Monday, February 9, 2009
Alsation Country Omnium
This past weekend marked the second edition of the Alsation Country Omnium in Castroville, TX, but more importantly the start of my jam packed road season. The race opened with a flattish ten mile time trial in the morning on Saturday, a 60 minute crit later on that day, and ended with a demanding 75 mile road race. After arriving late on Friday, we set up our pop-up camper and went to bed at around 11:00, so that I could get a good enough sleep to wake up for my TT start at 11:08 the next day. I woke up at around 8 to drink a banana smoothie and eat a bagel. After just chilling in the pop-up for a while reading the latest ProCycling magazine we drove over to the TT course so that I could get a warm-up in. The course was an out-and-back course with HUGE winds. On the way out I averaged about 33 mph spinning in my junior gears for an average of 114 rpm's, while on the way back I averaged only 23 mph. I ended up with a time of 21:19 which was good enough for ninth in the P12's, a whole minute behind the winner, Dave Wenger. This gave me four points for overall omnium. I then went back to the pop-up, and killed the next couple of hours watching the crits with Alan Ting (the RV camp that we were staying at was were the crit was). With the race at 4:30, I went back to the pop-up at around 3:30 to get all my gear together. When the Cat 3's finished racing, I rolled onto the course to get a few laps in before the start of my race. After rolling out, I found myself at the very back of the pack knowing full well that I would spend the better part of the race moving up to a good position. The pace was extremely high the whole time with recent addition to pro team OUCH-Maxxis, Pat McCarty, on the front driving the pace. I finally made it to the front and tried to maintain that position as long as possible. With about four laps to go, I tried an attack. No one from the pack reacted for a while and I was able to get about a 5-7 second gap. Unfortunately, I was quickly brought back in by a monster pull on the front of the pack, and the next thing I knew I was being passed by the majority of the pack and found myself back at the back, and that is where I finished behind winner, Ronnie Strange. The road race was one of the hardest races of my life, won by Kevin Kremke. The race started out with a 7.5 mile roll-out of town with a monster tail wind (we almost hit 40 mph on the way out), followed by four 15 mile loops, with a 7.5 mile leg back into town. For the first half of the race I tried to conserve as much energy as possible. With two laps to go, a few got to the front on the yellow line and really upped the pace on one of the cross wind sections. This caused many people to be dropped while the remaining 20 or so of us were hanging on for dear life. After a few miles of this, a few guys broke the rules and crossed over the line to get a better draft. This encouraged others to do the same thing, and next thing you know the entire group except a few where over the yellow line and cars were passing us on the right hand side of the road. Before we turned to get off of the road, the follow vehicle pulled up next to us and stopped the race to talk to us about crossing the yellow line. This allowed all of those who had been dropped to catch back up. For the next lap the pace never really escalated all that much. With one lap to go the same group of guys got back up to front on the same cross wind section, and successfully dropped almost half the pack. Unfortunately, I was one of them. I found myself in the second group on the road with about 10 others. We all took hard pulls on the front before we finally caught back on. I spent the next 10 or so miles trying to recover, so that I could hang on for the cross wind section back into town. When we got onto the route back in town, I found myself in the back trying to pass people getting dropped. After a while my legs just gave up and the pack just rode away from me. I jumped into the next group when they passed me to try and bridge back up to the leaders. By the time I had gotten to the front the gap had been closed down a lot. I took an all out pull, but when I pulled off I couldn't find it in me to jump back in line and found myself riding alone. To say the least, I rode the last five miles by myself to the finish. Although my placings weren't all that high in the crit and road race I still had a great time. It was a great event put on by Andrew Willis, and I can't wait for next year. Special thanks to my parents for supporting me and driving me there and back, and Daniel Walker for letting me use his skinsuit.