Nature Valley Grand Prix 2008 – Day 2
June 13, 2008
Cannon Falls Road Race
Quick summary: The field mostly stayed together even with lots of crosswinds on the course, a crazy dirt road, and very fast finishing circuits. With two laps to go on the finishing circuit I got gapped off by another rider and couldn’t chase around to get back onto the pack. I ended up finishing in a small group about 1 minute 11 seconds back for a finish somewhere in the top 100.
The details: The race was only difficult in a few spots, but it was challenging to try to maintain your position or move up in the pack. Several times I would make it to near the front of the pack and then literally ten seconds later, I would find myself at the back again because the lefthand side of the road happened to be going faster and most of the peleton would pass on that side. The course was rolling and very windy. The “neutral zone” was hilarious because the pace car was going fast and everybody was jockeying for position. I topped out with a HR of 181 in the neutral zone. After we finished the mile long neutral zone, there was only 2.5 miles to the first KOH. I was very near the front at this point and I saw some people attacking so I thought I would give it a go. I hit my max HR for the day of 191 and couldn’t close the gap to the small group that was going for the sprint. I decided it wasn’t worth it and sat up and then tried to maintain my position near the front of the peleton. The crosswinds were pretty strong so there were several times where I found myself in the gutter trying to hang on, but these didn’t last long. I think if some of the stronger teams had kept at it, then they would have blown the race apart. Instead, they were happy to let a Bissell rider stay off the front on a solo breakaway to take the rest of the KOH points. The entrance to the finishing circuit was a half mile gravel road that was very sketchy because of all the rain over the past week. This was followed by a very steep descent into town on a narrow, wet road. Everybody made it through safely, although I was the last person through. I was able to move up on the circuits otherwise I would have been gapped off much sooner as people started coming off of the back of the pack on the first lap.
Heart rate notes:
- The “neutral zone” didn’t feel very neutral
- Here I went for the KOH points
- Lots of crosswinds and rolling hills on the main part of the course
- Dirt road, steep descent into town
- Finishing circuits
Our composite team had some pretty bad luck during the race. One of our strongest riders had a flat tire and after a slow tire change had to time trial the rest of the race outside of the race caravan. I think he was too far back for us to have brought him back up to the pack. All of us would have ended up finishing the race off the back of the group. Another one of our riders had a mechanical problem requiring a bike change shortly before the finishing circuits. I believe everybody made the time-cut though and we’ll be taking it to the streets of downtown Minneapolis tomorrow evening after a short time trial tomorrow morning.