I love that the last big race of the year and the end of my long racing season each year is in Greenville, South Carolina – very close to my alma matter of Clemson University. Check out my topocreator map! Clemson is highlighted near the center, Greenville is in the upper right, and Highlands, NC is in the mountains in the upper left.
With two flat tires in two consecutive days, I thought it was worth posting about my bad luck. Yesterday on the way into work, I had not made it a mile from my house and my rear tire was flat. I didn’t hear a popping or deflating noise, it just went flat so I thought I could fill it up with my CO2 cartridge and then book it home to change the tire. Turns out it was a pinch flat so I wasted a CO2 cartridge trying to fill it up since it deflated just as quickly as it would inflate. I rode home slowly on the flat tire.
Today, on my way into work, I got another flat – this time as I was climbing Shades Mountain (see map). This time it was my front tire, and I had left my saddle bag in my backpack at school during the Tuesday world’s ride. So with no way to change the tire, I rode it the 4 MILES down the mountain, across the valley, and then up to my building at an average speed of 10mph. Whew, hopefully no more flats for a while!
Updated with excellent photos my wife took
Summary: Excellent team race, 4th (me), 14th (Mike), and a great leadout (Stuart). Good practice for a variety of situations that can come up in a race.
The Details: Stuart, Mike and I lined up in a small field – three riders from Hincapie Development (AJ Meyer, Ben Gabardi?, and Steve Carpenter), two riders from Team Type One masters (orange and white kits), one rider from Team Type One (Phil Southerland), two riders from Myogenesis (Eric Murphy and Cleve Blackwell), John Murphy (Healthnet), and about 10 other riders to make a total field size of 22. They combined the P/1/2 and the Cat 3 fields so they shortened our race from 60 minutes to 40 minutes.
I got the hole shot into the first corner and wound up leading the field for the first couple laps at about 20-22mph waiting for an attack. It wasn’t coming so I attacked before turn 1 at the beginning of lap 3 when they called a prime for the next lap. Stuart countered my move to move into position for the prime, but John Murphy attached himself to his wheel. I was feeling really good and thought that I could sneak onto Murphy’s wheel and take the prime, but he was too fast and that left the three of us just off the front with Murphy a little ahead of Stuart and I. It looked like Murphy was going to sit up so Stuart and I sat up and let the front of the group catch up to us for someone to take up the chase. There was a strong attack from a Hincapie Development rider who quickly bridged to Murphy. It looked dangerous so I attacked and made a short bridge onto them before the end of Lap 4.
By this time, there was a split in the group that left seven of us up front in the break – me, John Murphy, Cleve from Myogenesis, Steve Carpenter and AJ from Hincapie Development, David McNeal, and Steve from Team Type One development. Our break was not a happy family with several attacks from Hincapie, from Murphy, from Myogenesis. When we were getting close to lapping the field, Murphy attacked and got away by himself being the first to make the bridge. I waited until the rest of us made it up to the field and then attacked to go off the front of the field. But at this point, there was enough fresh legs to keep everything together (including pulling back Murphy) to the end. That’s what happened – a field sprint, but there was some excellent teamwork leading up to it.
Mike and Stuart both moved to the front of the field once we all came back together. Mike put in a few attacks which was great, because some of the people who were in the break with me ended up chasing them down causing them to get tired. Perfect. Stuart also got to the front and drilled the pace for several laps to discourage any attacks, which gave me a chance to rest at the front of the group without worrying if any of my breakaway companions were going to attack. Then at the very end, Stuart ramped the pace way up to discourage any last lap attacks. I slotted into the top 5 going into the last two turns, but I chose the wrong wheel and the rider I was on sat up coming out of the last corner and I had to chase around but I couldn’t catch the top 3 and I ended up 4th. Mike sprinted well to finish 14th and Stuart had already set up the perfect leadout but I got a little bit unlucky sitting on the wrong wheel for the sprint. Ok, so that was it. Good result, EXCELLENT practice for next week.
Here is my heart rate and power data:
Tomorrow in Dalton, Georgia (B) is the next to last race weekend of the year. We are hoping to make a fun trip out of it, leaving right after church (A) and heading to the race, then after the race heading to Rome, Georgia (C) to meet one of Kristine’s friend who just moved there before driving on home (D) so I can be ready for class Monday morning. We’re looking forward to some nice fall weather and hopefully a good result at the race!
Here’s our travel plans carefully avoiding (hopefully) all the traffic associated with the Talledega NASCAR race weekend.