Quick update from the last road trip of the season. I was invited to do the Priority Health Classic Criterium in Grand Rapids this weekend. It was pretty sweet accommodations with them giving me a hotel room, having a reception on Friday night before the race (with an open bar), and the awesome criterium on Saturday.
Here is the start of the race. It was a fairly stacked field with the criterium champion being there along with Pipp and Menzies, three Jittery Joe riders and of course a full squad from Priority Health. Notice the sweet bricks on this section of the course.
The start of the race with me taking off with Obee who happens to be wearing the jersey I'll be taking next year at Downers Grove. That is along as it rains again and there are about two more crashes before the finish and should be just about the only one left.
Well if any of you know the Howard brothers who ride for Priority Health you know as well as I do that they love to attack right from the get go of races. Well so they were in my head before the start of the race so much that I fumbled a bit to get clipped in just because I figured they would be shooting around the first corner as the announcer was still saying go. But much to my surprise and I'm sure a few others it was a rather relaxed starting pace.
Riding on the second sector of bricks on the 1.2km course. Pretty fun course that wound through downtown Grand Rapids.
Soon enough things got going and the attacks went. Personally being the only one on my team at the race I knew I was going to be a bit outnumbered so my plan was just to be aggressive and get a good workout in. So I just took off at one point in the race and stretched out the field and kept going to a gap opened up. Eventually I got what I thought was a good group going around.
The first break I was in, but it didn't pan out.
Well as my father was there watching and I told him how I was going to race aggressive, I thought I better get on it quickly other I'd have to hear about. Our group was not working to well and about to be caught so I took off again for a few solo laps. Eventually another group of 7 caught up and it made the break of the day.
After those efforts I was gasping a bit as the others were going for the sprint points that were awarded in the first 25 laps of the 90 minute race. But I got a settled after a few laps and was feeling good again. It was a good break with 3 Priority Health, Tim Henry from Jitteyr Joes, Pipp and Obee from Health Net and the strong rider from Marco polo. Unfortunately my bike wasn't feeling good and it was puking out the crankset. Some how the bolt came loose and the crank was falling out. This was all going as my waterbottle cage was rattling out as well and was flopping between my feet.
Of course all this doesn't get you a free lap, but as the crank began to move around so much that it was hitting the chainstays I had to stop and get it fixed in the pits. The officials seemed to be more concerned about telling how I was not going to get free lap then getting my bike fixed. So after what seemed like forever of them continuing to repeat themselves over and over again I politely asked if they could just fix it and I'll jump back in the field before they get by. Oh yeah good idea! So the sram guy is tighten my crank and notices the bottle cage and goes you have bigger problems then this and ripps off the bottle cage. I thought the crankset was of bigger concern, but hey it was a bit warm and only having one bottle cage was a bit of an issue.
Well I get in with the field and wanted to continue to get a workout in and went right to the front for a while to keep the break from lapping the field and to see what would happen. I was going for a while before my crankest finally just gave way again and is shot and needs to go in for repair. So it was an early and disappointing excite for myself. Even more disappointing is after having been able to get back in the field and thinking you weren't going to be in the break of the day, but watching it as it all came back anyways for a sprint finish, and getting out the break didn't matter. Unbelievable.
So Menzies won the race, go figure and Pipp is lucky to be in one piece as an early chip in his fork got worse throughout the day as it was growing all the way through the fork blade and didn't notice till he was so worn out from his wheel rubbing the break all day and not knowing. Pretty scary stuff.
Well other then that my dad and I started the drive down to Missouri. We made it rather far only having 150 miles left to drive this morning. I have to meet the team at 2pm. There isn't much on the road after it get out of Illinois and into Iowa/Missouri, so it should be another rather boring trip to finish up the drive. Maybe I wont sleep to much this time to keep my dad company. I'm not promising anything though.
Hopefully I'll be able to keep you all updated, so keep looking back for the insider info at Missouri.
Thanks for reading