Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I’m on the flight home from my second ever racing trip to Europe.  It’s funny the past two months I’ve had more free time than I knew what to do with and never managed to write an update.  Now I’m a week into the semester and everything is flying and yet I’ve decided now is the time to update the all important blog.

Aosta was a mixed bag for me.  The courses were incredible, so hilly and so beautiful.  It was the best race I’ve ever done for sure.  Well at least looking back on it now it seems like it was the best races.  However, during the race there were a couple mornings that I woke up and looked at the profile for the day and questioned how I ever thought I liked climbing.  I came in with some good form, but maybe didn’t put it too full use.  On the second day I got in the move that went early and went clear over the first KOM.  I got second in the sprint at the top and me and a French kid had a small gap on the descent.  He was nailing it even though there were 15 guys right behind use and 120k still to go.  Instead of just sitting up I was following him a little too hot and came into one corner comically fast.  It wasn’t even close.  But yeah so that day ended up being a wash, there were two more hard climbs the break stayed away and would’ve been a good opportunity to set up a good GC, but instead I suffered through the day.  I felt pretty wrecked the next two days, didn’t get too cut up but my hip and back were giving me some problems.  The 4th stage I had my main good day.  It was the queen stage, the hardest day on paper, so it was a good day to have a good day.  There was a big break that had some guys staying away to the finale.  Over the second cat 1 I made the first major selection though and in was in a front group of about 15 guys.  Over the next cat 1 it pretty much exploded.  I rode solo pretty much to the line, but went through a few groups on the last climb.  I ended up 10th but was only beat by a few people out of the field.  It wasn’t huge, but for me it was.  A big thing for me was that the stage was about 5:15, and I’ve had a history of cracking in long hard races, but that day I just kept getting better and better as it was going on.  So it gave me some hope for the future that I can do it even in a big race.  The main downside of Aosta for me came the next day.  It was another hard climbing day and whatever I felt the day before today I felt the opposite.  I ended up getting shelled and dropping out.  I could barely eat and looking back I was starting to get sick as I spent the next few days praying to the porcelain gods.

The rest of the trip was a mixed bag as a lot of trips are.  Some highs and some lows.  The guys were great and it was an inspirational crew to be around.  It’s pretty motivating when you’re sitting around the table talking and you realize almost all the guys are going pro tour next year.  l’Avenir was great to do, wish I had been riding better, but Boswell and Larry made it easy to want to give all the little bit of form I had.  So at least I know I didn’t let any go to waste.  But I think it’s official I used up all the reserves to squeeze the last bit of form out of the tube so to speak.  It was motivating to be at l’Avenir but mentally draining at the same time.  It’s the biggest race I’ve ever done that late in the year and I think for me I was running a little bit too much on fumes to be fully effective.  But it was a great opportunity and hopefully I learned something so next year I can come back and ride for the GC.  Boz ended up 5th on GC and Brown would’ve won if he wasn’t the worlds greatest work horse.  Better than that were the nonstop laughs and the nearly nonstop ice cream since the race ended. 

Now it’s time to break out the MTB for some collegiate racing and see what kind of fast times I can put down riding from one bar to the next.  Hopefully I pass some classes in the interim as well.

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