The Pro/1/2/3 Tour of Ohio started Tuesday. This is no, "I'm going to go race my bicycle this weekend" type of race. This is straight up a "I want to hurt, BAD, and pay for it," stage race.
Surprisingly, our team is doing rather well.
The likes of Toyota United, Priority Health, A & F, Texas Roadhouse, and Bianchi / GP showed up to race their bikes.
Kip Spaude, Jason Carr, Fred, and myself showed up as team "Ridin' Dirty." Try telling that one to the girl at registration. As Kip said--"Yeah, umm, I'm ridin' dirty. Sign me up!"
So, the race.
STAGE ONE: A circuit race north of Granville, OH where we're staying. 51 miles, 6 laps of a 8.5 mile course, rolling hills with a steep climb to the finish. 3 laps were pretty chill, then we started drilling it during lap four. Not gonna lie, the race was not too hard, but the asthma sucked. Fred and I had to close some big gaps, but we stayed in the main pack. Unfortunately for 40 other riders who dropped out, Kip, Fred, and I were in the final pack for the finish. 11 riders were off the front, and Kip whipped out his hurt box for 13th (2nd in field), I scored a 19th, and Fred rolled in for 30th. We all finished about the same time, 1 min down on the three main leaders.
STAGE TWO: A nasty road race in the same area as the OU collegiate road race back in March. AKA this is a big-ass hill climb race. We busted out the 27 tooth cog, and for good reason--the hills here hit 20%, repeatedly, time and time again. Literally, as Fred said, "I was Petachi-weaving in the lead group on the final climb!" Ridiculous. This is how road races should be. Hard. Selective. Longer than 60 miles. About 2 hours into the race a KOH hill blew the field to pieces, and Fred, Kip, and I were at the back of the remaining field, forced to chase. Fred had good legs, so he bridged up to the main group and finished 13th, only 1 min down on the 3 leaders!
Kip and I played the damage control card, pulling our chase group around until the final friggin-steep ass climb. The group wanted to chill on the one mile climb, so I took off and made up 40 seconds on the group at the finish line. I was 21st on the day, Kip was 22nd. Fred moved up to 13th on GC, I'm in 18th, Kip is in 21st.
I must admit, the stage racing here is unbeatable. We're having an absolute blast chilling out in the Denison University dorms every night, watching girls' soccer, hijacking golf carts, wathing Chuck Norris, and rocking out to Ridin' Dirty. Oh yeah, and racing the bike.
Tommorow comes another 60 mile hilly road race. I hope I can move up to top 15 on GC before the time trial Friday.