Jeff Bratz races for first time this year at the Tour of Hermann

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Saturday morning we woke up to rain...boo! Got out to race town(30 min) from hotel. Helped set up PRC tent, and helped get trailer unloaded(ps-the trailer that we used for bikes etc was awesome!!!!!). I was the last to head out on the time trial so I relaxed while everyone else got ready for their effort. Rain stopped prior to Lou's start time as the event was running about 15-20 minutes behind schedule. Once Lou was gone I got my bike setup and warmed up for 40 minutes and headed up the hill to the start house for the time trial. Prior to my depart PRC Kelli was back, and was giving me tips on the course that she had just crushed-thank Kelli! After a brief conversation with Kelli, I was up. Out of the house I rolled and off to the races. First two miles felt pretty solid but had a hard time getting HR where I wanted to be...but kept pushing. Made it to turnaround and caught first person ahead of me(30 sec gap), then turned. Wind at back pushed back home, felt ok-just never really got my legs pushing as hard as I wanted and the hill up to the finish line was a bit deflating on the ego/time. Crossed in exactly 25:00 minutes...I was hoping for 23-24...but first time out this season-ok. Result=6th place in the Cat4/5 race. I guess I got 15 points for the GC in the Omnium.
Crit? Not sure what to expect. Really not sure what to expect when I see that it really was McCrea Park except longer. Not much for me to do except survive for as long as possible. I did. Terry and I talked pre-race, and he says "i am not going to go and set the pace, but hope to be there at the end"...whistle blows, and he is gone-gone so far down the road immediately there were guys looking around and asking if that guy was in our race? We did this hill(McCrea-like 6 or 7 times) after the first one I realized this was going to be painful. Painful it was, there were times when the people cheering on the hill, sounded as if they were not not cheering-rather sending little verbal 'condolences on your loss' cards...Result=not Dead Last, but learned a lot.
Road Race. Sunday a.m.=rain! Weather channel says 1-2 inches of rain, 15-25 mph winds...oh yeah did I mention that the course is 'hilly'? Rain at start line is pretty solid...race official advises of 1 mile neutral rolling start-then a 'hill' would start the race. That hill destroyed the group immediately-I was off the back but found several guys to try to organize-course is so hilly nobody could really stay together! Once again to slow for the faster guys...and to 'fast' for the really slow guys. 30 miles of hills solo mission! These hills hit over and over and over-when coupled with the rain it made for great introspection and pain. The course did have primes for King of Mountain...I am not sure if anyone in our group knew this but I won the Court Jest of the Mountain...for being the biggest joke on some of the uglier hills. Result=Not Dead last
Had a great time! Great group to spend a weekend with-everyone was very helpful! I think I will 'race' again. Enjoyed the experience.

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