A couple weeks ago, Ashley and I began our month + long road trip across the U.S. Our first destination: Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
The race started with a 14k time trial. Time trialing isn't really my strong point but I gave it an all out effort. My only real goal was to pass people, and not get passed. It is usually hard for me to stay focused during the individual efforts, but I managed to do it some how this time. It still wasn't my finest performance, but I did manage to pass my 30 second guy, and no one passed me. Good day.
Stage 2 was a very difficult 75 mile circuit. The roads were all beat to hell and the final 500 meters were straight up to the finish! As if the race itself weren't hard enough, about 30 minutes into the race it began to pour down rain! Usually, I get a little nervous in the rain in anything other than a road race; however, this time was different. It was actually fun! I did a good job at staying at the front and was able to go with moves, none of which stuck. By the time we finished, a group of 7 stayed away and I found myself cruising in around 30th. Only about 65 people finished in the front group, with everyone else finishing minutes behind.
The 3rd stage road race had changed a bit from previous years due to the crappy road conditions caused by the harsh winter they had. Instead of the finish going up Mt. Wachussette, it finished on the feed zone climb we went up each lap. The course was pretty fast and relatively easy, except for the final 5k, which averaged about 9%. The race went pretty well for me overall. Going into the final and decisive lap, I had the feeling I was cracking and ended up popping out of the front group. Unfortunately for me, that feeling only lasted about 5 min. By the time I was good to go again, the race was over. I was left in the groupetto on the final lap with everyone content with rolling in 5 minutes behind. I still finished 35th but I couldn't help but think it should have been better. Next time.
Going into the crit, I was kinda tired. I didn't really have any objective for the race other than don't suck. I pretty much just followed wheels and a little before the half way mark, I found myself up the road with Mike Friedman, Tony Cruz and about 8 other guys from Kelley Benefits and Mt. Khakis. Just my luck, they weren't really interested in anything other than sprint points and primes. For the rest of the race I just sat in and tried to stay at the front. Again, a break of 7 or so stayed off the front, and I just followed wheels into the finish around 30th. Nothing great, but again it was the front group after the field split up. During the crit one of my all time favorite cyclists, Tyler Hamilton, came to spectate. I think he is from the Boston area, so it was cool to see him there. During my race, Ashley took a picture of him and just by accident got me in the picture. How cool is that right!?
Overall, I was pretty satisfied with my performance. Considering that was one of the biggest stage races I have done to date. I think more strong performances will follow. This only made me stronger and prepared me more for nationals.
Check back soon for more updates from my journey. I have a ton of photos that I plan on uploading also.