Monday, May 14, 2012

La Crosse uphill Time Trial and Criterium

It's later in the day after the Road race, I just got up from taking a nap, and I'm ready to crush it. There is a Time trail now, it's short and uphill. The course goes up a brutal hill called grandads bluff. This photo doesn't do the hill justice, but it does give you an idea of just how hard it is.

We are staying with some people who live just a few blocks away from the bluff, so we ride over to the course. Its raining, and there is a chance of thunderstorms so the judges postpone the start by a half hour. My warm up is is screwed up a little bit by this, but nothing I can't handle. I'm racing cat 4's and I'm the first one to start. I still start after all the juniors though, so one by one I watch my team mates go. Finally, it's my turn, and I come up to the line. I tensely wait as the official counts down. 30 seconds... 15... 10... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!

I concentrate on getting my momentum up, and in my focus to get going I overshoot my speed a little bit. I look down and my speed is at 28kph. Too fast for my sloppy warm up to handle, so I sit down and reign in the pace a little bit as my legs start to burn. After I get over the first little steep section and around the corner I start to speed up again. It's down to about 5-6% now. I feel like I'm pedaling boxes though, so I stand up. Still feels a little bit funny... I shift into my big ring and everything clicks. I go from 22kph to 25kph (12-15mph). I feel really good, I'm completely in control and this hill is perfect for me. I keep on increasing my pace, trying to see how far I can push it before it starts to hurt. It still doesn't hurt, I wonder if maybe I'm not going fast enough... so I keep speeding up.

As I get closer to the top, I can hear people cheering loudly. It's the corner by the bar, and a lot of slightly intoxicated people are making some noise. I come into the corner, and pound up the steep 10% pitch, still in my big ring and spinning. I get to the top and in to the roller section. Downhill, accelerate! 30k, 35k, 40k!  I come into the next rise and concentrate on keeping as much of my momentum as possible. I accelerate off the top again. I see some of my team mates, coming down after their race. "GO JOSEY!" "Aiiiieee!" they shout. Soon I can see the finish line, I put a HUGE effort in and pound it into the finish, going 52kph on a slight uphill! I look down as I cross, 9:14. The record time (set by a national Time Trial Champ) is 8:20! I come back down, feeling very good about my time. Later I find out that I won cat 4's! I also would have placed 6th in cat 3's. The results had my time down as 9:19, which is a little longer than it was, but that's ok.

The next day was the Criterium. I felt a little tired from the previous day, so I did a good long warm up. I lined up with my one team mate in cat 4s, Joe. The official runs us through the rules, and its go time! right off the bat, on the second lap there is a attack. I chase it down, I don't want anyone getting away unless it has me or Joe in it.

At first I'm a little slow to respond on the attacks, but after a while I start to warm up and feel good. Every lap I come around in second wheel. I want to stay up here where I have the most reaction time for attacks, and where there is less chance of crashing. The rest of the 40 minute Crit goes well, I feel strong and reacting to the attacks is easy. A few of them are particularly fast, and I have to dig deep, but I soon recover. Coming in with three laps to go on the 1 mile or so course, it starts to get chaotic. Everyone wants to be in the front, but no one wants to go fast enough to string people out. I try to choose the right wheel, but get boxed in. Coming around the final corner I manage to get a few spots, and I gain a few in the sprint to get 10th by a tire width. However, Joe managed to win the sprint!

Thanks to Joe Horvath for the awesome picture, here is his website.

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