22.7 mi, 1:16 finish time. 7th finish wk 10, 14th overall.
Thursday was the Finale for the Tour de Rock. The course was the Du Long Course (world championship course in 2007). It started out flat and fast, then there’s some serious climbs (9%). Full course description below. The bummer was that I got off work late and hit a lot of traffic, and I pulled into the race a couple minutes before the race. I had a penalty to calibrate my bike a couple minutes into the race. And I dropped at that point. The rest of the guys took off and there was no way I could catch up, working on my own. I felt pretty good and had my new bike. I had a solid ride. I finished 7th (and we had one guy absent). Overall, our team lost the Tour but we definitely had a great time. Thanks, Bill for running such a fun event. We were talking after the race, and how everybody has to psyche themselves up each week for the race. So true.
Well, here you go – the last course. It’s two laps of the 2007 World Long-Course Duathlon Championship course (the race itself was 4 laps). Total distance is 22.76 miles. Total climbing is 4,099 feet. There will be sprint points at Mile 3.0 and Mile 14.38 (the end of the long flat stretch at the beginning of each lap). KOMs are at: Mile 5.88 (Cat 1); Mile 16.35 (Cat 2), and Mile 17.26 (Cat 1). This means the first KOM is the top of the big hill on the profile during Lap 1; the second is the top of the 2nd-biggest hill on the course (just before the big one) on Lap 2; and the final KOM is the top of the big hill on Lap 2. All of these hills are fairly steep, in the 7-9% range.
This course will be a good test of your ability to keep a good pace, stay close, and keep a clear head. Major sprint and KOM points are on the table, as well as a course to crown a genuine champion in the team competition.
Bill’s Report Group A
Bill’s Report Group B
Tonight – well, the unexpected became the norm, the plans fell apart, and the glasses were all spilt. Riding for the Merchants tonight were Rudy, Mike Wade, Phil & Steve, while the Cannibals were Bryan, Deanna and Tiffany. Yes – they were a man down, as Allen could not make it, and his team missed him greatly.
Right from the start, Bryan went off the front, taking Phil & Rudy with him. Mike Wade dropped off the back, leaving a chase group of Steve, Deanna and Tiffany. Steve chased for a bit, but couldn’t get closer than 200 feet, and soon Bryan pulled his group away. In fact, he pulled so well, that Phil dropped off at Mile 0.85, followed by Rudy at Mile 1. Rudy and Phil soft-pedaled until Steve caught them at Mile 1.45, forming a large chase group behind Bryan.
At the first sprint, Bryan went across first, and Steve surged out of the pack to take second, followed by Deanna. After that sprint, a fateful decision was made, with Phil deciding to drop back and assist Mike so that he would not lose so much time by being on his own. However, Mike had a very hard time catching Phil, only getting there on the descent off the first good climb at about Mile 5.
Steve also yo-yo’d that first climb a bit, but was able to stay close enough to close the gap on the descent. On the first KOM, Deanna and Tiffany led the way, threatening to drop Steve and Rudy. Bryan was first over, followed by Deanna, then Tiffany. However, on the descent off that KOM, the boys (Rudy and Steve) took advantage of their size and were able to gap the gals (Deanna & Tiffany). They worked hard together for the next number of miles, and gradually opened a gap of over a minute.
Things stayed pretty much that way until the end of the first lap, were a software glitch got us all. At about Mile 10.93, the software displayed the finish line and stopped the apparent forward progress of each rider when they got to that point. What we didn’t realize was that the course was still active and the miles and speed still counted, but that they were not getting displayed, and would not until each rider got to Mile 11.38.
So – the officials stopped all riders at Mile 10.93, took their time, and then started them all again fresh on the second lap from a standing start. Bryan was given his gap of 0:40 (the time gap back to Steve & Rudy); with Deanna and Tiffany starting 1:06 later; and Mike and Phil 4:00 after that.
With these gaps established, all looked like it would play out according to plan, right up until Rudy had a flat off the line on the second start. He struggled to fit Steve’s spare wheel, and it took him 15 minutes to get going. But, since Allen wasn’t there, whatever time he got, no matter how slow, would be Allen’s time, plus 5 minutes for missing the session, plus another 5 minutes for going over 3 absences.
In the 2nd sprint, Bryan was first across, followed by Steve, and Deanna told Tiffany to take the points for third. In the 2nd KOM., Bryan was first across, followed by Steve, and this time Deanna surged at the end of the climb to take the final points from Tiffany. In the last KOM, Bryan and Steve were again 1-2, and Tiffany took the points after doing most of the work on the climb.
Without Rudy as a drafting partner, Steve was much more hard put to stay close to Bryan, and a gap of a mile eventually opened. Deanna and Tiffany had established a good working relationship for the 2nd lap, and were able to keep Steve within about 2 minutes. Mike and Phil struggled to work together, eventually falling 6 minutes behind the gals. And, Rudy soldiered along, eventually coming in 14 minutes behind Phil and Mike.
At the line, the combined times for both laps were: Bryan 1:03:52; Steve 1:07:53; Deanna 1:11:45; Tiffany 1:11:52; Phil 1:21:42; Mike 1:22:09; Rudy 1:30:52 and Allen (penalty time) 1:40:52. Overall, the Cannibals came in with a total of 5:07:56, besting the Merchants by 14:30. This combined with the Merchant’s lead from last week of 3 minutes, leaves the Merchants about 11 minutes down on total time. However, the Cannibals look to be a man short again tomorrow, which would leave an effective gap of only 6 minutes.
The Merchants look like they have a strong team for tomorrow – can they make up that gap? The entire series rides on that answer.