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.
Bam Solster signing on. Last weekend I journeyed down to Woodland for WCCC Conference Championships road race. I signed in for the Bs just in time to snag the last waiver. It was very windy, but temps were very nice. Maybe a bit too hot. We rolled out at 1:35 with probably 40 riders making up the group. The first few laps were pretty low key with a move or two getting nowhere. On lap 4, Jeff Byrd from Fresno State put in a big attack and proceeded to hold off the pack with another rider (Cal?) for a few laps. Lap 6 found the pair back in the pack, and my legs hinting at cramping. Apparently the 2 bottles of mix I had put down did not help much.
There were many attacks on lap 6, or two-to-go. The pace was very high and echelons formed on the crosswind sections. Fortunately, I had the legs to keep in the front echelon and in the front. With one to go, things were a bit chaotic, as the situation was unclear; whether there was one or two riders up the road. Davis chased hard on the last lap, and we soon learned it was only one man, from Cal. On the back straightaway, a farm tractor was let out in front of the main pack, greatly hampering our chase. The Cal rider was within grasp. On a long stretch, the group overtook the tractor (a terrible idea in any situation), and all came through unscathed. The final straight into the final corner was pure chaos, as any finale is. Riders jockeying for position in a brutal right crosswind, and several teams trying to get a lead out going. I freelanced my way through the traffic, as I was alone in the race.
Coming into the final bend, UCSB had two riders driving the pace 20 feet ahead of us. A Davis rider jumped, and I latched onto his wheel. He slowed to pause on the UCSB riders on the left. I immediately decided to punch through the hole on the right. I launched hard into the headwind and poured everything into the pedals, hoping the Davis rider had been boxed in. I could see the Cal rider sitting up as he crossed the line. With 50 to go, I could hear him coming on my left. With the last bit of energy, I launched a desperate sprint to the line, and gave a bike throw for good measure. It was close, very close. After consulting with the referees, I learned that the camera had shut off, and consequently, our duel was not captured on film. The refs gave 2nd to the Davis rider, and bumped me to third. I strongly disagree with the decision, but have to live with it. No camera, no review. It was still a good race nonetheless, and one that tested me the whole way through. Until next year!
UNR’s home collegiate races were a great success. The team would like to thank all the racers, volunteers and sponsors who came together to make the event possible! We had an improved turnout from last year for the Campus Criterium, and both the Time Trial and the Cold Springs Road Race saw exciting battles. Results are posted here on the WCCC Cycling Site.
Nevada Cycling had notable results in several categories. In the brutal criterium, the Men’s B racers had a very strong showing, taking 2nd (Matt Fanfelle), 4th (Jeff Stein) and 6th (Justin Clark). Representing the lady wolves, Erica Greif sprinted for 5th in the Women’s A Category. Also, new team members for this reason season Aaron Anderson and Nathan Berch had some of their best finishes yet, placing 8th and 13th respectively.
Erica also got an awesome writeup in the sagebrush profiling her road season, check it out!
The Red Rock Road Race took our collegiate racers through the rolling hills north of Reno to the California state line, rolling through suburbs, farmland, and sagebrush. Aside from a few feral horses and llamas, the racers had very little traffic to contend with. UNR’s Eric Greif held on in the sprint for a 2nd place finish, rounding out a strong weekend for her. Matt Fanfelle also built upon his criterium results with another 2nd place in the road race, with Jeff Stein not far behind in 6th. Justin Bumgardner (UNR’s “most improved” rider from Death Valley Training Camp) also placed 8th in the Men’s C group.