Stage 4, Tour of Willamette
Time Trial, 10 miles
April 15, 2000
Again, more rain -- off and on throughout the day. I love TT warm-ups in the rain. Fortunately, Myke, our mechanic staked out great trainer spots under the overhang at the school where we started. At this point in the race we're all getting tired. Warm-up, particularly in bad weather, is difficult. I use my HR to warm-up. In the middle of stage races, my HR doesn't react in the same way in normally would. It's then necessary to make some adjustments, not get psyched out, and stay positive while doing the standard routine.
On today's course, of course, I rode, Aero AL, the beautiful, super-slick, fast Morgul Bismark TT bike. Having only done the 1K prologue, many days ago, AL is quite rested and ready to go.
The 10 mile "rectangle" not quite a rectangle, but definitely flat. The weak wind was rumored to be a headwind on the way home. There wasn't much of a tailwind on the way out though. It was cold. All of us Charles Schwab riders reported cold knees, despite the various goo we put on them.
Having dropped from 11th place to the high 20s, I started well before the top-place riders and knew I'd be passing people. It would be important for me not to use those I passed as gauges of my own speed. Many could be taking this as a rest day of sorts. The final long side of the odd-shaped rectangle turned out to be the hardest. It was last minutes of the race, there was a bit of headwind, and it was long and straight and for some strange reason, impossible to see the finish until I was right up on it.
Coming in, I was so fast, my host family took a digital photo of me already out of the photo. I was so fast, Armin didn't even see me come in and thought I had gotten a flat. I was so fast, I beat everyone except Mari Holden, who is proving to be on fire this week.
Marie came through with a 6th place finish, with little to no aero equipment and Catherine 9th.
Criterium, 30 minutes + 2 laps
April 15, 2000
Yes, it's a double day. My favorite. Warming up for a crit in the rain is about as much fun as warming up for a TT in the rain. Plus, with having to transfer the whole official crew from the TT site to the crit course, they were running a little behind -- one hour. The race was originally scheduled to be 40 minutes + 2 laps but they shortened it due to the time and the cold wet weather. The pro men still had to race after we finished. Our race the next morning starts at 9AM, so everyone wanted to get a move on.
The top ten were called to the line. With 2nd in the TT I moved into 9th which meant I got a nice spot in front of the field. I quickly got into my pedals at the gun, putting me into great position. With the field being cautious, safe, and speedy in the race, staying in position turned out to be pretty easy. There was lots of aggression from the Saturn team. Mari made sure not to let anything get up the road.
Charles Schwab's Laura Van Gilder did an awesome job being in the front, covering attacks, and getting two big money primes. On the second of those, Petra attacked. The field was strung out. Mari covered Petra. I missed them. And they were off. A chase group of three formed. I got to the front to bring, hopefully, the whole field back together for Laura's sprint. We caught the three but the front two stayed off. Petra took the sprint because she's fast and because Mari towed her around the course. With a big day of climbing to follow, any additional lead probably sounded good to her. Saturn has a few riders in the top 10 that Timex will need to concern themselves with to keep the leader's jersey for Mari.