Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tulsa One-Two-Step

Tyler J. and I went up to Oklahoma this past weekend in order to get in some solid training miles and race two local races up there organized by the Tulsa Wheelmen/Tulsa Tough crew. Having 3 teammates living there makes always for some good times and justifies the LONG trip from ATX to TuLsA.

After some Blueberry Pancakes at the Bluedome in downtown, the five of us rode our bikes out to Mannford on Saturday morning where the Salk Creek Criterium was held. I've never done that race and it was like a mini-version of PaceBend - mostly wide-open turns, pretty fast, and a few rollers but nothing super hard. I started at the very back and let the games begin until I made a move 10min in and "the legend" Steve Tilford was on my wheel. Funny, how we always end up in breaks together. Anyhow, we just did a 2-man TT for probably 70minutes until his teammate Brian Jensen and Mercy's Schmalz showed up. Ouch! Our tactics went alright until exactly this point when I was outnumbered by a bunch of Kansas guys :-( After half-a-dozen attempts to drop me it came down to a sprint and to my very own surprise I was able to take the win in a slight uphill sprint. I never really put much emphasis on sprints but this off-season I definitively worked on it a little bit - especially when you train with Tyler, as he wants to sprint all the time :-) So we took 1st and 4th through 6th (Chad, Alex, Tyler) that day. Old friend Nathan Leigh hooked me up with some special "recovery drink" post-race:

I had done Sunday's Cowskin Road Race out by Westport before so we kind of knew that this is gonna be a tough one. Again, we rode out 30miles to the race and it got a little bit close with the time since my cheap training tires (which I won the race on the day before) finally gave up on me when this nail on HW 412 wanted to punch my tube/tire so bad:

Anyhow, Chad's super-fast "downing" of a PowerBar gave me something to pouch tire with and we made it in time to the race without any further flats. The competition was pretty much similar like yesterday except that Trek probably really wanted to win this time around. The course was a 4 1/2 mile loop we had to ride 14 times and included a good, long but steady climb. Early into the race it all split up and a few "chunks" of riders where in different groups. Finally, Alex W. and I found ourselves in the break of the day along with Brian Jensen. He's always a thread but it was only his second race of the year (after yesterday) so I was sure we can win the race again. Well, it looked like we had 1st and 3rd secured with half a lap to go but we (all three of us) didn't make the calculation with Steve T. Not surprisingly, he bridged a 2min gap from the chase while we were going super-slow up the climbs and thought it was already a sealed deal with the 1,2,3 finish. His presence changed things a bit and we lost Alex in that time. So it was me vs. two tag-teaming teammates again - Ahh, how much that can hurt. Like yesterday, a few attempts of riding away from me were made but to no avail. So Jensen gave Steve a killer lead-out and he only had to deliver while I had to dig deep to get around him on the outside. It was not meant to be and I lost by half (?) a wheel and got 2nd. Oh well, I guess I'm not a sprinter...at least not downhill at 40mph. 2, 4 6, 8 was our share of the Top 10 this time around. Tyler and I held our word and rode the 30miles back to town finishing up a solid 120mile day on the bike. Charleston's on Preoria Ave was the choice of recovery food that night. Gotta check it out.

All in all a good weekend and each team got their share of the victory.

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