I feel like I've been going non-stop for a week now, and I guess I sort of have been.
Wednesday Scott and I did our now annual pilgrimage to the mountains up through Estes, down through Lyons, and home through the Johnstown-Milliken connection. It's a great day on the bike, but it definitely took a little bit out of me.
Thursday and Friday were spent riding and getting some bike stuff ready for Scott to assure he's riding the finest equipment when he gets to Belgium later this week. Good luck Scotty Boy, and let me know how those wheels hold up. I'm not sure that any Carlson built wheels have been raced on real cobbles before.
I headed up to Winter Park on Friday night to hang out with a bunch of South Dakota boys. Justin, Bob, Scott, Craig, and Katelyn and I all enjoyed some Herdnando's pizza, and got a flavor of the Winter Park night life.
Saturday morning I awoke bright and early to head down to Denver for the Metro State Individual Time Trial. The DU team all rode well, and I felt as good as I ever have in a TT. The time the officials gave me and the time I clocked myself at were a minute apart, but regardless, I felt good about my ride and I'm actually looking forward to another TT this coming weekend. I finally got my position dialed on my borrowed TT bike, and it's FAST!
Sunday was the DU hosted Criterium at Invesco Field. I was supposed to get there at 7, which meant leaving Greeley at 6, factor in the time change, carry the one, I basically had to get up at what felt like 4:30, stand around all day, then race my bike at 3:20. The races went off without a hitch. Great course, great fields, and a decent crowd.
After working my tail off last weekend, and also after watching the races all day Sunday, I decided not to go with the early move this week, as nothing was staying away. The field wasn't huge, maybe 25-30 riders, but at least 7 of them were from Team Einsteins. After sitting in the first 10 minutes or so, I noticed that Einsteins was working the textbook plan of just sending one rider at a time. The field was pulling everything back, and I had no intention of going with anything until at least the halfway point. With about 48 minutes to go in the hour long crit, I noticed two Einsteins guys off the front about 5-10 seconds. It struck me that these two would work together well, being teamates and all, and that a 5th of the field that remained behind would be working to shut it down. I didn't have time to think much more about it because I was at the perfect part of the course to try and get across, so I went. I opened up a good gap from the field, increased it through the section of the course with a few "90 degree"-ish corners, and then caught the two just at the start finish line that was located at the end of a long uphill sprint.
I pulled through and we started rotating and never really quit until Whitey DeBroux attacked at the bottom of the hill with 3 to go. I didn't think I'd have anything left to even put on a real chase, plus his teammate Jack Seehofer was still sitting right on my wheel. I just tried to ride my own steady tempo and see if I could hold on to at least sprint for second. I noticed that Whitey's gap had stabilized, and was even coming down a little bit. I brought him within 5 seconds or so, but then quit chasing as I knew there would be the impending counter attack from Jack. Instead of waiting for the counter, I attacked coming into the hill with one to go, passed Whitey, and kept my head down and hammered over the top, but couldn't shake Jack from me wheel. I coasted the downhill, and the cat and mouse crap began. Whitey was chasing back hard, so I went again just before the "technical" section of the course. Jack covered that one too no problem, but it was enough to secure a good gap between us and Whitey. We came into the climb, and Jack attacked just where I knew he would. I tried to catch his wheel as he came around me, but he kept inching away, 1 bike length opened up, 2 bike lengths, and then it was over.
I was very happy to take second, but of course I've been stewing it over all day today. I feel like I did the right things tactically, but I just keep wondering, what if I would have done this, or what if I would have done that. The only real alternative I can think of would have been to wait and save everything I had for the sprint. I could have kept Whitey dangling another lap, and maybe Jack wouldn't have been able to come around me had I initiated the sprint. Oh well, live and learn, but it's still frustrating.
Brian the birthday boy managed a couple of solid races and still had it in him to get some pictures and even a video of my race for your viewing pleasure. Right now I'm going to bed, but check back for pictures tomorrow. Thanks for checking in.