Here's the recap, el pronto version. After three stages of guts out racing I don't have a lot of energy to try to be witty so I'll stick with the cold hard facts for the most part.
Buffalo, Gene and I raced the 3/4 field.
Matt raced the Cat 5 field for his tenth and eleventh mass starts of the year. Welcome to the cat four ranks Matt. Hopefully you'll be as successful here as you where with the kiddies, and we'll see you in the cat 3 field soon.
Stage One was the Song Mountain RR- 2 laps on the 30 mile loop. Two big climbs up Oak Hill Road and then the finishing climb on Song Mountain Road where no joke. Eight to ten minutes of hard climbing each time where more than I could handle and I got popped off the back 9/10 of the way up the climb on the first lap. Gene stuck the climb and ended up in the largest group on the road chasing the leaders. Buffalo flatted at mile 8 and didn't get a quick wheel change so he ended up mailing in the road race. I road out the race in the "autobus" with other big sprinter typed dudes talking about how we couldn't wait for the flat TT and crit that were coming up.
Stage Two was the Crooked Lake TT. A fast mostly flat 3 mile tt with a winding technical finish. Fast times where under seven minutes for our field. I caught my rabbit and posted a time of 6:42, good for 7th on the day and give me 12 gc points and bump me into 17th on GC. Not bad considering I got crushed in the road race.
Stage Three was the crit. The course was a new course this year - a four corner affair on a 1.1 mile loop. There where two pretty big crashes despite smoothly paved very wide roads. I don't get people's problem but I guess that's how it works in crits with cat 4s. I decided early on that my legs felt okay, but as this was a mixed 3/4 field I found myself not rocking in the primes. I decided after putting in a pretty fruitless but enormous effort on the second prime that I would just chill and wait for the finish. With 5 to go I was moving up and got set up with Gene. The plan was for him to bring me up and then me launch it. Coming into the last corner Gene made a balls out move and dive bombed the corner tight when the fast line was moving up the outside. This allowed us to get open road in front of us and Gene towed me right up the front. He pulled off as we entered the last corner and I rolled around the corner right in the front group.
This is where I learned a lesson though. I can sprint okay. As far as what I do on a bike its probably my best asset. But, in the 3/4 mixed field my acceleration didn't really let me fly by lots of people like I usually can in Cat 4 crits. No one passed me, but I didn't pass anyone either. I maxed out at 39mph in the sprint which is insane as I didn't pass anyone.
Overall it was awesome. I finished 10th (highest place ever in a 3/4 field) and got enough points to move up to 12th on GC. When they post the results I should be able to tell where I placed among cat fours, and may be able to rock some more upgrade points from the crit. That rules.
That's the stage race story. I've got a few pictures to throw up but my camera's in the car so I'll do that tomorrow.