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Tour de Frankenmuth and West Branch

07 Jun 2012 8:38 PM | Anonymous

I am a couple of weeks behind with posting up results of my USCF racing.  One, between the new baby and all of the training/racing, I am finding myself short on time.  Two, it is not as fun to post up results when you are not making the podium. 

Frankenmuth, with bright sunny skies covering the rest of the country, it was naturally cold and raining for most of the Tour de Frankenmuth.  The race itself was not overly exiting, just a typical road race with attacks and chases, at one point I was part of a 7 man break that I am really still not sure how it failed.  A sharp corner at about 1K out leading into a downhill sprint made for an extra nervous peloton over the last few miles.  I fought hard to stay in just the right position, about six back, then at about 2K out it happened, a group of about 10 cyclists made an illegal pass about 5-feet on the other side of a double yellow line.  I was caught completely off guard, as were most of the others that the cyclists passed and despite the very vocal outrage of many in the peloton the 10 didn’t as much as glance over their shoulder.  I quickly found myself sitting in a real bad spot heading into the final corner and narrowly missed crashing when me and two other cyclists locked handlebars/shoulders.  Now finding myself far back in the field, my only option was to try to thread it down the left side between the field and barriers keeping people from going into oncoming traffic.  After striking a couple barriers at over 40mph, I decided that it wasn’t worth hitting the deck and called it a day finishing 19th. 

West Branch, the wet and chilly trend continued to the West Branch road race, on top of the cold and rain we were met with strong 20-25mph winds.  For those who have not raced West Branch, it is certainly not a flat race, with the finish crested on top of a 1.2 mile hill that is about 6-8% the first portion and then kicks to 10-12% over the last 700 meters, our field climbed this hill a total of 3 times.  This race is a race that rewards strength and suffering, so I came into it looking to make up for my poor finish in Frankenmuth and hopefully find myself on top of the podium.  Within the first 15 miles of the race I found myself in an early break away with three other very capable guys, but we were brought back after about 10 miles.  After suffering my way up the hill for the 2nd time I discovered that I had a flat front tire.  I had wheels in the wheel car and there was 22-miles left in the race, but the pace of the field was really picking up, I was using my tubulars so the tire itself was not totally flat, just real soft.  So I had a decision to make, change the wheel and try to chase back on, or try to make it to the end with a flat front tire.  I decided to try to stick it out, keeping as much weight as possible off of the front tire.  I managed to make it through the last 22-miles, but by the time I made it around to the final climb my tire was unglued from the wheel and made it completely impossible to stand at all on the climb.  Despite the flat tire I did the best I could to suffer my way up the hill and managed a 9th place finish.

The criterium was nothing really exciting, just 45 minutes of high speed racing.  The last half of the race a real hard working guy who always seems to get the short end of the stick at the end of races managed to ride his way off of the front .  Having been in a few breaks with the guy and having lots of respect for him as a cyclist I decided that I was going to have no part in chasing and left it up to the rest of the field to bring him back.  Well the theme of the Cat 3 group seems to do as little as possible and hope someone else does all of the work (typically me and a couple of other guys in the field), so by 4 laps to go his solo lead had grown to over 30 seconds and it was obvious that he was going to go all the way.  I then positioned myself for the final sprint making my way to about 4th or 5th wheel, but just before the final corner the field moved up along my left and right hand side totally boxing me in.  I tried to make a move on the inside of the corner, but quickly found myself pinched off into the gravel.  From there it was all about making up as many spots as possible for an 11th place finish. 


  • 12 Jun 2012 8:22 AM | Tim Eckel
    You should still be excited about a 9th place finish riding 22 miles on a flat tire to a hilltop finish. Great job! It's early in the year, you'll get your podium soon enough.

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