Monday, May 17, 2010

Houston Grand Crit



Photos courtesy of Peggy Keedy

Once again Bike Barn put on another Houston Grand Crit. Located in Downtown Houston, this race always offers a great atmosphere for riders and spectators along with some tough racing in the good ol' Houston heat. After spending the majority of the past month in Europe I was in no way ready to be out racing in 90+ degree weather, but as these conditions will be similar to those in Italy during the World Championships in August I sucked it up and sweated it right back out. The course is basically a huge drag race with about a half mile out on Allen Parkway before turning around and heading right back. This made for an extremely fast race with the pace going over 30 mph frequently. I mainly just sat in for the first 40 minutes or so, and only went with a few attacks. When Mark Purnell gave the pack six back-to-back primes the racing really started to heat up. With about three laps to go and after prime number five I got to the front and drilled it. When I looked back I was in a selective group of about eight including a past winner of the Houston Grand Crit, Kevin Kremke (Bike Barn), along with about all of the major teams in the race. Over the next lap Kremke and I were the main contributors to the pace and were able to create a decent gap over the field. With a few more people helping with the work load over the next lap and a half I was sure that the break would stick and started to position myself for the sprint. Knowing that Kremke would be the man to beat I fought my way onto his wheel and sat there as many last minute attempts to break away were foiled. With about 200 meters to go Kremke jumped and started the sprint. I attached myself to his wheel and with about 150 meters to go I started my own sprint. I was able to come around him and hold off a charging Brian Fawley (Parks Place Dealership) for the win!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Europe...again!

I'm back in Europe, but this time with my team out of Massachuttes, Hot Tubes. We got to Belgium last wednesday, and left the next day for a 3 stage Friday-Saturday Stage Race in Holland. Friday included a 5.6 km time trial early aftrnoon and then a 60 km crit (yea...a crit in Europe. Crazy, right?) later in the night. I ended up winning the TT by about a second and a half and another 7 seconds ahead of 3rd. Despite some great team work in the crit I lost the yellow jersey due to some time bonuses offered in the intermediate sprints. The next day was a little under a 100 km circuit race. I was in second overall and four seconds down. I was feeling good during the beginning of the rainy race, but crashed only 5 km in. By the time I had gotten back up and worked out the kinks in my sore body and bike (my handlebars were crooked and the shifter lever was turned all the way in) the pack was long gone, and without a caravan to help me get my way back up to the pack it would be near to impossible to catch back up. I ended up finishing the race early and watched the remainder from the sidelines. What sucks the most though is that my ENTIRE team dropped back once they saw that I went down, including Yannick Eckmann who was in 6th overall and in the white young riders jersey and Stuart Wight who was in 10th overall. When I got back up and realized that my bike was too messed up to ride on, and told them to go on without me it was too late for them to get back up to the lead group due to the fact the peleton had split in the strong crosswinds. They ended up chasing for the rest of the race, but never made it up. Yesterday we had sweet revenge on the European peleton in a kermesse in Vinkt. I ended up taking the win with Stuart getting 5th and Anders taking 11th. The team rode great the entire time and at one time had four guys in the eight man winning break. From that break I attacked with about 60 km to go and went solo for the next 45 km. I was caught by two others with about 15 km to go but one of them got dropped right away. The last 5 km was a game of cat and mouse, and I ended up leading the sprint out from about 200-250 meters to go and was able to hold on for my second win of the trip to put up a victory salute and an amazing victory cry! We go to France on Thursday for our last race in Europe, Morbihan. It's on Saturday and Sunday with a road race on Saturday and a TT and another road race on Sunday.
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