Saturday, July 16, 2011

Capitol Reef Classic 2011, Torrey, UT

I spent the last 2 days at a stage race in Utah (Friday and Saturday, cuz apparently Sunday is reserved for other activities).  It's called the Capitol Reef Classic and it was a really great race.  Torrey, UT is simply beautiful in terms of scenery, and the weather was quite agreeable.

The race consisted of 3 stages over 2 days.  Friday was an 8 mile TT and then a 51 mile circuit race, while Saturday was an 81 mile road race. (NO CRIT!)

The TT was flat, super fast, and super fun.  I averaged 28.4 mph and 345w for 16 minutes.  I'm happy with the power.  I thought the course would be more like 20 min, but I'm not really good enough at TTing to work much harder for 16min than I could have for 20, so no complaints.

The TT Start

I'm feeling good on the TT bike now.  I think I went into State TT with not enough practice in my aero position.  I also had a relatively bad TT at Dead dog, so I'd been riding the TT bike 2-3x per week for the last few weeks, and felt a lot better in this race.
Riding back to the car after the TT finish.
I got 2nd.  1st place beat me by 23 seconds, and 3rd place was another 10s back.

I drank a recovery drink, ate a cliff bar, showered at the hotel, suited up, and put my road bike together for the circuit race which started 4 hours after I crossed the finish at the TT.  It sounds like a lot, but it felt like a rush.
Preparing for the Circuit Race

The circuit was 3 laps of a 17 mile loop with 1100 feet of climbing per lap.  There was 1 substantial hill and a lot of rollers.   After a lot of failed attempts by me and others, one guy managed to get off and put 1 minute into the field.  He got away 2/3 into the first lap.  Near the beginning of the second lap, after many more failed attempts, I managed to get away alone for about 1 minute until another guy bridged, and together we caught the OTF guy at the top of the hill.  We worked well together for the remainder of the 2nd and 3rd laps, and came in 50 sec before the rest of the field, which had been working to chase, but hadn't shattered or split.  I pulled the final 2 or 3k since I had the most to gain from putting time into the field.  One of my brakemates came around me easily at the end, but was able to hold off the other for 2nd.  This put me into 1st on GC by 27 sec.

The RR was:  Rollers, small climb, big climb, rollers, descent, rollers.

Lots of people tried to get away in the first set of rollers.  Lots of attacks, but they were all coming from guys near the front, so I was able to shut most of them down alone, with a few other racers chasing down the rest.  About 10 miles in, the guy who had won the circuit race attacked from far enough back to get a clear separation, but was thankfully alone.  With him off the front alone, I was happy to not have to patrol a slow moving pack alone.  People were a little more interested in riding tempo, and each unsuccessful bridge attempt was a surge of speed that kept him on a short leash.

We caught the guy in the middle of the first hill, which we crested without issue.  The second hill was longer, steeper, and more decisive.  By the time it was over, a group of 5 was followed by a group of 4, which I was a part of.  In my group, 1 guy refused to pull since his teammate was ahead, and 1 guy was "too tired" to pull for the first 20 mins or so.  The work was left to me and 1 guy from the Swami's team based in San Diego.
The View from the Second Feed Zone

And then the Pain.

The group of 5 was determined to keep us from catching up, so me and Swami's guy rode ourselves into the ground for 40 minutes on the plateau rollers.  I was drooling all over myself,  but we managed to make the catch just at the bottom of the descent.  Thankfully, as soon as we caught up, everybody was tired from the chasing/trying to stay way, so we just rode easy for the next hour or so.  Another group of 6 or so caught up to us with 10 miles to go, but that didn't matter much.

The final 10 miles was attack after attack.  I had to stay near the front to make sure nobody would get away, but nobody wanted to ride into the wind, so I sat on the front, or if I was lucky, 1 wheel back, and just looked backward the whole time.  Somebody would attack, I'd surge to chase them down, they'd stop once they saw me on their wheel, and then pack would catch up.  Repeat this about 6 times.  It sucked, but I couldn't let anyone get away.  If I had to chase them down once there was any significant gap, I'd bee too exhausted to do it when the next guy went.  This was painful, but I had to hope that the surges were hurting everyone else almost as much as they were hurting me.

We hit the 3k to go sign, which was all aboud 2 or 3% uphill.  3 guys went for it, but none of them were too high on GC.  I sat on 2nd place's wheel until about 1k, after which I just buried my head and powered through to the finish.  I passed some and got passed by others.  I think I came in 6th, but only 5 seconds behind the 3 guys, and in the same pack as all the other GC guys.  I was tired, and spent, but I did what I had to do, and held onto my lead for the stage, so I was thrilled.
Utah is pretty.  And a lot more red than this pic would suggest
Our (sort of) Podium

We parked next to these sheep at the RR and Circuit Race


  1. Well done!!!! Congrats on the gc win and the discipline and toughness to race the way that you did!!