Saturday was State Roads in Spring Prairie.
Cole House and Mitch Gantz drove down with me--unfortunately, Cole and Mitch wanted to do the all important "junior" race at the crack of dawn, so we were up at 5 am to leave from Green Bay.
We almost missed the Junior race....but in the end, it all paid off (at least for Cole and Mitch--I gave er' the good ol' college try, and slept). Cole attacked on the final lap and solo'd for the win, and Mitch sprinted for 2nd overall and the 15-16 age category win. Strong racing by both of the young guns, as I expected after riding with both on the Wednesday night hammerfest.
The Cat 3 race started unusually late....around 5:00 pm to be exact. On the plus side, I got to chill out in the sub-55 degree sun in my sweet salsa arm warmers....okay, not really all that cool, but I made the best of it. Matt Waite and Corey Behrns of Brazen didn't make it to the race today, so it was the usual 1-2 team of Fred and myself.
For three laps, the field just chilled out--and I was perfectly content to tag along for the ride. Jason Carr attacked several times to try and ramp up the pace, but nothing came of it. On lap four the field finally pushed it hard up the finishing climb and continued the rest of the race. I noticed that the hardest spot of the race was after the first corner on a tailwind section. So, on lap 5-6, I attacked by setting a high tempo pace up and over the start/finish hill. 5 guys stuck with me, and we motored into the tailwind section with a 15 sec gap. Unfortunately, our organization was poor, and only a few of our group was pulling through. After 1/2 a lap it came back together.
Luckily Fred was watching the action closely, sitting on Fresh's wheel. Fresh counterattacked after our break was caught, Fred followed, along with two others. Bingo!--time to settle the field down. Kip and I worked to mess up the rotation of other teams chasing down the break, and it worked beautifully! Fred and Fresh stayed away.
On the final lap I got boxed in on the finishing climb. "Not again..." I thought. Then, Dan Ajer passed me screaming "Baumann, just give up now, just throw in the towel!" That was just enough motivation for me to hit the brakes, move outside, and accelerate up the hill. It turns out that no one else was feeling good, except, of course, Mr. Kip Spaude off the front of the field. I chased him down leading up to the finish, and almost stole his victory at the line--but he pulled some serious power out of his suffering and held me off in the sprint. Kip was 5th, me 6th overall.
Fred, on the otherhand, was in the break. On the final climb, "Ping!", he busts a spoke--damnit! He rolled in for 4th in order to at least salvage his finish position. Still, the winner was from Illinois, so Fred was 3rd on the State Roads podium--and a well deserved finishing place it was. Fred's super-strong right now, and I can't wait to see him rip legs off at Ohio.
Sunday was the Backroads Time Trial.
A 14 corner, 15 km Merckx-style TT with no aerobars or wheels, this sounded like a course made for a former mountain biker.
So, I slammed the saddle forward, the stem down super low, and the seatpost as high as I could ride and hammered out a 20:55 TT for the Cat 3 win. Fred was JUST outside of 3rd place by 2 seconds--and he claimed that he "had no legs" this morning. No legs, 4th place. That's strong riding.
Next weekend comes the Nature Valley Grand Prix....I'm starting to find my legs again, hope things keep going well!