Well we are just about to head down to the twilight Criterium here at the Cascade Classic in Bend, Oregon. Tonight's stage will be stage 4 of 5 and if the previous stages have been any indication - it will be very fast. The event started on Tuesday night with a short 3km prologue in and around the Old Mill District (right where they held Cyclocross Nationals this past December). I was quite happy with my ride, the elevation took a punch out of me though. I still placed 20th overall, top amateur and held onto 2nd place behind Andrew Pinfold (United Healthcare) through the first half of the event.
Come Wednesday though I knew my life would get difficult. Race organizers included Mackenzie Pass for the first time in 8 years and the 4,000 foot ascent at kilometre 50 made the race very difficult. I got popped quite quickly but was able to find a group of riders and make it through to the finish (at the summit of the steeper but shorter Three Sisters climb) within the 115% time cut. The team had a great ride and Roman Van Uden slotted into 17th in the young riders classification and 50th overall after hanging onto the second group up the brutal finish climb. It was hot too! 35 degrees. Since only 150 of the 200 starters were allowed to start the criterium, my goal for the rest of the week was to solidify a spot. After stage one I sat 163 out of 170 remaining riders.
Thursday the race stayed in town for a 26km individual time trial. The uphill (3-5%) out and back has been used many times over past competitions here in Bend (National Championships and the Classic) so some of the guys have run the course upwards of eight times! I enjoyed my first run on the course and despite cramping in the final push to the line, I placed 4th in the team and 71st overall, 3.35 back of fast man Ben Day who averaged 30.5 mph! I also moved up to 153rd of 159 riders as some were time cut.
Friday was another very hard mountain stage with a 25km climb right out of the start. I got popped at the 36th minute and suffered over the top of the climb to jump into the grupetto for the day. An hour later, our seven man group joined up with another dozen riders up the road and we made our way towards Bachelor Ski Resort. In the final 20km, the road went up again and although it wasn't as close as Stage 1, I was relieved when our team manager told me later that afternoon that I had indeed made the time cut. This also moved me up to 149th of 150 remaining riders as all riders behind me in the GC had dropped out. So in short I earned my right to start tonight's criterium and sore wrist or not, I am stoked for the chance to represent the Yellow. Last year there was 15,000 spectators and over the radio today I heard the advertisements so its going to be hot, dangerous and loud - ya hoo!
Here are a few shots from our team spin this morning around Bend. Thanks again to our gracious hosts this week: Chris and Rich Frey and Dr. Kerie. It's been very relaxing!
Labels: Road Report