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RACE REPORT: Lou in Iowa City


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What would Iowa City be without crazy wind? Today it came from the west at 25mph making for a nasty section between turns 4 and 1. The race is 5 laps - 65 miles which is just perfect and the course is set on beautiful rolling hills in Ahmesh country. In fact, Iowa city and Altoona are very similar.

Today's field was stacked with large teams from Grand Performance, ISCorp, Trek Midwest, All Nine Yards, Mercy Specialized, Bike 2 You, and a few other miscellaneous "onezy, twozy's", including 3 very attractive rockstars wearing all black (Cam Kirkpatrick, Tony Nichols and Yours Truly). I'd guess around 60-80 in all. A nice P12 field.

From the starting whistle the peleton blasted, and I mean blasted into the crosswind section. We were railing it while tipped at a 45 degree angle just to stay upright. Just that first effort gapped the field. The we turned east and let the tailwind push us at 46 mph for 5 miles. That's pretty much how every lap went. So it was important while heading west toward the start/finish line to maintain contact with the main group but save enough to redline it as you turn the corned into the crosswinds section.

On lap #2 Brian Stolte and Lee Venteicher got way with a guy from IS Corp and Mercy. That left only GP and us to do the work to pull them back.

Cam and Tony were both feeling fresh and eager to move to the front. We decided to hold off for a lap hoping that someone else would to the work. Plus, with the Iowa Cup in mind it was better to have a breakaway containing non-Iowa folks (excluding Lee and the Mercy guy who are not in the top 5 on points).

On lap 3 one of the WI teams went to the front and started setting tempo so Cam and Tony joined in and did a perfect job in bringing the breakaway back in.

On lap 4, in the wind section, a small gap of 4 guys formed up the road, and then another of 4 including me. As my group rounded the corner into the tailwind section I put the hammer down. The other guys in tow, we rolled at 45-46 until we caught the lead group. Now there were 8 of us and I thought we were the winning break for sure. But after only a few half-hearted rotations, the main peleton caught us and we were all together again. Cam rode at the front with me, but Tony was absent. It was only after the race that we discovery that he had crossed wheels with someone on the hill just as our breakaway had gotten caught, and went down. He said that he got up immediately but could not reattach with the group into the 25 mph winds. He is taking home a big ol' strawberry on his arss as a souvenir. Not a scratch on the bike though. Nice work today Tony! I could tell you were having a blast and riding strong!

Immediately Trek and IS Corp attacked and were gone again. The peleton let them go. Cam and I decided to sit in and hope for help from the larger teams (recurring theme, I know).

On lap 5 the tempo began to be set. First we caught ISCorp then finally Trek. With 4 miles to go on the final approach, were all together and it was up to me to seal the deal.

With the finishing line just over the hill, my strategy was to roll up the inside. Not usually the best line but with the winds pushing the peleton toward the centerline which was being strictly enforced, I hoped that a lane would open up on the inside. With 500 to go I was sitting perfect - 2 trek guys ahead and then clear blue skies. I stood up and shifted down with 300 to go. All of a sudden both of them sat up! WTF? Their boy was off the front. I grabbed a big handful of brakes as I hit wheels with Stolte. I unclip my left foot and slid along to stay upright. Crap! I clipped back in and crossed the line on the back of the main field - 15th or so. I am not sure of the final results but I think I heard that Trek won. Although the rest of us felt like we were in the hunt, those boys in red, even without Steve Tilford, were in control all day long. Sad but true.

BIG bummer. It is so disappointing to work all day, have such good legs, and have my teammates pour our their guts out only to have something unexpected happen. I can't really fault anyone but myself. In the end, my strategy was probably poor. I should have attacked early and hoped to hold it.

But keeping things in perspective: a bad cycling result, while frustrating, is still better then a great day at the office.

I talked to Cam, who had a great time. Tony was walking gingerly from the crash, but I think he had a chance to remember how much fun bike racing is. I thought about Nate Bartels a couple of times today (the 4th member of the Rasmussen's P12 squad) who was traveling on business. I can't wait to get all 4 of us together in a few races this year.

Finally, my traveling partners; Pete Basso, Brent Mitchell and Kris Kunze - all cat 3's. Their report was all good. Despite drawing the short straw when the peleton spit on lap 3 (in the crosswind section of course), they all worked well and finished together.

Loren Storts finished 4th in his first race ever.

As of now I have not gotten a report from the masters.

From a results standpoint, no bragging rights were earned today, yet we all rode respectably. We executed well and collectively had good fitness. As a team, we are young, strong and very positive. In the end, we showed courtesy, perseverance and indomitable spirit. Nobody quit, nobody was seriously injured. Sometimes finishing results aren't the only measure of success. We will keep executing and the results will follow.
--Lou



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