Sunday, June 1, 2008

Off to the races...just no riding

This past week was spent going to but not racing in any races. This past Saturday was spent as the Tour of Frankenmuth, all in all I am not overly sad about missing this race. The course was flat and final sprint was downhill and only one lane meaning speeds of over 40 mph and not a lot of room to move around, add to that poor traffic control in the last left hand turn and I heard that it wasn't the best race out there. That being said its only their second year and they are already asking for help improving. Leadout racing did pretty well with top 10 finishes from Nick and Lupe. Sunday was the big one, the Tour of Leelanau. One of the few times truly big name riders come to the MIScene. Lining up to take the start were Tony Cruz, Aaron Olsen, Ted King, Ben Jacques-Maynes, Taylor Tolleson, as well as current pros and former Grand Rapids residents Brent Bookwalter and Graham Howard. They through in some amateur teams to "spice" things up and you had the pros dropping the hammer from mile seven on shredding the field and laying waste to any amateur thinking of making a name for himself. Mark, Peter, and I caught the race in a few locations and handed bottles off to Team Giant of Michigan. It looks like a great course to race on just not with the pros that were out there that day, I spend time up in that area a few times a year and next time I am up there need to climb Tower Road, the 20% or more grade to start off followed by an additional 6% climb for 1/2 a mile is about as tough as it gets in Michigan. Monday it was back to EGR for the Gaslight crit. This was also the first day of the weekend I truly struggled to watch the race without resenting my inability to ride. I played cheerleader for the team in a race that was going to be a high priority for the season, it is a hometown race along Reeds Lake and one of the best crits in the state. The 3/4 race was phenomenal with about 8 Leadout Racing riders taking the start. Nick rode awesome staying in the top 5-10 the entire race and Lupe joined him up there for a top 10 finish. Once everyone gets healthy we should really be cooking as both Mark and I have to sit the races out, although Mark is back in the saddle testing his broken arm and thinking that he may be racing as soon as June 23. The 1/2 race was exciting as the come with 2 small breakaways going early eventually melding into one and then Graham Howard and 2 IS Corp riders whittling the break down to 3. Karl Menzies, who is rumored to be a current G. Rap resident, showed up and helped form a decent sized chase group, but couldn't bring them back. In the end Karl took 4th and 1st in the chase group sprint making everyone else look like they were standing still as he flew out of the pack got a gap and easily soft pedaled in. After 3 days of being outside watching races the sun had taken its toll and I was a bit burnt, but nowhere near burnt out on Michigan racing. After a few so so days of work I went out to soak in Grattan, the local race series, and was happy I did as Keith rode super strong in the B's after being frustrated by his finish at Gaslight and ended up second in the sprint by a hair. I might have been jumping up and down and yelling a bit as he neared the finish. It was a great finish for Keith, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him forced up to the A's soon. No definitive news on the knee, but it seems to be getting worse rather than better and the Doctors can't fit me in until June 12 or so. Oh well, all of this is just adding fuel to the fire.


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