Showtime: Time Trial!
After all the preparation, all the credit card debt for equipment, and way too much driving, it was finally time to race, beginning with the 38 K time trial. Mike and Joe had brought their bikes in to the race headquarters hotel upon arrival yesterday to verify the legality of the last-minute modifications, and all was good (thanks again, Pro Peloton!). Tales were told by racers who were cutting bars off in their hotel rooms last night, and Mike and Joe were glad to have missed that drama.
Before checking into the hotel yesterday, Mike and Joe pre-rode the course, and (Burt: stop reading here) loved it. Rolling power hills, gentle turns through shady woods, and mostly good to great pavement made the blue boys eager to throw it down on the undulating riverside course.
The day broke overcast and cool, and it looked like ideal race weather. Then, as we began our warm-ups on the trainers, a light rain started to fall. Fortunately, it lightened, then stopped during the racing, and wasn't really a factor. Joe was down the ramp first, at 9:13. 10 pedal strokes into his race, his legs were already aching, and he realized that, for the second year in a row, his fast legs had gone AWOL somewhere in the Midwest during the trip out. When his 30 second man came blowing by, Joe tried to ramp it up, and ended up in a duel over the rest of the course, passing and being re-passed several times. When the misery was finally over, Joe crossed the line at 54:51, in 17th place. Joe's secret dreams of a top 10 ride crushed, he tried to console himself with the improvement on last year's 26th spot. He wanted to blame the bike, but Mike quickly (hey, that's a pun!) disproved that notion.
Mike went off at 9:47 at the end of the rain shower, and felt comfortable the whole ride. Starting 3rd from last, he had fast boys behind him, and was caught by his 30 second man. He was able to stay with him, though, and settled in at a rapid pace. Riding mostly side by side to avoid drafting, they caught rider after rider, some of whom hopped on the back of the train, risking disqualification. Mike was able to take back a couple of seconds at the end, and stopped the clock at 53:55, good for 6th place, one notch higher than last year!
After re-fueling with sandwiches and frozen coffee drinks, the boys climbed on their road bikes (boy, did those feel strange at first) to check out the road race course, since it will be closed for racing the rest of the week. Littered with power climbs, and constantly twisting and turning, the course is anything but boring. It appears to be a good course for Bill and Joe, but time will tell.
In the meantime, Bill Simmons flies in tonight at 7:30, so Mike and Joe will be heading to the airport to pick him up. After a day of preparation, Bill races the road race at noon on Wednesday, with Mike following at 2 PM. Joe races Thursday, and in the meantime has search and rescue teams scouting I-70 across 3 states, hoping to spot any sign of his legs along the roadside.