|Cow Country Race Report: Curry|
|Written by John Curry|
|Tuesday, 02 June 2009 13:05|
Alex wrote a nice synopsis of the race below. Inspired by Brad and Brian's recent colorful race reporting I have been putting together this not-so-brief report from my perspective. Sorry if it's a bit repetitive:
It was mile 83 or so. Four front derailleurs downshifted in near unison and we began the last significant climb of the race. The pace was steady and calm into the slight headwind. I felt the surge of adrenaline as I feathered the right shifter and thought about attacking. After working together smoothly for over an hour I was thinking of breaking the fragile alliance. No, I restrained the urge. I tried to rationalize the situation in my fatigued mind. After this half mile climb it was 4 miles mostly downhill before pitching uphill for the final 500 meters. Frank and Josh are explosive lightweight riders, and I didn't fancy my chances in an uphill sprint, especially since Josh had a very strong teammate in Brendan.
The GAS/Intrinsik team had done tremendous work in order to get me to this point, and I wanted to deliver for them.
Sebastian and Nate got in the early break, taking the pressure off the rest of the team. The breakaway contained some dangerous riders though, including super-climber Herzig, and the somewhat unknown but surely strong Brian from NRO. Seb was smart enough to temper his contribution to the break, not wanting to help drag strong rivals towards the finish. Back in the main field, Jason, Tomas, Scott and Brad all worked to cover frequent attacks. "Nails" Morgan was living up to his name, amazingly racing 3 days after hurting his back in a BMX race (he was still too sore to drive a car, but OK to race 90 miles...). Alex sacrificed himself to ride tempo at the front in order to keep the break from getting too much of an advantage. As a result of their work "Freight Train" Frykman and and I were delivered to the base of the desicive climb at mile 40 fresh and ready for the fireworks. Brendan Halpin (NRO) was the instigator, setting a nasty pace and blowing the field to pieces up the 2 mile ascent. Only 5 could follow: Josh (NRO), Frank (MT Velo), Clint (Sportsman), myself, and the Freight Train, who proved that he can climb with the best in Montana. Near the top we caught the remenants of the early break. Seb was the only one able to hang on to our group. We discovered that Brian from NRO had broken free earlier and was off the front solo. Seb and Brian began chasing diligently, and convinced me to save myself. Seb eventually fell off the pace, but thanks to his work the solo rider was within sight. Right before we caught the solo rider a second chase group of 5 came up and joined us from behind, containing our new teammate Scott "Simmons (Gene or Richard?)" Lipp. Brendan counter-attacked and was off the front. He was soon joined by Frykman who used a descent to escape the group. Frank surged at the bottom of the following mile-long climb, bringing me and Josh up to the front. As we caught Frykman and Brendan I was feeling good and upped the pace. Josh was right on me, but we began to pull away, and I kept pushing all the way to the summit. Just behind were Frank and Brendan, and soon the winning move of four was established.
Back to mile 83. Now with the finish approaching, my legs felt as good as they could have considering the previous 4 hours of racing. Frank had seemed to be hurting the last ten miles. Josh looked strong still, I wasn't sure about Brendan. I looked at the other riders' positions relative to me. I didn't want to make it easy for Josh to follow. Without further thought I jumped out of the saddle towards the centerline and accelerated up the climb, trying to ignore the twinging of pre-cramps in my legs. I glanced back after 20 seconds and not surprisingly saw Josh on my wheel. I kept up the pressure anyway and Josh seemed to come unhitched just before the crest. I saw the small gap and pushed over the flat summit, anxiously awaiting the fast descent to recover from the effort. Instead, as I rounded the top I felt a strong headwind that seemed to confirm that I had made a foolish move. I knew I had played my card and there was no going back so I just settled into a pace that I thought I could sustain to the finish. The last few miles were a blur of suffering. I kept looking under my arm to see the three chasers alarmingly close behind. You can see the finish from about 3 miles out, and it looks decievingly close. Finally, a white sign on the shoulder: 200m? No. 1k. Arrgggg... It wasn't until 50m to go that I was sure I had it, with Frank closing fast behind in 2nd. Afterwards my first thought was to find an ice cold Coke (memory from a past Cow Country), but I settled for some delicious water.
Speaking of water, thanks to Josh for loaning me some water late in the race when the neutral water support was MIA. He and Frank, (and Brendan as well) are not just fierce competitors, but about the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Thanks for a great race guys!