Monday, May 12, 2008

Joe Martin

After Gila I headed NorthEast towards Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the 31st annual Joe Martin Stage Race. Alex, Chad, Mat, Mat, Davide, Bill and me made up the team this time around. Having the TT on Day 1 made the rest of the race way more exciting and we actually "raced" for most of the time.

I did okay in the opening Stage 1 Time Trial and posted a 9:03 which had me in 30th place. Comparing to the two previous years I was actually 25 seconds faster this time around so I was happy with the time, although guys like Rory Sutherland are simply AMAZING when you take his time and compare it to the rest of the field.

Mat, el mechanico; the "Team Car", and "Cream", the host housing cat, checking out my stuff
Day 2 was a bit more exciting as we hit Mt. Gaylor and attacks came from left and right trying to crack the HealthNet train. Best moments: chasing down any serious escape attempts by himself and Huffy's bold solo move trying to reach top of Mt. Gaylor ahead of everyone else. I'm glad he's back in the peloton. I felt comfortable going up but raced a bit more conservative this time around and finished in the pack.

Day 3 was like Day 2, early break goes, HN chases, catch is made, field sprint. Almost. One guy from Bissell fooled them all and rode to 'V' in his 54x11. I tried to save a little bit, knowing that Sunday's final stage is the toughest one.

The Crit was actually not too bad until 5 laps to go when I got "in trouble" and had to ease up with 3 to go and finish in 38th place, making me lose my pre-crit 25th GC place to a now final 33rd. Oh well, I was at least doing much better than the last two years and could pick up a prime, too.
(wanna race 90minutes single-file? Come to Joe Martin Stage Race next May!)

Next week should be fun: Tour of Arkansas is finishing up my 3 week stage-racing-period. I'm looking forward to some R&R after this stretch.

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