Along with my teammates Brett Denney, Taylor Fletcher and Todd Lodwick, I spent Labor Day weekend racing in the annual Steamboat Springs Stage Race. After two days of jumping the 70-meter in Steamboat, we dove into three days of bike racing.
Check out the photo gallery below of the Pro-1-2 Category in the opening time trial. Taylor Fletcher is in the first picture, racing up against the best in his first race as a Cat-2.
This 20km time trial was about as brutal of a TT as you could do. After a long rolling first part, we went up and over a good mile long climb, than turned around and finished back at the top of the hill, ending quite a ways higher than we started. I didn't have the full TT set-up like Taylor - but in the "beginners" Cat 4-5 group, it's not expected. I did get a pair of clip on aero bars and a time trial helmet, so I felt pretty legit out there. I ended up 6th, in my category of 50 guys.
Sunday, in the 55-mile road race stage, things almost went really well. I narrowly avoided the crash - which was gnarly - stayed in good positioning, and was able to put the hammer down on the two-climbs in the last 10 miles. I got away with in a four man group on the climbs, and with 7 or 8 miles of rolling terrain to the finish we had a solid minute gap on the peloton. As a small group, we had to really push to keep off the pack. Unfortunately, my legs said enough a few miles from the finish. Once I couldn't stay up on the wheel of the next guy, it was all over, and there was no way I was going to catch the other 3. I tried to hang on solo in fouth, but the chase group swallowed me up and blew by me in the last mile. I ended up 13th, which was frustrating, after being so close, but such is racing.
Oh and back to the crash. Two guys locked wheels and took out a whole slew of riders behind them. Had I been one man to my right, I would have tasted some hard pavement. Two of my buddies from Steamboat went down, but somehow came away with no more than some bruises and banged up helmets. I heard that one of the initial riders who went down broke a collar bone, but if that's all that resulted in a multi-man pile up, that's really not too bad.
The one positive that may have came out of the crash was that our group was a little more cautious in the final race, the critirium on Monday morning. Critiriums, or "crits" are probably the sketchiest of bike races. They're high paced, tightly packed and have lots of corners. The crit course for this race was a rectangle between two city streets just above downtown. My group raced around and around for 35 minutes, while the higher categories went up to an hour. I had a blast racing it, but didn't get up to the front at the end and finished around 20th in the pack with everyone else.
Sunday night all the racers were in invited to a BBQ at the local Moots bike factory. Moots has been making road, mountain and cyclocross bikes in Steamboat for about 30 years. Now they produce about 1500 bikes a year, all of which are made from Titanium tubing. Touring the factory was one of the highlights of my weekend. It gave me an appreciation for their high quality bikes (although you do pay for this quality if you want a Moots).
Where am I?