It has been a bit since my last post, but now I have a little more time on my hands in order to recap all of the racing I have been doing lately.
I expect this to be a pretty long blog so stick around cause hopefully it will be entertaining.
I left off from my last team camp, which was absolutely awesome. After this I finished up the rest of my conference racing for Lindenwood, were I ended up doing the Purdue and Lindenwood races. Each consisted of a team time trial, road race, and criterium.
Now don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed collegiate racing and had a blast with my LU squad, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for those bloaks on the Marian team.
They just race super negatively and it is encouraged by management, but hey they won most of the conference races by utilizing that and their numbers. I for one have just never really enjoyed racing like that on either side of the spectrum. I prefer my races like I do my boxing; just a complete slug fest.
Here is an example; while I was at Purdue racing the road race, a break away gets up the road and both LU and Marian are represented, so it ends up getting like 7 and a half minutes up the road.
So my teammate Brophy and I end up hitting the gas and getting in a break away from the main peloton with two other Marian riders. What ends up happening? They get the order to sit our wheels. Now understand that up the road are three Marian and two Lindenwood riders and some other rider from another school.
So obviously it wasn’t going to make that much of a difference. Let us not forget that they were seven minutes ahead of us and it is a collegiate conference race, not some prestigious event, if you know what I mean?
So me and Brophy end up pulling these guys around all day and while they enjoy their free ride as we end up bridging and catching the break away. Unfortunately for us a rider from Marian had already gotten up the road from the original break so we where out of luck, however, eventually as fate would have it me and Brophy get out sprinted by one of the guys that sat our wheel for 60 miles and that was that.
See you have to understand that I am one of those guys that believes that there is a bit of honor in this sport, and to sit someone’s wheel and let them pull you to the line, yes this may be a tactic, but in my opinion it is very dishonorable tactic. Which is why I can’t enjoy that kind of racing, but hey that could just be me.
Anyways, you have to understand that in the Marian is that team that shows up with 20 guys to a local race and acts like their some sort of world tour organization when they are really winning races because they have 20 guys to help out. Unfortunately for them they are gonna be out of luck next year with the new rule that has been put in place to eliminate that sort of shenanigans which will only allow a maximum of 12 riders in a conference race for a team. Tough luck for them I guess?
Then a week later we had our home race and it ended up pouring down rain in the crit. I got off with another rider and we get a solid gap on the field. In the crit there was this 180 degree bend and with the rain it made it really slick.
So of course I was going super hard through there to take as much time on the field as possible and eventually I ended up sliding out at 28.8 mph. At least that was the last thing my Garmin said when I checked it on my Garmin Connect and my Garmin goes from 28.8 to 0.
All beat up I jump back in and we end up lapping the field. The guy ended up beating me fair and square in the field sprint. But that’s fine, cause afterwards I headed over to due the Tilles Park Crit, where I could have another go at a win. I was pretty pumped because this one I got to ride with my Gateway boys.
Now I will admit that I was a bit tired and sore, but we had a strong team with us, so I certainly didn’t want to let anyone down. So the race gets started and immediately everything got shredded where I found myself lapping the field again with my teammate Micah and an SBR rider.
Unfortunately the day wasn’t ours and we got beat in the sprint but we did end up 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Even better we got all the primes, yet Ill admit I still got “Ian Stannard” in the end, but I guess that is kinda World Tour now.
After that race we were all getting geared up for Joe Martin. I hadn’t been on the best form yet and with my crash a week before I knew it was going to be a hard event for me. To make matters worse I had a horrible rash break out on my road rash from the Tegaderm that made my life hell for that race.
I will show a picture at the bottom if you want to see it, but if you’re squeamish it might not be for you. So viewer discretion is advised.
Anyways, I finished that race with all the lead groups and ended up getting seventh in the U23 standings. Needless to say it got me on pretty solid form, and let me just add that racing a UCI 2.2 stage race will make you fast.
So anyway, I recovered for a solid week and then I headed down to North Carolina with the LU Hit Squad.
It is absolutely beautiful there, lush green colors everywhere with endless vegetation and crystal clear waters. Definitely an awesome place to live. It was just awesome, even our bus driver looked at me and said that it was God’s country out here.
Collegiate Nationals got started off with the road race. Now after reconning the course I knew it was a power course, but I realized how short the race was, which was only 72 miles! Thats about 50 miles less than every road race at Joe Martin, so I knew that I would have a pretty good striking distance on a course like this.
Right away on the first lap attacks were going left and right. I watched everything from the top fifteen riders for the first lap, just to observe what was going on and what sort of traits the peloton was developing for this race.
Once we finished our first lap we hit the first part of the climb and I moved up to the front and sure enough after the first switch back a move goes. I decided that it would be in the best interest for the team if we had a rider in the group. So I decided that I would be the martyr for this one. Once I got into the move, I took a look back to assess and noticed that the peloton was hesitating.
They just gave me fifteen free seconds!
Usually whenever I attack an immediate chase effort will start. So I was shocked to see nothing coming from behind. Seeing this I pounced on the opportunity and pushed the gap out to 25 seconds. This got their attention and they started to chase. For the next 10 miles we went from 20 seconds to 40 and back and forth until finally they snapped. The motto comes up to my break and shows that we have 2 minutes on the field.
So I told them that two minutes is good but not good enough. So I kept the pressure on the boys and we make it to the base of the climbs with a 2 minute and 20 second gap with one lap to go. Seeing this I couldn’t help but laugh aloud, because I consider myself to be a climber and here I am with one lap to go getting a two minute head start on the climbs.
I knew right there it was going to be a good day. So I end up holding the wattage on all the climbs that I know would increase and or maintain our gap and we ended up putting 4 minutes on the peloton.
I also noticed that the other guys are starting to fade now, but that’s ok because we already made it to the flat section and only had like 25 kilometers left to go. Finally one of the riders cracks with 20km left and says that he just wants to sit and he was content with third place. Then with about seven kilometers left to go, the other guy looks to me and says he’s had enough and that it is all mine.
Hearing this I took off like a bat out of hell and literally I can tell you that those last three kilometers were one of the hardest I have done. With cramps up and down my legs I pressed through the pain to keep my wattage up.
Finally relief came and I crossed the line to win my first National Title.
The next day was the criterium and we had the defending champ with us at Lindenwood. So obviously it became time to work for Monk. Unfortunately for the regular sprinters this would be to hard of a course for one of them to win. Lucky for us Monk isn’t just a regular sprinter. He is a bit like Sagan in that he can climb with just about anyone.
Anyways, the race starts and right away gets blown to smithereens.
There are two riders up the road with like a ten second gap and Monk, David, Chris, and me were just sitting in the main pack chillin. On the next lap David comes to me and says he is going to attack on the climb. Knowing how strong of a rider David is I made sure I was near the front to watch him fly away from everyone and see if I could catch a chase group.
Sure enough David burns the peloton and leaves a massive wake of destruction behind him. I followed a guy that tried to follow David and then realized that he had blown up. So I took a look back and on my wheel was Monk and a Lees Mcrae rider. So I pushed the tempo and we made our way to David and the break away.
This now meant that LU had three out of seven riders in the breakaway. Now I would like to remind everyone that in the criterium event teams are only allowed a maximum of four riders. So you could imagine how funny it was to see three out of the four of us are in the break. I looked back and just started laughing at the sight.
So a bunch of laps go by, while Monk and I are driving the break and of course the rest of everyone sat on. Honestly, I get it in this situation, so Im not complaining on this one. Anyway, we were doing such a great job that we just knew everyone was on the rivets as we started to shred most of the riders.
Eventually it comes down to four of us left, after a hard effort dropped three of the riders. This included David who was still trying to recover from his massive bridge. Somehow another rider makes it back on towards the end as we played a little cat and mouse to make it five of us left.
Then it happened…One of the motos comes up to us and says that we are “neutralized”.
He tells us that there had been a very bad accident in one of the fast corners, making it sound like riders were needing to be life flighted out of the race.
However, coming to the corner, guess what I see? Nothing! There is not a single person there. So I am like great now we are going to put our time gaps into the hands of USAC officials. Sure enough and get this with no one on the course it still somehow takes the officials about 8 minutes to get things sorted out, for what I don’t know but we finally start back up.
Sure enough right from the restart some jerk rider attacks from the restart, so I end up covering it and wait for Monk.
But get this, during the restart where we had over a minute on the main field the USAC officials mess up the time gaps and started the peloton close to our break, i’m talking only 20 seconds max away with 6 laps to go. So I have no choice now but to go to the front to keep this thing from coming back together.
Now after pulling for a full five laps I make the final corner and start the lead out process. Then a fresh rider with Marian, who had been sitting on our group the ENTIRE TIME, jumps early and unfortunately everyone behind him hesitated. Then Monk jumped and honestly had he not hesitated he definitely would have won. It was sad to see him barely lose after all the hard work from everyone.
However in a way it felt great to have done everything the hard way. We took control of the race, we drove the break away, we were the strongest team, and because of the neutral messing up everything, we lost.
Yet, the silver lining was that with my fourth place in the criterium and David securing a seventh place finish. David and I went first and second for Lindenwood in the men’s individual omnium. The really cool thing about this is that we were both first semester freshmen and roommates.