Tour de Rock – Week 7 – Mountain Stage – Mooseman Triathlon

23.9 miles, 1:26 time, 1400 ft elevation

This is the Tour de Rock Mountain Stage, with 3 KOM spots. The Mooseman Course was a long course, with steep hilly spots all throughout. My legs were not fresh; they were still recovering from Sunday’s Boney Mountain Trail Run (21K ~ 13.1mi). I got to the House of Pain very early; I didn’t want to be late like the previous week which really affected the team’s over all time. I was ready to go, but not sure how the night would turn out. I tried to keep up with the A guys for a bit, but once the first steep climb hit, I was off the back. While watching my power, I could tell I was suffering. My power was down about 20W, at least. Usually, I can hold ~200W for a one hour effort. I knew I had to keep my power consistent and not blow up, because there were steep climb all the way to the end. After the first descent, maybe around mile 5, Trevor had a blowout flat, that sounded like a gun shot. I was sitting right next to him and almost jumped out of my bike, luckily I was clipped in! While Trev fixed his flat, I caught up and passed him. I was pushing hard the rest of the night so that he didn’t catch up. At the half way point, my mind drifted into slight panic mode and said ‘hey, I’m pretty tired and you got a long way to go.’ I said back, ‘shut up and just keep going’ and in the back of my mind, I was thinking, I better finish.

Bill’s reports below the pics.

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Bill’s Course Description

This week, we start to climb. The course profile for this week is a slightly truncated version of the Mooseman course.  It’s 23.9 miles, with about 1,400 feet of climbing overall.  While perhaps not a ton of climbing in total, the climbs that are there are tough.  Very little of the climbing is easy or moderate.  A number of these ramps get into double-digits, and they are all there to sap your legs.  

KOM points will be on offer this week.  We have a Cat 1 at the second peak after the start, a Cat 2 at the second sawtooth peak about 1/3 of the way in, and a final Cat 2 at the high point of the course near the end.

Bill’s Report – A Group

The overall complexion of the race changed tonight.  Once again, the Merchants brought their speed to the “A” race, and after weeks and weeks of behind behind, they finally caught the Cannibals.  Riding for the Merchants were Tyler, Peter, Bob & Trevor.  The Cannibals were Scott, Jeff, Kirk & Joe.

Bearing in mind that this course was reputed to be a bit tough, the start of the stage was not a mad scramble, but rather an orderly group procession towards the first climb of the day.  It wasn’t until that climb that the fireworks started, but they did start.  As soon as he hit the climb, Tyler started a 400+ watt surge, followed by Peter.  The others tried to hang on for as long as they could, but things quickly got strung out, and riders started dropping off.  By the end of that first short (but steep) climb, Trevor, Joe, Scott and Bob had all dropped off the front, and a short time later Kirk dropped back, followed by Jeff, leaving Peter & Tyler on their own.

As the riders moved into their first fast descent at about Mile 1.8, a gunshot was heard and a terrorist wrestled to the ground. Actually, something which sounded like a gunshot was heard, and Trevor was forced to pull off as his rear tire had “done blowed up”.  It took him several minutes to get the bike off the trainer, get the old wheel off, get it replaced and get the bike back on the trainer, by which time the crowd was long gone, leaving him to do the rest of the stage on his own.  Trevor had been with Joe as the others had opened a gap, and his sudden disappearance left Joe on his own for the rest of the stage, too.

Further up, Kirk had hooked up with Jeff for a while, but a strong climb by Jeff on the second short (but steep) climb put Kirk into danger, and he dropped away at about Mile 2.3.  Behind him, Bob was finding his pace, and was starting to close the gap, and together with Scott, linked back up with Kirk and then bridged up to Jeff.  At the front, Peter was the first over KOM 1, followed closely by Tyler, while Kirk was able to surge away from his small group and take third for that climb.  His group of four continued for a short while onto the next fast descent, but Kirk was screaming downhill, stringing them all out.  Scott was the first casualty, dropping off the back of this high-speed run, and then at Mile 3.5 a gap opened between Kirk and the Jeff/Bob group, leaving Kirk to sail on unmolested.  Bob was the next to use gravity to his advantage, opening a gap on Jeff.

The sharp climbs and fast descents were working their magic again tonight, as groups formed, broke up, and new groups re-formed out of the debris.  In this case, Scott was able to surge back, catching Jeff and linking up with him at Mile 4.5.  Further up, Bob was putting in a heroic long-term push to catch Kirk.  Kirk responded bravely, but Bob was not to be denied, and after a long chase, finally hooked up with Kirk at Mile 5.4.  Kirk had apparently not spent all his marbles on his response, and counter-attacked shortly thereafter, dropping Bob at Mile 5.6.  However, Bob wasn’t ready to admit defeat, and once again went on the long chase, finally catching Kirk again at Mile 6.1.

Once these two were together again, the effort of the attacks and chases was showing a bit, and they settled into a recovery pace.  This, of course, allowed Jeff and Scott back into the fray, and using their endurance power, they were able to hammer back Bob & Kirk about a half-mile later.  Once together, they hit the bottom of KOM 2 as a group, but the short (but steep) climb of KOM 2 shattered that group, with Scott and Kirk unable to hold the climbing pace of Jeff and Bob.  While Peter was first over KOM 2, again followed closely by Tyler (they apparently had a deal on the KOM points), Jeff was able to hold off Bob in a hard-fought battle for third on that KOM.

Once over the top, the hard pace on the climb forced Jeff and Bob into something of a recovery pace, allowing Scott and Kirk to bring them back on the descent.  Once this group of four got back together, the fun began as the “roadies” started to work on the “triathletes”.  Bob and Kirk took turns putting hard surges into Scott and Jeff starting at about Mile 7, and continuing for a couple of miles.  While the “roadies” had the “triathletes” in trouble a couple of times and forced some hard chases to get back on, the “triathletes” were able to hang on, barely.  However, in the end, these attacks took their toll, and the “triathletes” were able to counter-attack successfully, with Scott going off the front of the group.  Shortly thereafter, Jeff was able to pull away from Kirk and Bob, and did a very hard chase to hook back up with Scott at Mile 10.1.

Once Jeff was away, Bob and Kirk took turns seeing who could do the least amount of work and get the other to pull.  This allowed Scott and Jeff to consolidate their gap, and get on with the business of working together to finish as quickly as possible.  Kirk tried several times to drop Bob and had him off the back twice, but Bob was able to summon reserves and work his way back.  Kirk tried another attack at Mile 11, and on this one, Bob staged a counter-attack and was able to pull a small gap of about 100 feet on Kirk.  Kirk chased, and Bob responded.  The gap opened and closed slightly as Kirk tried valiantly to catch back on, but he was never able to fully close the gap, as it seemed Bob had a response for each surge Kirk was able to produce.  Finally, after 1 1/2 miles of chase, Kirk finally pulled the plug at Mile 12.5.

Once this occurred, the groups and gaps were pretty much set until the end.  Peter was first again over KOM 3, followed by Tyler, and Jeff was able to out-surge Scott on this last climb to take third.  Scott was looking a little dicey on the climbs as the miles wore down, and there were a few times he looked like he might not be able to hold the pace, but in each case, he dug deep and found the will to continue.

Coming to the line, the final results were: Tyler and Peter at 1:06:09; Scott and Jeff at 1:14:09; Bob at 1:16:26; Kirk at 1:17:56; Joe at 1:26:55 and Trevor at 1:32:26.  In the overall, the Merchants were able to pick up about 13 minutes this night, not only closing the overall gap to the Cannibals, but going into the overall lead by about 3 minutes with a total time to date of 59:08:38, compared to the Cannibals’ 59:11:41.

In the KOM points, the standings are as follows:

Peter
85
Tyler
51
Bryan
27
Deanna
21
Jeff Ku
18
Steve
14
Jeff Block
12
Gregg
8
Amy
5
Kirk
5
Phil
4
Scott
3

The individual leaderboard looks like this:

Place
Name
Total Time
Gap
1
Tyler
6:35:24
0:00:00
2
Peter
6:37:58
0:02:34
3
Kirk
7:09:38
0:34:14
4
Jeff
7:12:33
0:37:09
5
Scott
7:18:50
0:43:26
6
Gregg
7:23:27
0:48:03
7
Bob
7:25:40
0:50:16
8
Steve
7:32:15
0:56:51
9
Bryan
7:32:38
0:57:14
10
Amy
7:42:00
1:06:36
11
Deanna
7:43:53
1:08:29
12
Trevor
8:00:34
1:25:10
13
Rudy
8:04:36
1:29:12
14
Joe
8:08:12
1:32:48
15
Tiffany
8:17:59
1:42:35
16
Mike Bowdish
8:22:19
1:46:55
17
Sue
8:22:21
1:46:57
18
Phil
8:23:21
1:47:57
19
Allen
8:23:22
1:47:58
20
Mike Wade
8:39:44
2:04:20
21
Lynda
8:39:44
2:04:20

Next week, we have a mountaintop finish.  It should be interesting to see who can pick up some time there.  Have a great week!!

Bill’s Report – B Group
Tonight was a hard-won victory for the Cannibals, who narrowly prevailed over the Merchants.  Riding for the Cannibals tonight were Bryan, Gregg, Tiffany & Deanna.  The Merchants were represented by Phil, Rudy, Amy & Steve.

After the group stayed together for at least a mile, Bryan surged on the first small (but steep) climb, stringing out the field and dropping Deanna & Tiffany off the back. Shortly after, Rudy fell off, unable to hold the pace, then Amy fell back.  This left Bryan off the front, followed by Greg & Phil together, then Steve, Amy, Rudy, Deanna & Tiffany (all strung out and separate from each other).  Steve then started to come alive, and brought Amy back up to Phil & Greg, forming a group of four. Then, on the next short (but steep) climb, Phil and Amy got together and got away from Steve & Greg.  Rudy continued to fall back, and was eventually caught by Deanna at Mile 2.65.  Meanwhile, Tiffany had pushed hard, passing Rudy and settling in behind the chase group of four.  At the top of the first KOM, the three riders getting points were Bryan, Phil and Amy (in that order).  However, on that first climb Bryan found that, even though he brought his tri bike (instead of the road bike he rode last week), he couldn’t get that bike to shift into the small ring either, so this was another hilly ride done in the big ring by Mr. Mechanical.

Shortly afterward, Steve and Gregg surged, catching back up to Amy and Phil at Mile 3.3.  Then, at Mile 4, Steve continued to push the pace and dropped the other three riders for good.  After getting passed by Tiffany & Deanna, Rudy decided to push hard, and in doing so, first passed Deanna, then caught Tiffany at Mile 4, eventually dropping her at Mile 5.

Towards the front, Phil dropped his chain at about Mile 5.5, and Rudy was able to make a strong comeback (bringing Tiffany with him), such that both caught Phil at Mile 6.5.  On the steep 2nd KOM, Tiffany used her weight (or lack thereof) to advantage, dropping Phil and Rudy. Meanwhile, Steve continued his chase of Bryan, with Amy and Gregg not far behind.  At the top of that 2nd KOM, the first three riders were Bryan, Steve & Amy.

Gregg used his superior weight to drop Amy on the descent off the 2nd KOM, while behind them, Rudy & Phil were able to pull Tiffany back by Mile 8.25.  Once these three got together, they settled into a longer-term pace, with only a couple of attacks by Rudy disturbing the peace.  Ahead of them, Gregg was starting to falter a bit, and realized that he had a brake rubbing issue.  While this was getting sorted out, Amy put in a big effort and was able to pull back up to Gregg at Mile 10.35.  After riding with him for a bit, she was able to drop him on the next climb at about Mile 11.8.  Following her, the Tiffany/Phil/Rudy group were also able to catch Gregg at Mile 12.5, and drop him about 2/10 mile later.

On the next short (but steep) climb, Tiffany was unable to respond to a brutal attack by Phil & Rudy, and was dropped for good at Mile 13.3.  Meanwhile, Gregg had got his mechanical issue fixed, and surged up like crazy, rapidly catching Rudy & Phil and, bringing them with him, making it back up to Amy by Mile 13.8.  Shortly thereafter, however, he surged again and dropped the three Merchants and surged off on his own.

The fight between Gregg and the Amy/Rudy /Phil group was thrilling to watch, as the three of them worked together to try to bring Gregg back.  The course meandered up and down, with the gap constantly expanding and shrinking.  Twice, they had him within 70 feet, but could not seal the deal.  Finally, he was able to open a gap which stayed steadily above 400 feet, but it took until the final KOM for that gap to become solidified.

Deanna finally caught up to Tiffany at Mile 17.5, and the two of them worked together until (almost) the end.  Rudy was starting to have trouble keeping the pace with Amy and Phil, having to make several big surges to catch back on, until he was finally dropped for good at Mile 19.5.  Amy and Phil did appear to wait for him for a bit during his “yo-yo” time, and it was that slowing, whether caused by concern for a teammate or dead legs (or both) which finally allowed Gregg to get away. However, even though he lost his teammates’ draft, Rudy didn’t stop working and managed to stay close to them until the end.

The riders were nicely strung out over the final KOM, with Bryan cresting several minutes before Steve, who was a couple of minutes ahead of Gregg.   The order stayed pretty much settled until the end of the stage, with the only excitement being a last-minute surge by Deanna to drop Tiffany about 1/4 mile from the end, combined with the fact that Bryan was able to pull his right pedal partially out of the crank arm, and had to limp it home.

The final results were: Bryan 1:11:32; Steve 1:16:48; Gregg 1:18:42; Amy 1:19:46; Phil 1:19:46; Rudy 1:20:06; Deanna 1:22:27; and Tiffany 1:22:33.  Overall, the Cannibals were at 5:14:49, beating the Merchants at 5:16:16 by only about 1 1/2 minutes.  So – the Cannibals are clinging to an overall lead of about 9 1/2 minutes, which I’m sure will be under attack tomorrow night.

 

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