Its been a week since I got back from the Tour de Grove in STL. It was a long drive each way (about 14 hours) I think it was worth it, though. I raced the 2/3 race as I’m a lowly 2 and unable to get into the Pro/1 field, so I felt some pressure to get results as I knew I had some good form after that Nationals criterium.
Friday night was the Loop de Loop criterium. Its the old Gateway Cup-The Loop course, but ran backwards, which makes for a scary pot-hole-filled descent and then a sharp left hander into a narrow alley, quickly followed by another left onto the finish straight and there’s only 200m to go. I spent most of the race near the front, though never really doing any work. I just floated around waiting for someone of importance to get a gap that would be worth bridging to, which never happened. With 3 to go Jason got in a move, got a decent gap, and with 1 to go it had the chance to stick, though one Tulsa Tough rider reeled it all back with me right on his wheel. I got shuffled back on the outside side, but I jumped into the second to last turn and moved up to third wheel. I grabbed some brake before the last turn and then sprinted all the way through it, which had my exit speed about 3-5mph higher than the leaders and with 50m to go I already knew I was clear.
It was insane to finally win something (kinda) big in St. Louis. It was a huge relief, though I knew it was going to make the rest of the weekend a bit frustrating for me. I typically feel like I have a target on my back when I race in STL. Probably because the few races I have won, have been from attacks with a lap or so to go, so it makes sense to sit on me. It’s easy to pick on the stupid kid that always goes really fast for one lap. Though, I’m not stupid anymore and not much of a kid either.
I played it conservative the rest of the weekend. Stayed upright. Made some bad calls in the last laps of the Tour de Grove and the Dutchtown circuits/crits, but ended up 5th on Saturday at the Grove and 4th on Sunday in Dutchtown.
I’m flying to Texas on Thursday and racing five times in five days. Which I couldn’t be happier about. The last couple of times I’ve raced Superweek and had this kind of form, I always got better as the series went on. After an “opener” at The Driveway Thursday night with Colton, I should be good to go for some more 2/3 races… maybe even upgrade to 1’s after this weekend.
I wouldn’t have thought I’d be saying THAT this season.