Monday, July 5, 2010

Rain & Fireworks at Tour of Lawrence, KS

After a successful trip to Lawrence, KS last year, the team was looking for another good weekend in the "Center of the USA" (the geographical center close to Lebanon, Kansas, to be precise). Josh, Carlos, and Travis drove in from Elite Nats from Bend, OR via Boulder, CO along with Sully while Ronnie and I made the trip up from Texas. I thought I'd be escaping the rain of Hurricane "Alex" but I was wrong. Except the Street Sprints on Friday Night we raced two days in the rain.

Josh kicked off the weekend in style by winning the Sprints, beating Nick Coil (left) and Dahlheim for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

That cricuit race around KU campus is definitely the most fun circuit you do all year - mix in some 40mph descents and about a dozen slippery 90 degree turns and you have an exciting bike race! 500m into the race (it was raining, of course) a few guys already hit the deck and it was game on from there. I managed to work my way to the front where our Colorado-recruit Ben Blaugrund already settled in along with Sully. Unfortunately, Sean flatted and it was down to only two of us in a front group of about 12 riders. Thanks to good equipment and 80psi in my tubulars the rainy + slick roads didn't bother me too much...I felt okay physically, but only that and knew it would be hard to be there at the very end. That's when I told Ben to go for it when he sees the opportunity and sure enough he followed the right moves and made the podium by the days' end behind an on-form Dahlheim and former Mercy-teammate "Jose" Schmalz.

riding around KU campus with Hall, Bergman, & Co.

Ben Blaugrund on a slippery podium

Sunday's Crit was held on the same course downtown Lawrence again and having finished 2nd here last year myself with Heath winning we were motivated for a repeat and get Josh the win at the end of his 1-month race-trip across half the country. After a short spin in the morning (in the dry) I realized it will be a "wet affair" again:

But were able to execute our plan exactly as nothing would seriously get away for the first 45min of the 75min race and it was just time to follow wheels without wasting we would need at the end do deliver Josh to the line up front and in one piece. There were only a few minor "sliding" crashes and people skidding but overall it was pretty good to see the field handling the slick pavement so well. I gotta give credit to the the tires again, though - never felt more comfortable running 80psi on the carbon tubulars in the rain. We took over with 6 or 7 laps to go and just rode a steady lead-out tempo to keep the pace high and keep others away from "swarming" us. It worked out well, although I had to dig deep a bit for a lap when Chad Haga attacked w/ 2 to go but the boys got everything under control and Sully held on for 4th while Josh took the win by a solid margin over 2nd place.

getting ready for 75minutes of fun in the wet...

...getting it done after 75minutes of great teamwork!