Green Mountain Stage Race Report

I did this race last year and got my butt handed to me on 3 out of 4 stages.  But it was so fun!  I don't know why!  So I came back.  I dunno.  It's different and hard and great and beautiful and expensive and hard.

Did I mention it's hard?

So yeah.

Stage 1:  TT

Last year I got crushed in the TT, but I set a power record for 18 minutes, so it still made me feel good because 'cross season is just around the corner and I feel like setting power records on the cusp of cross season is a good thing.

(I can't tell you how low this number is because you'll laugh at me)

So the goal this year was to set a power record again.  And I met my goal!

But, I only beat 4 out of 67 people because TT's are dumb and other people are good pedaling and being aerodynamic.

The Official B2C2 General Classification Threat (tm) started 60 seconds behind me and caught me about 12 minutes in.  I did not provide a draft as I am a SPORTSMAN not a cheater (yeah Lance, you heard me) but roasting me did give him a massive psychological boost that propelled him to 35th on GC (aka "bottom half").

Stage 2:  Circuit Race Road Race

If you remember last year's blog post I said something like "someday Gary will wake up and realize promoting GMSR is too much work, so get it while you can."  I feel like this stage is a great example of this, because he had to go full Weasels brand (tm) and completely change the venue with like one week's notice because of unfinished road construction.

So yeah, thanks Gary!

Apparently this course is the Killington Road Race course, but without the finish climb, and with a few other tweaks.  I've never done Killington (it doesn't have a crit, sorry) but other people seemed to know what we were in for.

There's a mile at 7% just basically as soon as the neutral ends, and the first sprint for the KOM jersey happens at the top of it.  BOY IT'S A GOOD THING I'M HERE TO SMASH POWER RECORDS!  Because I completely annihilated my 5-minute record here, and when I got near the top to see how much further I could sag back, the answer was.... there's only 3 guys behind you.

Then I was honestly lightheaded for the next half hour as descended gradually down the river valley and blood returned to my brain.

Lil Mikey the GC threat drifted back to my position at the rear of the peloton and was VERY EXCITED to find out I was still in contact, which I guess is nice but also kind of insulting.

I threw some gels into my body trying to get heavyheaded again and prepared for the next climb, which was a modest 7 miles at 2.7%.  

For 6 miles of it, everything seemed fine, and then the big ballers started accelerating to sprint for the KOM and things got not-fine, but that was okay because I'm sure the KOM line is at the top of the hill, right?

HA HA somehow there's an uphill feed zone after the KOM, and while Lil Mikey reported that people "pretty much eased off after the KOM," I can report that those of us back in the cheap seats were lined out chewing on our stems for like a solid mile after the KOM.

But I did manage to hang on over climb #2, which meant all I had to do was get over the smallest climb of note now and I'd be home free.

The "small climb" was only 5% for a mile on dirt, and went pretty okay for me, right up until we went over the summit and I discovered that some people had let some gaps open, and were now going to turn those gaps into DANGEROUS GAPS by being totally unwilling to send the dirt descent.

So I jumped across some DANGEROUS GAPS using my August Adventure Enduro Road Biking experience, and caught the guy in the leader's jersey at the base of the descent.  He was doing a lot of braking.  But don't worry, he put THREE MINUTES on me in the TT so you better believe he's going to solve this problem with WATTS! as soon as we get off the dirt.

(good god even staying on his wheel was murder)

But eventually we got back to the front group.  I looked behind me and the road was EMPTY.  There were maybe 30 guys here.  Holy crap, we just shelled half the field!  And I made the cut!

Unfortunately, thirty Cat 3s don't want to pull.  And 30 Cat 3s chasing 30 Cat 3s *really* want to pull.  So ten minutes later, everyone else showed up, and all my excruciating watt-dumping was for naught.

And since this was my 2nd-longest ride of the year, I was pretty much toast.  It seemed to be a fairly universal condition, since even in my toasted and cramping state I was able to move up on the last hill and launch a pathetic seated "sprint" for 23rd.

Official B2C2 GC Threat and Protected Sprinter Mikey got 4th due entirely to the emotional support I provided him by not getting dropped on the first climb, you're welcome Mike.

Stage 3:  Road Race

Queen Stage!  App Gap!  Oh and it's 45 and raining because of Hurricane Harvey!

I woke up at 4:30 AM on race day with clothing anxiety. 

I wore literally every warm item of clothing I brought.

5 minutes before the start, it was cloudy and humid and I seriously considered ditching some of my clothes.

Holy CRAP am I glad I didn't, because it started raining as we rolled out and didn't stop until that evening.  If you underdressed for this stage, you died and/or dropped out.  But it's a stage race, so if you drop out, you don't get to crit!  And that's no way to live.  Despite the number of shivering dudes with bare legs in the first hour, only 8 guys didn't finish from our field.  Good job team!

After last year, my goal here was to not get shelled on Middlebury gap.  I calculated that I needed to go about 40 seconds (5%) faster to make.  Well, I weigh 2% less than last year... so if I could make 3% more power... I could make it... right?

Well, I made 1.9% more power and got super-duper-mega-extra shelled.  It probably didn't help that I started the climb at the back of the group feeling horrible, but I swear they climbed faster this year.  In any case, I started the descent chasing solo with the wheel car barely in sight.  Remember how I got roasted in the TT because I'm not strong/aerodynamic?  Yeah, after about 2 minutes I couldn't see the wheel car and after about 5 minutes I gave up.

Just like last year, I got picked up by the grupetto and we drank rainwater and road grit and sadness for an hour all the way to the bottom of Baby Gap.

At this point I was once again on my second-longest ride of the season *and* out of food (whoops) so when the grupetto was like "hey let's smash some threshold on Baby Gap just cuz we can" I pulled out my parachute and initiated a grupetto from the grupetto featuring just myself.

Even with a pacing strategy of "anything over 200w is fine" the last hour was brutal.  Anyone who was able to muster a genuine race effort in those conditions amazes me -- heading up the last kilometer, it was all I could do to not fall over.  Heck, the guy who got 3rd in 4/5 40+ crossed the line RUNNING!

Jon Nable took this picture of the grim reaper watching me on the final pitch to the summit.

They had a heated tent, and shuttles (and ambulances) at the top, because people were having some truly "epic" experiences -- but as someone who was wearing all the clothing he owned, I was able to skip all that and hustle back down the hill before losing my heat from the climb.

GC THREAT MIKEY moved into 15th because he's a a hardo with good insulation and/or watts per kilo.

Stage 4:  THE BEST CRIT EVER!

Obviously I felt like utter garbage when I woke up on crit day.  I had a pretty strong feeling I was not alone in this situation.  Fueled by coffee and dreams of enacting revenge on skinny climbers who can't turn, we headed to Burlingtron.

The crit did not disappoint.  There was wind and corners and hills and drafting.  It was hard, but not too hard (unlike, say, every hill we rode up this weekend).  I was able to stay near the front if I put my mind to it.

15TH PLACE ON GC THATS ONE UPGRADE POINT LIL MIKEY obviously owed me for all the emotional support I had given him over the past 3 days so he was all over (and off) the front "controlling the race" or whatever it is teammates do during crits when they know they can't sprint.

At five laps to go he asked me "HOW DO YOU FEEL" and I said "VIABLE," and he went straight to the front and attack-chased the break of 3 that was threatening to reach the just-give-up-it's-sticking point.
Look at him go!  (via Jon)

There is nothing more insulting to a Cat 3 field than a 130-lb guy succesfully attacking them into a headwind on a downhill, so they got ANGRY after that and brought Mikey back.

It was so fun chasing Mike, that they kept chasing the break now that they had first hand evidence that pedaling hard brings back breaks.

We were closing on the break, but also closing in on SPRINT TIME!  With one lap to go, everyone in the field decided they were a kilo specialist and started launching all-in bridge efforts to get to the break.  We were lined out and gaps were opening everywhere and I was like "hmm this is much more hurty and complicated situation to manage than last year."  

I gambled on the wrong wheel (protip:  never trust a guy on the hoods to close a gap in the last lap) and came into the final corner in 7th wheel (gross) but carrying a lot more speed than anyone ahead of me (yay).  For a brief second, I thought I saw a gap through all six bodies ahead of me (we caught the break at the last corner), but it was not to be -- someone filled the gap, I stopped pedaling for a second, and that was the end of my totally unrealistic slingshot dreams.

I ended up getting 6th by one pixel because I'm too cool to bike throw for non-podium spots.

Here's the video of the last 3 laps:



Now if you made it to the end of this you might think that LIL MIKEY is my new wife, but that is not true, my REAL WIFE Christin was also along for this entire ridiculous four day trip and she was similarly on the survive-3-days-to-race-a-crit program.  In said crit she MADE MOVES, TOOK PRIMES AND ATE WIND which was much better than last year when she, umm, got shelled.  Which made me very proud of her.

Angelica Dixon took so many great photos at GMSR, here is one them!
She and I made the drive home beaming from a sweet weekend, some epic (tm) rides, a ripping crit and absolutely terrible GC results.  See you next year!

Comments

rick is! said…
kick ass. almost makes me want to go. not really.
rick is! said…
new comment for follow up e-mails.
rick is! said…
new comment to make sure i'm getting follow up e-mails.
rick is! said…
*edit* i'm getting them but to my gmail (egad!) so i'm not going to bother

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