Monday, June 26, 2006

Tour de Nez

So I just got back from the Tour de Nez out in Reno, NV. If you happen to care about what was going on at the front of the race, stop reading this blog and go and read this instead. No, seriously, the race was pretty fun, pretty hot, and pretty fast. I didn't have the best of luck out there, beginning with the opening time trial.

I had made it all the way out to the course and was getting ready when I realized that I had everything with me except for my shoes. Not cool. Still had about an hour to the start and the hotel wasn't very far away, so I didn't hit panic mode yet, and jumped in the car to retrieve my shoes. Things were going well and I was getting ready to cruise back to the course for a short warmup when I noticed that the ramp to the highway that I needed after leaving the hotel was closed. Now I was in panic mode, as I don't really know Reno at all and quickly needed to find another way onto the highway. Long story short, I was able to make it back to the TT with literally one minute to spare before my start time. But I do think that I might have had the highest HR on the start line anyway from all of the stress involved with getting there.

The rest of the race consisted of two criteriums with a 108 mile road race sandwiched between them. I was able to finish the road race, albeit the last guy across the line for 55th place, but unfortunately ended up with two DNF's in the crits. The crits were insane, both courses were highly technical, and if you weren't up front in the first ten minutes you were basically not going to make it, as the front group of 30-40 riders would just motor away from the rest of the pack. In the first crit in Truckee, CA, the split occurred on the 3rd or 4th lap, as there were numerous crashes that shattered the field. The final crit in Reno was more of the same, about a 1 mile circuit that featured narrow straightaways, ten turns and a decent hill followed by a twisty decent into the start/finish straight. The race started fast once again, and by the 30 minute mark 2/3's of the field had been pulled. I think that there are a couple keys to surviving in these crits, other than the obvious great fitness necessary to compete. You gotta start at the front and never let a gap open in front of you, and if that doesn't happen, then you have to literally bury yourself to get there and then try to somehow recover while your HR is pegged at 185 bpm, which is not an easy thing to do.

We all went out Saturday night to a party at a coffee shop/bar in Reno that was one of the sponsors of the race. Pretty fun evening there, but it did make a long drive seem just a bit longer at first on Sunday morning. Adios.

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