Uhl in Eagle, ID – Emmett–Roubaix was today and I wasn’t very excited about racing. After riding in a sleeveless jersey on Tuesday, today’s weather was more like early March than almost May. The other warning sign that it wasn’t going to be a good day is that my legs didn’t feel so hot during my warm-up. Actually, they didn’t feel good yesterday either. But once you’re registered…you’ve got to race, right?
So the pace starts off ballistic, even before we hit South Slope Road. Fortunately I was at the front and was able to stay pretty sheltered. Then on South Slope it was more of the same with random people attacking here and there. The pace was fast even though we were going into a headwind.
Then, the first time up Little Freezeout I found myself in the second group. There were two Bob’s riders off the front, then a small front group of about six, then another group of about seven or so. I was in that group and we rotated hard, trying to chase down that front group. The pace was somewhat erratic, even though most of the riders in it were well-seasoned. I think people were panicking, whereas if you stay smooth, tight and steady, you’ll get the job done in the same amount of time, but with less effort.
Anyway, we fought a strong headwind on Hollow then made the right on El Paso and we were gaining on the front group. We finally ended up catching them just before the little jammer hill. I was on the right side of the back of the pack and didn’t think there would be any problems. But the rider in front of me must of had too much crack today. He stood up and started rocking his bike back and fourth. Then all of a sudden his bike is really rocking from side to side with him floundering all over it. It was like something you’d see in a cartoon, where everything is exaggerated…weird!
The next thing I know he’s on the ground right in front of me! So I slam on the brakes and slow down just enough, that when I hit him I didn’t endo (thank goodness!) but had to clip out and sort of fall to the side. I was pretty ticked and almost said a few choice words to him but refrained and checked out my bike.
My chain was off the front chainring so I had to manually put it back on. It didn’t take too long but it was enough that it made the difference between catching the group again and not. Nothing like starting from a standstill on a steep hill! I also heard the riders in the group yeall “Crash!”, so I had hopes that they were actually going to wait for us, but no such luck. I think they were saying “Crash! Time to pick it up!” Which wasn’t very sportsmanlike, especially since I wasn’t in GC contention.
After pushing it for a few minutes then realizing there was no way I’d catch, I just gave up and waited for Klaas. Klaas is our only rider still on the GC for the spring series.
It took a while but a good-sized group caught me from behind and Klaas was in there. The first time through the gravel things picked up but I decided to take it easy and wait for Klaas. Bigger guys don’t tend to do well in the gravel. Good thing I waited because just a short while after the gravel, Klaas flatted and at the same time started cramping. I helped him change the tube but noticed that the tire was down to threads! I gave Klaas a hard time about racing on an old tire, but he said that tire has only 500 miles on it. Probably some crappy compound that just disintegrates on gravel roads.
Once we fixed that we started riding again. We met up with Kip who was coming down Little Freezeout, not the race direction. Kip had crashed and was headed back to Emmett so Klaas asked him for his wheel. It was 10-speed and Klaas’s bike was 9-speed but it actually worked okay. Then Klaas and I pushed it a bit and caught up with a couple stragglers from another group. We rode with them (shhh…don’t tell anyone!) but once we got to the gravel again we broke up.
I went up ahead so I could tell Heather what was going on. She was kind enough to hang out in the feedzone all day and feed a bunch of my teammates, as well as a few others. I told Heather to follow us in the car in case we have another mechanical. Klaas came by and I jumped back on my bike and we just rode fairly easy. He’d cramp every so often, so we had to slow way down at times, but once we made it over El Paso for the last time, we had a tailwind so it wasn’t too bad. We took it real easy easy through the gravel, then picked it up at times on South Slope.
We finally made it to the Old Freezeout and we just rode up to the top together. We were the last two people to finish and the unofficial results were already posted…with us as DNF (now fixed online)! We also learned that Shawn did finish, so Klaas’s hope of moving into top three for the series, were dashed. Oh well, there’s always next spring!
Full results on Spondoro: