12 Jun Tour of Galena P/1/2
The Tour of Galena is not for pack-fillers mostly because, well, the pack doesn’t last longer than a lap or two. To do well in the overall you need to be an all-arounder and be able to suffer well. Elevation change (rapid, very rapid elevation change), heat and wind were factors in all the races. These are the types of races that turn roadies to cross racers (zing).
Friday (Circut Race):
A 56 mile (8 lap) race with 2 climbs or really more like 2 walls. We were not overly concerned with water before the race as 56 miles did not seem too long. However better safe than sorry so we asked the Boss if he’d be willing to hand us water to which he agreed to do. I could end the race report here and say those who had water raced and those who had none did not race as hydration ended up ending the race early for many but I will recap the action. The Enzos race started with early drama. Not more than 5miles into the race the group over estimates an early downhill section and pushes Nick off the Road and performs a very surreal looking front flip over his bike. Joel immediately stops to help. Nick is ok but cannot pull on his bars very well. Joel begins to lead him back the group and Tim and I drop back to help chase the team back on. The field slows and we eventually reattach. A couple miles later Liam Donhauge (XXX Racing) rolled off the front and was out of site rather quickly (impressive). Things are fairly calm as we are all starting to realize how hot it is. A rider from Mitsubishi and Michael Sencenbaugh (Mike) of Thrive Cycling Team rolled off the front on about lap 3 after having a gap through the downhill section. On lap 6 I hear that the gap is out 3:45 and I’ve overheard more than one rider ask someone else for water. Basically I’m thinking I’m running out of time and the group is running out of juice. So entering the steeper of the two climbs I up the pace and halfway up I don’t hear any other breathing. Over the top it was myself, Matias Perret Iowa City Cycling Club and Nicholas Vetter of Mitsubishi (I believe). The Mitsubishi rider does not want to pull thru as he has a rider up the road (side note: to me this didn’t make sense as he could have then had 2 guys up the road in a break of 6. Good odds to me). So a half lap later a few riders catch back on. Lap 7 Perret ups the pace on the steeper climb and once again it is the Trio. Again Vetter refuses to pull so Perret and I rotate. We eventually catch his teammate who is standing on the hill tasting lunch again (felt bad for the guy being away the entire day). So now all three of us are rotating and we quickly catch Liam who also has suffered from a long day alone. On the last time up the steep climb the pace is kept high by Perret. Vetter falters and is not seen again. Perret has a slight gap on me over the top but I was able to catch on rather quickly on the flat section. We then decide to go full gas to try to catch Mike. We end up about 15 seconds too late at the finish and Perret out sprints me as if it where Schleck vs Cavendish. A couple Enzo’s side notes – A huge thanks to the guys for getting water for me Wayne/Joel. And a big apology for effectively ending my teammates (Tim’s) race as I gave a gentle moment push that the referee deemed unnecessary and relegated him to the back at the base of the climb.
Saturday (Time Trial):
I went out with the goal of catching my 30 second man Liam who made a heroic effort the day before that ended one lap short of legendary. The course is rolling on the way out, ending with a sharp turning downhill into a couple hard, short, steep, climbs then turn around and hit the large uphill and roll in with whatever fumes you have left. I made good ground on the way out however when we started going uphill at the turn around lots of time was lost. I made some time up on the way in but not enough. In the end Liam beats me by 2 seconds which keeps me out of the overall leader’s jersey by 1 point and tied for second.
Saturday (Road Race):
88miles of fun. Steep grade changes and some wide open flats, nice and windy.
Unfortunately for me I lack patience so my tactics in long road races can be very questionable at times. The first lap is relatively fast especially for how hot it was. The guys all took turns trying to get into the early moves. Eventually 2 Mitzu, Chad Hartely (Kenda) and Bryan McVey (Astella Oncology p/b ABD Cycling) got away.
Mitsubishi Laser/Grand Performance. Spoiler alert Alex the mitzu rider solos this entire race and wins by about 8 mins..impressive.
So about 44 miles into the race there are about 25 guys left in the peloton and I’m growing anxious with the growing gap times. After a long downhill I find myself with a fairly large gap. So I went for it. Just for a frame of reference – my long training rides are 45 miles long and I’ve ridden 88 miles only one other time this year. I had convinced myself that 1st and 2nd place wouldn’t notice I was gone. The heat was getting to me but luckily our amazing gals (Love you Tiff!) were there to hand us water. THANK YOU!!!!! Anyway, I ended up catching all but Alex and Hartley however the main group wanted me back. I was caught by the main group of about 8 riders now and about 15 miles from the finish. Legs were now feeling the effort and couldn’t keep the pace up the final climb. I was dropped. Such a demoralizing feeling but I rode in for 11th.
I essentially had wrote-off the overall after being caught and dropped by the leaders the day before. Also Tim had proposed to his girl-friend of 4 years the night before so none of us were focusing too much on the race. This was unfortunate because as Hartley reminded me that you must read all the way to the end of the cyclist’s hand-book to find section on anaerobic math. This is very necessary for omnium racing. Heading into the crit I figured I could hopefully sit in and attach with a few laps to go as I figured my legs were fried. I asked the other guys to stay active early so I could sit in without worrying too much. This worked well sorta. The race started fast and my legs felt ok so I started moving up. About 14 mins into the race things are breaking up. Tim puts in a big attack which basically rips about 10 guys off the front. This comes back however and Nick, Chad, Liam, Mitzu guy and possibly a couple others start to get away. The pace is fast but I can feel the wind leaving the packs sails. I decide I will jump across as soon as the pace slackens. Well the guys let off the gas and I go. I pass a couple guys that were being dropped from the break and shortly join Nick, Chad, and Liam. I notice there is no Mitzu rider which is a problem as they have 5 guys in the field. We all take turns hammering at the front and the speed is rarely below 30mph. We eventually break the spirits of the Mitzu team but at the cost of losing Liam. This ends up working for the best, at least for us, as we (chad, Nick and I) lap the field shortly after. Joel and Tim drop back to bring Nick and I to the front of the field. At this point I am aware that it is going to be very difficult to beat Chad and that Nick has a better shot of winning even though I need to beat Chad and Nick if I want a shot at winning the overall. I told Nick to go with any moves as he will have the shot to win and I will counter if Hartley follows as this would be the only way I could beat him. I mean the guy is a professional sprinter. Nick ends up in another break with a few laps to go and they manage to hold off the field. Tim and Joel keep me in position for the sprint and Mike Hagney leads it out into the final turn. I was in great position but Chad is too fast and I take third place. Great job to Nick, Joel, and Tim.
So after (3) 3rds and an 11th, I take third overall. A huge thanks to my beautiful wife Tiffany for coming with me and making sure I was well fed every day. Also thanks to Ashely, Katie, Emily, Jim and Bridget for all the food and water handups. I can’t believe you guys sat in that sun all day. Also a huge thanks to Wayne/Enzos and Rob/Psimet
The Tour of Galena has to be the best multi-day stage race in the midwest. The organizers (XXX Racing) do a great job with everything. The races are hard, they are on time, there are volunteers everywhere and it’s in a great location. Missing this series is a mistake and I don’t want to hear how hard your race was if you didn’t come out and race this.