Monday, June 15, 2009

Le Tour de Mount Pleasant Race Report

The last minute decision to head to Mount Pleasant for the 1st edition of Le Tour de Mount Pleasant had Michelle and me up at 6:00 am on Saturday frantically packing gear and food. Despite the tacit objections by Michelle, the bike got to enjoy the temperate interior climate of the backseat of the car.

We stopped only when it was really necessary. Like when we stopped in Mackinac City to buy a frog kite. Despite the forecast for rain, the sun was shining and the temps were up around 70. It was a great day for a drive, but it would have been an even better day for a bike ride. The rest of my team was chewing up West End singletrack all day, but my competitive spirit forced me to the streets of Mount Pleasant instead.

The Cat 4 crit was at 5:15pm and I arrived with plenty of time to register and warm up. I ran into fellow yoopers Chris Lynch and Tyler Jenema. Fortunately, none of us were seriously injured.

The crit course was dead flat, a six corner "L" shaped course. I rode the first couple laps about midpack but was very sketched out by some of the riding taking place thereabouts. On the 2nd or 3rd lap a bunch of people went down in a corner. I was inside of them, so was unaffected by the crash. From there on out I tried to stay in the top 8 or so. It was fun jockeying for position and taking different lines through the corners. My legs felt good and I rarely was out of the saddle. I was able to power out of the corners and respond to most attacks staying seated. It actually felt pretty easy (especially compared to the Duluth or SBF crit, which have meaningful hills). I got out of position on the last couple laps and was a little further back than I would have liked coming into the final staightaway to the finish line. As I accelerated to the finish, I got tangled up with another rider who went down. I sprinted it out for 5th place and immediately went back to make sure he was ok. Thankfully he was up and walking and not badly injured.

Take a closer look at this pic and the guy over my left shoulder. Bummer.

I refueled with avocados and beef and drove to the campground where a nice wood fire provided the means to prepare a few s'mores. We slipped into the tent and the slothful, cantankerous, foul-mouthed, dog-kicking, beer-guzzling, vomiting in the trashcan folks in the campsite across the way faded into obscurity as visions of exploding R-Sys wheels danced in my head. They were still partying hard when I awoke to relieve myself at 2 am. I was happy to aim the speakers of my portable music player at their campsite as I prepared breakfast at 6 am. :)

I'm getting sick of typing, so I'll make this quick. The road race was short and flat (insert inappropriate comparison here). 33 miles. We had a pretty big field for the narrow roads we rode. Attacks were flying constantly. I did a lot of chasing from the front early on and eventually thought better of it. I got stuck midpack with nowwhere to go for the middle part of the race. The guys at the front let a kid go at the end and he won by a few seconds. I felt like crap up the finishing stretch. I lassoed Chris Lynch's saddle and he pulled us to the finish line for 12th and 13th.

We hung around and watched the Pro/1/2 race finish. It was exciting to see. Tyler and his team, Priority Health, had a nice showing getting a guy in the break and coming away with a 3rd place finish.

The ride home was as lovely as the ride down. We stopped along M-28 to put the bike on the roof so she could get some fresh air as the sun dropped below the horizon.

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