Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


04 June 2010

In The Hood.

Mt Hood Cycling Classic that is....all the way in Oregon.  Quite the haul out here for this 6 day stage race affair but we made it safe and in one piece.  The 18hr haul out included ticking off a  few new US state visits for being Idaho,Washington and of course Oregon itself!  Forgive me if this post is a little jumbled and/or all over the place.  Currently we are four stages in and I am sitting on my bed after this mornings 18mile TT.  Okay, lets back track a little huh...

First stage was a short 4 mile prologue at the Portland raceway.  Did bring back memories for me from racing good old Tuesday night Sandown back in Oz.  In the pouring rain and cold, my start time was 8.41pm and almost on dark.  Very weird to try and make the body fire up at that time of night and needless to say I didn't smash it up and finished 30 odd seconds down.  Props to the gentle giant of the peloton Parnsey who drilled for a 4th place....great job man.

Stage one was a real ripper.  Short little circuit in a park on roads that were greasy as all hell, covered in moss and other dampness that was ready to steal your wheels at every turn.  Essentially it was a 90min mountain bike race with the first half of the lap steep climbing and a tight 180 turn and the second half mainly descending.  To be honest the legs were well crappy.  I suffered early but was able to hang in there and avoid the carnage.  And I mean carnage.  Guys were all over the road dropping themselves like a sack of spuds and it was very nerve wracking that's for sure.  I mean I saw guys take themselves out just from accelerating hard it was that slippery.  With 10 laps to go I attacked and drew a little move away with a couple of other guys.  We spent the next 8 laps off the front with a solid gap until the United Healthcare boys caught us back with 2 laps to go.  Bummer.  Pretty much I was toasted after that and just hung in the front group for a finish and very happy to have all my teeth at the end of the day.  Krug-dog got up for 6th and the Captain got 10th so it was a much more respective day for the Rio clan for sure.

Giving it the stick...

We faced 170km and around 10,000ft of climbing for Stage Two and it was one I was looking forward to indeed.  Essentially we had two large laps that featured two solid climbs, mostly highway grade stuff so nothing too steep but not that it matters sometimes, you can suffer up anything if you want to!  First loop I felt horrible, literally like my legs were pedaling in squares.  I rode mostly in the front and tried my best to get in the early break which never eventuated with Bissell and UHC being very attentive.  It wasn't until the the backside of the second climb a small trio rolled off and to be honest I wasn't too worries not featuring any big hitters.  So the roads themsleves were awesome.  So picturesque and at times we were on narrower forest service roads that made us really feel as if we were 'back there'...kinda like mtbing really.  Second lap UHC rode tempo and my legs started to wake up feeling a little more in tune.  I needed it too, as on the final climb they drilled it causing a split of 25 guys.  Both Gray and myself made it and were able to have a crack at the flat finish sprint.  8th was the result for me and was pretty stoked to crack a top 10 on a big stage of this race.

And here we are.  TT this morning was solid.  18miles and two major climbs.  Luckily the weather cleared up and it was dry roads.  My ride went okay I think, had a mid race dual with Parnsey who I caught on the climbs but he would crush me on the descents and flats!  Still awaiting results but hopefully I can sneak into the top twenty on GC (currently 24th) we will see.

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