Collegiate Road Nationals, Ogden UT
The Road to Ogden!
The fun started around 9am Thursday morning after taking my Chem Lab final (thanks Jamie) and chugging lots of coffee. We (Nick Schaffner and I) headed off into the sagebrush landscape for the 8 hour drive to Ogden, Utah. We managed to have some fun along the way though…
The halfway point for the drive was Deeth, Nevada. We pulled off on Deeth Starr Road (NERDZ) to stretch the legs. Maybe it’s just the closer you get to Mormon-ville, the nicer people get… But all the folks living off Deeth Starr were strangely friendly. Really confusing the way they waved and politely passed us… Also! Another goal of the drive was to learn to drive stick. I highly recommend learning to do this on a brand new 2013 Subaru! Only stalled it a few times, I only cried once, and Nick may have found God…Joking!
After a few minutes on frontage roads, and a brief detour off-road, we were back on the freeway. I made it to 6th gear and then cruise control for the remainder of the drive to Ogden….
One thing I noticed about Ogden is how early everything closes. At 9:15, one is hard pressed to find decent food, but after a few tries landed on a hippy-pizza joint that was damn delicious. Not only is food hard to find, all the bars are incredibly quiet by 11- something I am not used to.
Friday morning, instead of entering the ITT, I decided it would be a better use of time and energy to do some recon for the road race. We headed 10 miles north to the base of North Ogen Divide and road the 2.6 mile, 9.4% climb then headed down the descent to get a feel for some of the more technical turns. From there it’s less than 4 miles to the finish. I felt good about the climb, not too worried about the descent, and the first two loops of the Road Race around the reservoir will hopefully be relatively uneventful.
It’s currently Saturday before the crit and the the knot in my stomach has just doubled. Seeing the field sizes is intimidating… Nearly 70 registered for the crit! That’s enormous compared to what I’m used to. None the less, all my t’s are crossed and i’s dotted… there is nothing to do now but rest, eat, hydrate, rest, and focus.
UPDATE: Unfortunately I will not be finishing this post the way I had expected to. The criterium was an interesting course with technical turns, a small hill, some big crashes (I was lucky to avoid), and a short sprint to the finish. My positioning wasn’t great though and I finished 23rd. However, I was really banking on results in the road race.. and pretty well screwed up. While I still cannot quite explain what happened out there, it just felt like my legs weren’t working the way I expected them to. I blew up early on the final, and most important climb when a gnarly headwind shattered the group, I lost contact with the riders off the front, and limped in for a measly 30th place. I say limped because about 5k to the finish, I crossed wheels with someone, slid across the pavement, and hopped back on to cross the line even farther back- this just to add injury to insult. Of course it’s disappointing to leave a race without coming near the expectations that I had set for myself. I worked toward this weekend and rather than it be the best race of the season, it was one of my worst. None the less, this was an incredible trip, I had a great time, learned a lot, and hope to be back next year. I am super lucky to have had Nick’s unwavering attention, patience, and advice along the way. Thank you to my team and family and the cycling community in general for their support.