Monday, June 14, 2010

Great Northern Stage Race, Whitefish, MT

This weekend was the Great Northern Stage Race in Whitefish, MT. I raced a similar race here back in 1985 when I was 13. It went well then, but this was a couple decades later.

The Players
Patrick Bulger

Mark Hodgson

Cris Lucas


This would also be the debut of the Arrivee Cycling club where we all raced together in a stage race. This was going to be fun. This stage race consisted of a criterium, time trial, and road race. It was all based on time so the more time you finished ahead of people, or "time bonuses" you got, the further ahead you would get. Since there was a time trial in this race, I really liked it being based on time.
Pre race warm up. "How are we supposed to take all these corners?"

Stage one was the criterium. It would be 45 minutes around a 1k 6 cornered course in downtown Whitefish. It has been quite some time since I had raced a crit, but I was racing with some of the best team mates ever. I knew we'd have a blast and make the best of it. From the start, I took off. I ended up getting a little gap so I kept going. The pack stopped chasing and the gap grew to be about 25 seconds. But that was about as far as it ever got. I was working my ass off and I knew this would hurt my time trial which would be about 2 hours after the conclusion of this event. I was not too sure what this was taking out of me, but I was well above threshold, and was hurting. But I also knew that my team was back there doing what they could to slow things down so we would get the win. I ended up soloing for the entire 45 minutes at a hard effort, but also ended up winning the stage and becoming the race leader with about a 30 second lead with the time bonuses and primes. But would I lose over 30 seconds in the TT because of this? We would soon find out.

Me off the front for a looong time.

Arrivee controlling the pack

Pat finishing the criterium

Post criterium discussion

Jessi was there giving me all the support you could ask for including taking all these great pics and helping me through the crit with her words of encouragement. But she was also going to race today. She signed up for the TT that would be shortly too. So we wolfed down some food and got her ready and off she went to the race site. I was able to get there before she took off and I was able to give her a few cheers and take a couple pics. The TT venue did not really lend itself to spectators, but it was a TT. Jessi ended up riding really well and ended up 3rd in her category for the TT. Impressive. For not riding her bike more than 4 times in the last 3 weeks, she flew.

Emma giving me a hug before the TT

Talkin' strategy...go hard

Jessi before the TT

I started about 20 minutes after her and the last of the Arrivee team to go. I waited patiently in the 80 degree heat and was hoping to dear God that I had something left in my legs after my 45 minute TT just a couple hours prior. Now, I would attempt a sub 30 minute TT on tired legs. This could be interesting.

I took off and quickly settled in to an anaerobic pace. I caught my 30 second man (giy who started 30 seconds before me) within the first mile...only 10+ to go. The course was bumpy and had some pretty tough hills. Ones that required me to be in my 39x23 and working pretty hard. On the way out I saw Jessi coming back and yelled at her...might have sounded more like a wheeze, but I think she heard. She looked comfortable and was moving well. I finally hit the turnaround and saw that my avg speed was good, but had no clue what others were doing. I continued back and maintained a great effort to roll off the 11.4 miles in 25:55 and to win the TT by over a minute. Whew, I did not blow it. I would now go into stage 3 with about a 2 minute lead. That felt good. I was a little disappointed that our group had such a minimal time between the crit and TT, but that's the way it goes. Some of the men in the other categories had about 5-6 hours. I would have got 12th in the 1/2 Pro category, but did not feel that my time was reflective of what I was capable of. My effort was great though.

Post TT awards

Pre road race nerves

Now on to the road race which was a 6.6 mile loop that we'd do 9 laps of in 78 degree heat...maybe warmer. We all felt that my time was fairly secure, but wanted to try and move Cris up a few slots from 7th. But that would require him getting some time bonus sprints and a top 3 finish. This course was fairly flat, but you never know. Things stayed together through the efforts of a few chases and attacks. But as we rolled into the last 5 miles, I went to the front and brought up the speed to alleviate attacks and crashes. I pulled for quite some time and no one was coming around. Pat came to the front and took over for a bit and then for the last mile I wound it out. It kept people honest and did not allow for some lame attack. Cris was in good position but jumped a tad too early. He ended up 3rd, which is amazing, and moved up to 6th overall. Though we did not win the final stage, we won 2 stages, and overall as well as a 3rd place in the road race and 6th overall as well. It was a great debut for the new Arrivee.

Cris throws his bike for 3rd in the road race and 6th overall

Big thanks to Jessi for all the pics and support through the weekend as well as a great result in the "last minute" TT. Also thank to Michelle (Pat's wife) and Lisha for their cheers and help through the weekend with entertaining Emma and wanting to come in the first place.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Swimming, and cancer support

Cancer is a word that is used to describe many things that we don't like...or something that spreads negatively within a group. But anyone with cancer, or has survived cancer, knows this word as more than an adjective, it is a word that can change your plans, your outlook, and your life. We have all beocme more aware of this tragic disease through education and research. To sustain those efforts, it takes some money and time. One of my sponsors, Aqua Sphere wetsuits and goggles, has created a swimming opportunity to do just that.

Aqua Sphere is supporting a Swim Challenge event where men and women and logging the amount of hours they swim per-day in a friendly competition. The women are swimming for breast cancer and the men are swimming for prostate cancer, a real great cause that helps raise money and awareness.

Check the website out at www.swimchallenge.org for info on the event.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

TIMEX Global Trainer Now Available!

Huge news!! REI is now selling the brand new TIMEX Global Trainer on line! The Global Trainer will is also shipping to each individual store over the next few weeks and should be in store mid June.

I have been using this full functioning GPS and heart rate watch since February and LOVE it.

For more information on this, and get in the know, click HERE.