Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Tour of Mt Nebo

First the Biggity Bitching.
The Tour of Mt Nebo. I have an issue of races that are 9 miles a lap calling themselves the Tour of anything. Thank god efforts to call the Philadelphia International Classic, the "Tour of Philadelphia" failed.
Back to Nebo. I like this race. The lap is awesome, brutal hills, really fast descents. Some fun, but somewhat scary corners. The lap also hurts if raced, and to be honestly, I was only half in the mood to "race" as I am still tired from TSE.
Wow this blog rocks so far. I have managed to biggity bitch about everything single topic I have broached all in the first paragraph. I promise I'll turn it around just keep going.
So some more background... The Tour of the Mountains of the Nebos was a pretty big deal last year. The prize purses were huge, the race was USAC sanctioned (upgrade points) and the some good teams an riders showed up. For whatever reason this year, the promoter of the race lost his USAC permits. This means you can still have a race with insurance via some 3rd party, but since its not sanctioned, upgrade and BAR points are not part of the deal. This meant participation was also limited. While the 4/5 field had roughly 90+ riders... the 2/3 race had... 30... Thats pretty "pathetic" in the words of the promoter himself in an email out to all the riders who prereged.
Enough whining, lets get down to the fun.
Philadelphia Ciclismo fielded a 4 man team consisting of Matt "I really need new bartape" Harris, Brian "I have more tattoos than a prison" Kall", Craig "What the hell am I doing at a climbing race" Lebair, and me, Mike "I just want to go drink beer today" Festa.
We were to face some tough competition from area strongmen including a certain US national team rider for cyclocross.
The race started neutral as we rolled down the first descent. As we hit the first short but steep climb, many of us (mainly be and my equally sarcastic friends from Bicycle Therapy) started to make jokes about the pace commenting on how we liked how easy it was. I think this angered some people because the guys on the front slowly but painfully turned up the wattage dial until the point that we were straight up sprinting by the top of the last hill. The first lap was the hardest all race.
Each hill ended up being a mini sprint. I found myself off the back more than once while my legs decided whether or not they wanted to race or not. I would somehow catch back on each descent and just prayed the pace would slow a bit. It did slow and lap 2 was still hard but had less amounts of spiriting up hills and more amounts of just climbing them hard. At one point though on a very steep part of the long climb in the middle of the course, a surge occurred and Matt and I went off the back. Matt and I, mostly Matt, worked on the next flat to chase back on to the group. There were only maybe 15 people left in the race at this point. We both survived the next few surges, my legs were getting better and I was riding closer to the front than I was before. Lauren delivered some perfect feeds, which we all would have melted in the heat without.
Later in the race Matt said his goodbyes as we took a trip off the back for good sometime in lap 3. Somebody (CycleLife?) went off the front and I knew it was going to get hard. The group waited for a minute or so, and then the attacks came. In my mind I countered, or at least followed 500 attacks, although it was more likely 5. On the last part of the steep hill we were literally sprinting up it. My legs said no, and I fell off the pace. It was insane. Maybe 8 guys stayed in the lead group. I hitched up with two other riders, a Kelly Benefits dude and a QCW dude and we worked together for the remainder of the race. Late in lap 5 the QCW dude cramped up and the Kelly dude and I pressed on. Right before the last climb we caught one rider who was dropped out of the lead group. I knew the cash was going 8 places deep and I figured I raced this much I should try to give it a go. I slowly cranked up the pace before the last climb and then launched a somewhat unimpressive by the numbers attack. It did work though and I dropped my off the back friends and took 8th. Meanwhile Harris was doing his TT thing and picking off people left and right. Showing that you should never quit no matter what, Matt came in for 11th right behind my group.
Immediately after the race, despite the "lets all GTFO of here" vibe, the team hit the recovery drinks. All in all it was a good day of hard racing.

For you geeks the power file can be found here.
and for the others book of faces pictures are here.

1 comment:

Marten said...

Congrats, that is a super tough race. I loved it last year, but I'm glad I didn't do it this year. Those descents are gnarly and would not be fun with 90+ other neophyte (including myself here) cat 4/5 descenders. I hope Rich and USACF make-up for next year.