Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tour de Gruene weekend

Tour de Gruene is a fun weekend of riding and some time trials that are not sanctioned races but have had the likes of Lance Armstrong and Eddy Merckx racing the two man team time trial on Sunday in previous years and many of the regulars enjoying the Wurstfest on Saturday night then trying to TT Sunday morning. The town is beautiful and the support of the locals is amazing...then there is the along River Road is the best. The difference of these time trials is on Saturday there is AG based categories that also play into whether or not you were on a TT bike or Merckx (on your road bike) style. On Sunday its the same for the two person as well as coed teams and tandems. Its bike racing and riding at its best.

Several weeks ago Martin was looking around for a team partner and since I was already going to support my girlfriend who was also racing the two person with Amy Brown, I figured what the heck. Problem was, I had sold my Guru CR901 to a friend who had a cracked QR a week out from Vineman, and then I built up a Guru CR301 for a stage race and after those 5 miles of racing I had an offer on it and sold it as well. SO.....I had to order another 901 and used the DFU to tweak the fit some and change the geometry since my last build I have lost some lbs and ride shorter cranks which lets me stretch out a bit more. Ok, the problem was, week of the race I had no frame...till Tuesday. Wednesday I finished building it up and Brian Jones (my newly certified Retul fitter) helped me with the fit getting it dialed in and Thursday morning I rode it for 40 minutes around the picnic loop at Memorial Park. Didn't hurt but definitely NOT in shape for TTs or tris. But the bike was just too sexy not to get out and race this weekend. I set it up with my HED Stinger disc and Stinger 9 front cause you go big or go home on a TT right? Well on Friday what shows up at the shop? The brand new Mavic CXR 80 wheel set. Its a wheel tire system with a rubber lip that sits into the wheel after the tire is glued on creating what looks like a seamless smooth transition from rim to tire, taking the aerodynamics of wheel and tires to a new level. This set is not even UCI legal, thankfully I have no risk of racing UCI events. hahaha So I had to race these wheels to test them out, I mean, after all its my job to know how this stuff works right???

We had a great ride Saturday on road bikes cruising around and checking out the course. That evening we had some of the team that was out to race at a home in New Braunfels for dinner and had the best time and some pasta to get ready for what should be a fun day. Fun it was! I got out to the course start early and cruised around on the 901 getting a scone at a coffee shop and checked out the start and finish areas before getting suited up for our start. I got all pinned up and saw our number was 6 and realized they were counting backwards from like the 200s. What the heck time did he put for our start I wondered? I asked some guys with another low number and they said it was all based on estimated pace. That's when I find out Martin put us down at 26mph+ category. OMG! REALLY?!?! I am thinking like 22 is good out here on this course. Thankfully I had faith in my partner in being a good time trialist (he won his category the day before) and had faith in myself knowing I can draft well. I see him at the start and I made sure that we were going to start off moderate before kicking it in. I figured I would start so I could set a pace I am comfortable with and so I could figure my new rig and its handling. Well we are about 2 miles in and I am thinking I am going too hard and my legs hurt, thinking Martin is going to come around me I feel a bike approaching. It was our 30 second guys. WTH! Martin comes up and I ask "was I going that slow?" to which he replied NO and then he took the turn on the front. The next 10 miles were tough, I was unsure of the rig in corners, figuring out my cadence and rhythm on the rig in race mode. I pulled up next to Martin at one point and he mentioned his legs were tired (as they should be from the day before) at which point we even got passed by the guys with "1" as their number who later won with the fastest time of the entire day and beat us by 7 minutes. Instead of being bummed out by being passed I realized the class of riders we were around and used them as carrots as not to let them pull away so quickly. By the end of River Road I had new faith in my rig in corners, had found my rhythm and was ready to turn it up a bit. We still had one monster hill to climb, on which I found out I have a weird front shifting issue as it took a little bit for my chain to get to my small ring (the joys and risk of racing a new rig right away) and just took it easy up the hill. That is where Mandy and Amy took that photo above of us, in my 39/25 at 9 mph. HOLY CRAP that hill sucked! We made it in and had a nice downhill after that that I hit 41mph on in my aerobars loving it and feeling very stable even with the wind of cars passing us on the road. Our finish was kinda slow, I took it easy in the last two turns and we hit the finish shoot kinda slow too. We were both done and both pretty happy to be done. We both looked at each other as if to know it but not wanting to say it. We should have trained together on TT bikes and talked more. But hey, you don't know till you try and the next time we know we have a lot to improve on. Don't read that as a disappointment though, we averaged 24.5mph on a course with over 1000ft of climbing and I could not be happier...even though in our division which had the fastest time of the day, we were 7th and just a minute away from 4th. Overall I couldn't be happier and could not have done it with out my team mate Martin Juul. Now, I have a new fire and want to race my 901 some more....
See ya on the road....