really attacking, until we realized no one was accelerating to catch us. After a few seconds of doubt, we decided to just drill it for a while and see what happened. About a quarter of the way through the lap we had about 30 seconds on the group and decided we should try to stay away. Tony and I worked really well, taking short pulls all the way to 1km to go. We pulled along side each other and decided we should try to get as much time on the group as possible, and so we sprinted for the line. Luckily, I had more left than Tony did, and won the sprint.

Feeling very, very spent...and hot...Aly and I headed back to the shade and breeze of camp. Aly worked on her sheep project, I converted the bike for the time trial, ate some food and then we were off. The start of the TT was something to behold. We calculated, conservatively, $10 million in bikes. Million...with an M. The Boise Youth Team was there. These are kids 10-14 years old. Each one has a road bike, a carbon fiber TT bike, skin suit, aero helmet, aero and disk wheels. I felt low rent on my road bike with aero bars. I expected someone to come up to me and ask if I knew this was a time trial. I soldiered on and set up the trainer in the only patch of shade for 100 miles. Behind my car with the trunk open. I started at 7pm so the heat had subsided to around 90°, which was great. 10km is short and I left a bit on the road, but I ended up getting 2nd place, 5 seconds back, so I couldn't complain. I had also gained about 15 seconds on Tony who was still in second.

Sunday was an early start as my criterium started at 8am. This day was truly cool, with a balmy 70° at the start. Having zero crit experience and being in the GC lead I decided I would just mark Tony and not let him get away as he was the only person capable of beating me overall. Twenty meters from the start Tony attacked, I went with him and then, half a lap later he sat up for the group. Being scared of riding with the group, I decided to drill it and see what happened. What happened was I led from start to finish with a 10 second gap. Perhaps not the best strategy, but good style nonetheless. And I didn't have to ride in the group.

So with all my winnings packed in the car, oh wait, I didn't win anything. Not a water bottle. Not a pair of socks. Not even a tube of sunscreen. It's ok, I'm not bitter. So Aly and I enjoyed a nice drive home after a great weekend. And now it's raining.

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