Sunday, July 19, 2009

La Vuelta de Acadiana- 2009 Stage Race

Chris Lowry second in the first stage to Matt Davis, current National AG champ.

Eric Attayi finishing first with Greg Bauer close behind...the pack is back there...way back!

Me on the front of the crit....that was FUN!

LOWDA on the podium after her crit win on stage 1.

Team work
Aimee giving Laura her feed. Aimee is the best team mate!!!

Well I attempted another stage race this year. This time building up a tt bike the week before the race...not the night before. The main draw was not even the race but the people going and staying all in the same house. In all it turned out to be a great weekend! For me it started off leaving the shop at 5:30pm to go home and pack and then pick up Joy and Jorge. Support crew/photography. Going out of state I was not sure if there would be a photographer and being the picture whore that I am I had to bring my own just in cases. So we made the hike into Louisiana and after missing the 1,2,3s and the woman's crit race that night we made it to the house about 11ish. Who needs sleep before a race at 8am. I found out the time of my race when we made it in. Yeah an 8am 60 mile race, then an afternoon 3.75mile time trial and a Sunday morning crit. OUCH! I was not the one taking this one serious. Thankfully I have racers who do. Highlight of the weekend...Laura Meichan aka LOWDA won the first stage which was the Friday night crit, second in the road race, second in the time trial (which put her 2nd into the final crit by 4 seconds) and then after winning back hot spot points on a solo break away and then winning the crit by drilling it out of the final turn and holding them all off for the win...LOWDA won GC!!! That had to be one of the most exciting races I have watched and most rewarding since it was one of my girls who won and was on a custom Guru! ha!
Next up...Eric Attayi won his first race as a Cat 3. Good for him you say? Yes...but this was no ordinary race. This was a SUPER FLAT 80 mile road race of which he was in a break for 60 miles. The pack brought the break back and with Eric rolling as the lone Shama in that race and since ruining GC chances with a wreck in the crit the night before...he offered to help a friend of ours who was going for GC...Chris Lowry of Sugar Cycles. Chris said for him and Greg to get to the front and lead it out in the last 5k. Eric and Greg got to the front and then began to ramp it up and line it out. Greg looked back and saw a huge gap...the pack did not react till it was too late and Greg and Eric rolled to the line with a 15 second gap. Eric and Greg were having a discussion of who would get it and Greg did not want to sprint against Eric aka The Juggernaut. Eric had won his first road race and as a Cat 3 and done it with some serious talent in the field. AMAZING! Greg Bauer (part time Shama wrench and Sugar racer) enjoyed a second place finish. From there Trey Copeland with Southern Elite finished the weekend as highest GC Cat 3. I happened to mention several people on Facebook but then got word from his wife that he felt left out when I forgot that info in my Facebook posts. HAHAHA So I am sure to list it here. ;-)
Next up...Chris Lowry...we were Cat4s together on the same team 4 years ago. Now...he is one of the more respected Cat2s in Texas and I am still a Cat 4....he takes racing WAY more seriously than me. Or maybe he is just fitter and faster than I am. Not likely but what ever!! ha So three weeks ago Chris came in with his road bike and tt bike. We hooked him up to the Retul and played with some cleat positioning and slight saddle adjustments. First test at a Memorial Park Crit his HR was lower for the same power. This weekend all of his training and hard work paid off with his first win in the final crit on Sunday. Brant Speed of Austin Flyers and a Herring Gas guy went off the front in about the first lap. They had 30seconds on the feild and disorganized attacks and efforts did not bring them back until Brant was reeled in on the final turn on the final lap. True Tour de France style. But I was routing for my Houston boyz no matter the team! Greg Bauer (team mate of Chris) attacked and drew out the studs on his wheel...Greg began to swerve all over the road trying to shake em and when he went left...Chris stayed right and drilled an open line right to the line. He held over 1000watts for 22 seconds for the WIN! His first win...yes FIRST! This made it all the more sweeter and everyone could not be happier for him!
Oh yeah...I raced too. Flat 60mile race...PERFECT! The pace was pretty easy and only got a little challenging at times so in lap 2 of 4 I started to get on the front and test the waters. I found my friends there with me (even though on other teams Houston/Texas boys were looking out) and was having a blast. From my last decent TT the weekend before I was thinking maybe I would get top 10 GC or something. We rolled into the 3rd loop and I heard the sound...the sound of a latex tube letting the air out of your tire. But it was cool...I have wheels in the wheel truck behind us and our pace was like 22 or something. I got my wheel and started chasing...actually I was not feeling that great after the stop and was hitting 24 to 25 for about 5 -6 miles getting with in 100 yards of the pack...and then I saw it went from a mob to a line...NOOOOOO!!!!!! It broke me...mentally...which for the next two loops broke me physically. There were times I road and felt I could not even do 16mph. I even stopped to stretch and have a talk with self while peeing on the side of the road. I made it in and finished so I could continue to the TT in the afternoon and the crit the next day. I was pretty bummed but what can ya do. I was riding my bike and that would just have to be good enough. I finished just in time to wait about 10 minutes to watch the 123s finish thier 80 mile race. Which was awesome cause I was able to watch Eric come through solo for the win for SHAMA! Ok....back to the house to eat and rest before going back to the TT. I was a little too relaxed about getting there and found myself slipping on my white shoe covers and new Lazer Tardiz tt helmet with 5 minutes before my start time. Who needs a warm up for a 3.75 mile tt??? (thumbs up and silly grin on face) This guy!
I get in line and I don't know the guy infront of me but he looked as serious as I looked and behind me was Todd Stamm, a friend of mine on my old team, so I quickly began to talk smack to him about how this is the last time he will see me till the finish. My time came and I quickly displayed my power by sprinting up to 30 miles per hour before sitting down and settling in to my aero bars. This lasted for maybe the first .75 miles. Then it began to hurt...bad! I had to back it down...shift...catch my breath and try to get the acid out of my legs that quickly reminded me they already gave me a 30 mile TT in the morning after my flat. I settled in again and found myself at 27 and was gaining on my 30 second man. AWESOME! I AM GOING TO KILL IT!!! I hit the line barely able to keep myself from throwing up the Raising Cane's chicken tenders I had for lunch. No sooner did I down shift and start to brake here comes Todd rolling up on me. That dude nearly caught me! Here I am feeling good about my TT and here comes this guy putting just under 30 seconds into me. No matter...I did the best I could and left everything out there. Time to party! We all seemed a bit more tired after that than the rr in the morning. Got back to the house and found the girls and Jorge drinking this wonderful frozen Daiquiri mix from a gallon jug that they got from a drive through. Yes, only in Louisiana!!!! We showered and 18 of us mobbed a nice eating establishment for dinner and good times. Probably one of the best parts of the weekend...just everyone cutting up and talking about the racing that morning as well as just about anything else. Post dinner...Sonics was calling my name and I had to get a Sonic Blast. Did I need it? No...but I enjoyed it none the less. Morning came...I got to the races in time to watch LOWDA attack for the hot spot points and then watch her sprint for the win! I was PUMPED! I saw my effort yesterday in the TT was good enough for 10th place. Had I not flatted I could be in my goal...a top ten. But I am not so what to do??? I notice my friend Todd is in first with the fastest TT. I talked to him and his team mates and said I am in for helping. I would rather see a friend keep his first GC win than try to race for myself since I am second to last in GC. I knew there were some strong teams there that would go for the hot spot and finish to take back time on him. The crit started and I waited a couple laps to warm up and feel the rhythm. Then I started having tons of fun. Attacking the other teams after they pulled, covering attacks and sitting in on them, and then I happened to be off the front when the hot spot lap bell rung. I was caught going into the last turn but then I just ramped it up even more giving it all I had to till the contenders came around me to sprint to the line...Blake (Houston boy sitting in 3rd) nipped 4th place on the line for the time bonus helping Todd keep his lead for now. That effort to the line was hard and I totally blew myself up and was expected to get dropped. As I barely turn the pedals over at 20mph I roll back into a tired group. I guess I did a good job to make everyone tired. So I recovered too and started attacking and driving the pace all over again. Finally I pulled out with two to go to watch the finish. I was done and did all I could do. The result of my sacrificed race??? Todd won GC overall and Blake Krause 3rd overall, so I was proud of that. Not to mention Jorge got some great pics of us all out there. Myself and others that raced could not have done it without the help and support of our team mates and loved ones out there. A special thanks to Aimee and her parents for letting us stay at their house and for Aimee, Joy and Lynn being the best hand up, pre and post race crew anyone could ever have. I drove home tired but happy with a great weekend of racing with great friends! Next year... I want revenge on that road race course!