Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valley of the What? [Sun - my a$$]

Tales from the Valley of the Sun Stage Race!!!


For the TT, the shade tent came in handy…as a rain shelter! We hastily erected it to keep the trainers dry while we readied for stage 1. Rain in the desert is a beautiful thing, especially when it mostly stopped while our flight raced. A 22km out and back course, which works out to 14.2 miles for Americans. Full leg warmers for some as we clawed our way into the wind on the way out, and cruised back downwind, slightly downhill. Time trialin’ like it is supposed to be. Mostly about 20-22mph going out, while coming home, holding 25-30mph was the norm. Chris Bowlus set the DBC standard with a 34 mins and change run, with a 25th placing in our cat 4 group. Although, his thunder was robbed by Franz [I am not making this up] Hammer, who put three minutes into Chris. Fortunately Franz rode in the 70+ category. A 71 year old crushed all of us! In the 4s, the leader only got 2:50 on Chris. The rest of us came in a minute or two behind Chris and were spread out from 39th to 66th. That is except for Nowicki who apparently was so fast
across the line they missed him entirely! Nowhere to be found in the results. More on that in day 2. A ZTeam guy from Napa won it by almost a minute. Tyler Dibble and Taylor Kuphalt took 1st and 3rd in the 2s.

"Bowlus screaming fast!!!"

"Proof that Nowicki finished the TT!"


Pre-dawn arrival at the course allowed us to catch a few zzz’s in the cars, while Steve proved his existence to the race organizers via laptop photos of him at the TT, and the readout from his powertap. They let him race. As the sun rose, a few of us rode the trainer, mostly just to stop shivering. The race was 2 ½ loops of a 16 mile triangle with a 2 mile climb, the last 1k being a steep pitch. At the top of the hill on the first lap, Jas and Will, crested side by side, then dove opposite directions for daylight to avoid a crash and rejoin the lead group. Meanwhile, Bowlus flatted at the top, but Robin and Derek towed him back. Nowicki was behind them but gamely fought his way back with the help of strangers. Everyone was back together for the second lap, but not before Derek and Chris watched Robin fight his way through a nasty, bumpy 100 degree 25mph turn and narrowly avoid highsiding as his backend kicked out a good foot or so.

As Jas and Will lined up for the second climb, Rolles sidles up – first news that DBC was intact. Second climb was for KOM time bonus, shattering the pack and shelling
all DBC’ers except Will. Bowlus and Jas joined 2 others to bridge the gap, laying down some serious watts. Robin, Steve, Derek demonstrated that the SSA ratio in this climate still remains skewed heavily in the snot direction.

Heading up the climb to the finish, Will remained at the front showing strong DBC representation chasing breaks and even leading out the GC leader – Napa’s teamless Chris Lyman (ZTeam). But all that early work took its toll. Jas and Chris gave words of encouragement as they blew past and tried to hang. At the steep pitch the group continued to dissolve. Jas continued strong to the finish as Chris grabbed every wheel he could to tow him to the finish. We all shifted our placings somewhat but as of yet, don’t know exactly by how much. While waiting for results we collaborated on an awesome mixed grill. Looking forward to tomorrow’s throwdown at the State Capitol. Finally, temps are supposed to be higher than Davis – and no RAIN!


Paul Robins said...

hey guys! glad to hear all are crash-free and suffering mightily out there. Have fun tomorrow and a safe drive home.

FWS said...

Great post Steve.
Way to go guys!
Oh Yeah...
Nice Kits...


Lee said...

EPIC!!! I love it!
Baptism of fire for the new kits!
Keep up the great work & hang tight fellas!

E.O'B. said...

I was going to leave a smart-a@# comment about all of you getting girled by Kelly in the TT--but then I remembered that she's beaten me in a TT, so I'm just gonna shut up....