Riding This Week


Chainbuster MTB Racing Series - Georgia's friendliest MTB racing. 6 & 9 Hour Endurance racing for solo or teams.

Dirty Spokes - Duathlon and Trail running series. Love these guys. First class events.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Racing at Road Atlanta

I love to ride my bike in new places. I like traveling to a new trail or doing a century ride on roads I've never seen before. There was a guy who beat me in a 6 hour Mountain Bike race at Jackrabbit in Hayesville, NC last year who heard me complaining about not knowing the course before hand. He said he prefers it. In a race that long he said it was better to ride the course and get better with each lap. Keeps him from going too hard in the beginning and running out of energy at the end. Not sure if I believe that for racing but it sure is true about riding for fun. Some place fresh is always fun.
Me and Chris Horner, Tour de Georgia TTT, Road Atlanta
This past week I got to race on a track usually reserved for motorized vehicles. Road Atlanta is host to some pretty major events from LeMans to Drifting. The last year of the Tour de Georgia it hosted the team time trial stage. I was there for that and got to meet a lot of my favorite riders and even got to ride on one of the moto's during Astana's TTT. I wasn't a serious racer then but boy did it give the fever. For those who don't know, Team Garmin won the TTT that day.
After leaving work early on Wednesday I met my family at the entrance of Road Atlanta and we headed in. It was the first stage of the Georgia Gran Prix.
I had two friends with me in the CAT4 race; Trace Nabors and Sean Philyaw. It would be Sean's first race as a CAT4 and he was considering doing the whole series so I wanted to help him finish high up and get some points. We came up with a plan: with two to go find Chad and sit on his wheel. I wanted to keep us near the front and then sprint from too far out hoping to lead out Sean. Trace would spend the race helping keep the pace high so breaks might not stick. That was the plan. Yep, the plan was fool proof. The plan was our blueprint for victory.
I'll tell you something about plans in a CAT4 race, they hardly ever work. There are too many variables. Teams that do or don't work together, individuals who are strong as death and can't be contained, people who think they are as strong as death so you work with them only to find out they suck. We made a plan so we'd have one but ultimately here's how it turned out.
We started with 68 racers. Sean was involved in a crash early on and had to abandon. Trace and I didn't know it so with two to go I worked my way up to Trace and asked if he knew where Sean was. He didn't and so we raced our own race. Now I'll tell you something about Trace Nabors, he's a diesel. There's nobody I'd rather go to battle with. He stayed at the front for the entire race and with two to go he chased a break down then helped ramp up the pace to a super speed. It was massive. So massive in fact that on the last lap I didn't want to risk pulling out of the single line of about 15 riders flying down the back stretch. I thought that once I used the energy to move up and nobody would let me in I'd be stuck out in the wind and my race would be over. So I stayed and waited for the bottom of the hill. You see, the way the finish is set up you have to drop down into the "pit lane" and sprint four hundred meters to the finish. If your already at your limit that's too far to go. As soon as I hit the bottom I went as hard as I could for as long as I could. My legs were burning like crazy when I crossed the finish in what ended up being 11th place. My family and Traces were cheering us on each lap. It was great fun. Oh, and my Mom was there too. How cool is that!

How about the Tour de France!!!! I told my wife that it would be the first DVD of the Tour I'll buy. It was so awesome from start to finish. Even my Dad got sucked in to it. And he only likes golf! The only thing I didn't like was that Chris Horner didn't get his shot. Stupid crashes. And I truly see clean racing going on. There's some pain and suffering in the faces of the leaders. I agree with this statement from Jonathan Vaughters :

GAP, France (VN) — Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin-Cervelo) says he’s encouraged by signs that this Tour de France is a cleaner race.
The team manager cited the climbing stage up Plateau de Beille last weekend as one example. The climbing speed was slowest in five climbs up the mountain (44:03 for Alberto Contador in 2007 versus 46:08 for Jelle Vanendert) and nearly three minutes slower than Pantani in 1998 (though the finish line was slightly lower on the mountain).
“One, they went up the Beille three minutes slower than Pantani did in 1998. Three minutes slower,” Vaughters told VeloNews. “The speed on the climbs is down. The best climbers in the world cannot come close to matching what guys did back in the 1990s, even with bikes that are two kilograms lighter.
“Those are all kinds of signs that the racing is much cleaner. It’s there in the math. The time up this is 10 percent slower and oxygen consumption is 10 percent lower, on average with the top guys. I think it’s great that you see the top guys on a very close playing field.”
Vaughters also said the tight GC picture is another sign that cycling is slowly cleaning up its act.
“These are high-level athletes within micro-percentages of training, talent and ability of one another. I think it’s great to see,” Vaughters continued. “The proof’s in the pudding. The data has been there that the racing is much cleaner. It’s been a little bit sad that there have been these scandals here and there that make people think otherwise, but quite frankly, the science points to the fact the racing is cleaner — period. You can see that in the speeds of the climb and you can see that in the tightness of the competition.”

Have a great week! Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. Great quote of Vaughters. I fully agree with his assessment. I think it was the best Tour I've ever seen also. Definitely worth the DVD (can I borrow yours?).
    Shawn and I raced the Gwinnett Crit on thurs only to be roasted by the heat. Shawn I believe got 12th and I got 17th. Only about 35 guys there.
    Sunday I raced the Newton CR and got 12th. There were 70 racers! Where did they all come from?