Uhl in Eagle, ID – The road race was long and hot by the end, but I finished! We got to the start area early and being in farm country, we got to watch a crop duster to its thing. We started with eight miles of neutral which just delayed the pain to come. But with a small field, everyone was content with keeping things together until the hill(s). It’s really a double hill, just like Chicken Dinner; a more gradual one on Deer Flat, then Perch is the steep one. Even before we rode up Perch, everyone agreed to have a pee-stop. Since I didn’t have to go, and I knew how bad Perch would be with 5 lbs of water on my back (no feed support) that I just rolled through and got a head start on the hill. Well, I wasn’t even but 1/3rd the way up, when the climber-types just sped by me! I managed to stay with the group, but so much for taking the hill “easy” the first time. Next time I’ll “roll through” faster so I have a bigger gap!
Then things basically stayed together and on the headwind section along the Snake River the whole group just pacelined. Then the second time up the hills I was dropped early on Deer Flat. I just paced myself over both and could see that I wasn’t too far off by the time I crested by the landfill. I time trialed for the next five miles and managed to catch them before the steep downhill by the river! That was my big accomplishment for the race. I knew if I didn’t catch by then, I would never because the pack will always be faster than a solo rider with a strong headwind like that. So I integrated back into the front group which was down to about 10 riders at that point.
We rotated again along the river then the third time up the hill, I was dropped early on Deer Flat managed to catch them by the bottom of Perch, after tucking the downhill section. But then the group picked it up and Brian, Robert and myself got dropped. The three of us worked together and there times I thought we would catch, but I could attacks occurring in the front group up the road, and that’s when the gap started growing again. We hit the steep descent to the river and I tucked really small and hit 57.7 MPH! That was fun…until I had to scrub all that speed for the sharp corner at the bottom. I think I wore through half my brake pads between the three times we had to come down that hill!
Then Robert and I rotated while Brian hung on and eventually got dropped. Robert and I just kept working and I could tell that he was doing better on the hills so I knew what would happen when we finally reached the stair-stepped finish on Locust. Sure enough, when we made the turn on Locust I told Robert good job and he rode off to finish a bit ahead of me while I rode it in at a tempo pace as my “cool down”. I ended up 9th.
I was really hoping Heather, who only did two laps, would be at the finish to pick me up and save me from the 8-mile ride back to the car. But she wasn’t there so I headed back and fortunately met up with her only a few miles later. She still saved me, as she got to me before I had to start climbing.
We drove, the long way, to the Caldwell Idaho Athletic Club. I mis-estimated how far west we already were, ended up near Wilder. That was fine as it was a scenic drive and we got to see the hops farms in early season. We freshened up at the gym and I even swum a few laps in the pool! It’s amazing what 4.5 hours of riding will do to your endurance; I had to stop every couple laps to rest! But the swim felt good after a ride like that. It’s nice to kick out the legs and swimming always seems to make my back/neck feel better.
As for the TT, I just soft-pedaled; saving my legs for the criterium on Sunday. With as many minutes as I lost to the front group, there’s pretty much no chance of me getting to the podium so I rather save my legs and have fun in the crit.
Results through Stage 2 on Spondoro: