Tour de Cullman (2009)
Yesterday we went to a great group ride / training race / and party better known as the Tour de Cullman. Carson Glasscock continues to pour into the cycling community by opening up his home to the community and facilitating this informal ride/race/party. The format is to ride at a leisurely social pace for the first 21 miles, then race the next 18 miles over some serious rollers finishing with a nice climb up Skyball Mountain. I ended up winning the race portion in what was a very tactical battle. Here’s my HR data for the race portion of the ride with annotations describing key points in the battle:
- The wooden bridge that comes before the official start, but this is the spot where the pace really picks up. Nice 12+% gradient for 1/10th of a mile
- The official start of the ride. It was an exhilarating start with a horse drawn carriage on the right side of the road, a pack of dogs on the left, and us shooting through the middle right as the green flag dropped. My teammate Darryl Seelhorst (Tria / DonohooAuto.com) launched out hard and strung out the group forcing others to chase.
- As soon as the front group reached the left turn up the steep quarter mile 12+% gradient climb, Jake Brewer (Herring Gas) launched an attack. I covered it and then rode behind him waiting for my teammates to come up.
- Eventually, Omar Fraser pulled up with Scott Kuppersmith (Herring Gas) and my teammate Sammy Flores. The five of us worked together over this stretch labeled #4, but Jake, Scott, and Omar each took a dig to launch out on their own. I covered each move and tried to help make it stick, but there was always somebody strong enough to pull us back. So we came to the foot of the climb together as a group of five.
- Omar was in the front and set a fast tempo at the bottom of the climb dropping Jake and Sammy. Here at the spot labeled #5, I picked up the pace passing Omar and taking Scott with me.
- At this spot, right when the gradient gets really steep, I kicked it up a notch and took it the rest of the way solo. The road was very bumpy so I knew that Omar would be able to navigate and ride more efficiently with his mountain biking skills so I could never let off the gas and pushed it hard all the way to the finish.
- The finish – awesome to watch people come in one-by-one after making it up the climb.