The Iron Horse is over, and it went better than I could have ever expected.
The road race on Saturday went alright, but I am not climbing as well as I was only a few weeks ago. I think it's time to shed a few pounds before I expect to hang with anyone important. The race started really slow with a break going away right from the gun. By the bottom of the first real pass, they had 6 minutes on the field, but I started moving in the opposite direction once the road kicked up. I managed to hold what I felt was a decent pace, and picked off a few people on the decent, lost a spot or two on the next climb, then caught about 5 guys on the last decent and 2 on the finish through town. I felt powerful the whole time, just a little slow.
The crit on Sunday was an absolutely perfect course for me, and I thought the early break would be the place to be. Every other race that I watched throughout the day ended with the winner coming out of an early break, so I thought I'd get into it in our race. A break went away with a couple Rocky Mountain Chocolate riders, Eric Ransom (Tamarack), Troy Wells (TIAA-CREF) and Jonathan Baker (Vitamin Cottage). I figured it was the move to go with, so I jumped in front of Steamworks Brewery and made it to the break in 1 lap. I had just enough time to settle in and recover a bit before the break got caught. I started feeling not so fresh, and the way it looked, there was a little too much momentum in the peloton to let anything get too far away, so I hung out in back for a few laps. In the meantime, Travis Brown and a couple RMCF riders attacked and stayed away until about 2 to go. I managed to move up well in the last few laps, and found myself 3rd wheel as we crossed the line with 1 to go. The 2 guys ahead of me sprinted for the line, and sat up talking but we still had a lap left. I passed them on the climb and yelled "1 to go," but by the top of the climb I was alone with a little gap, so I put my head down and hammered out the last lap and held the gap across the line. I guess there was a little confusion with the lap counter and what they heard over the PA. I know I got a super lucky break, but winning is winning and I was still super pumped about it. I had been watching the lap counter the whole race, and I guess it paid off.
The final straight was insane with people about 5 deep down both sidewalks yelling and screaming and Dave Towle yelling on the microphone. It was by far the coolest racing experience I've ever had, and definitely a moment I will never forget. To top things off, my mom was standing just beyond the finish line, so I got to celebrate my first Pro 1,2, win with her there. I won a belt buckle and a Tissot stainless steel watch that sells for over $400, so that was pretty cool too. Dave Towle always makes racing more fun, and it was awesome that he was there as well as Rick Crawford. Rick was one of the first people to congratulate me which meant a ton since there are very few people in the cycling world that I look up to more than him.
My mom and I drove back to Greeley today which is a long trip, but we made the most of it, stopping whenever we could to take pictures or eat, and now we're just relaxing tonight. Maybe I'll get some pictures up tomorrow. Thanks for checking in.