Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


22 May 2012



Quite simply there was little to write about in the week following the Tour of the Gila.  I was well toasted after three weeks on the road and it was a perfect time to take a mini break.  I rode just twice and to give you an indication of how tired I was I averaged 90bpm heart rate and maxed at 115bpm!  Smashed!  But if you understand the basic principles of training I had done some super overcompensation and with the right rest the form should have been on the up swing soon after.  Locally the Superior Morgul Classic is one of the bigger events on the calendar being held over three days with a time trial, criterium and road race.  Last year I had to sit things out on account of my UCI status so I was super excited to race it this year over some terrain that would suit me pretty well.  The race is scored as an omnium, meaning that instead of accumulated time each finishing place is worth points.  For a rider this translates into some hectic racing where 'just finishing in the bunch' doesn't cut it!

The whole race weekend is centralized around the famous Mogul Bismarck road race loop that was used in the Coors Classic Stage Race back in the 80's but also famously featured in the classic 1985 cycling film 'American Flyers'. Staring a dapper Kevin Costner (sporting a fine soup strainer above his top lip I might add) it's a must watch for any cycling fan.  The Morgul Bismarck loop features a short 1 mile climb dubbed 'The Wall' that starts out at 5%  and then kicks up nastily to 12% by the top before turning right onto some big rollers out on Highway 128. 

I managed to dig this recap of American Flyers for those not yet educated on such a fine film.


Held on a Friday afternoon there was no time to clock off and relax over a tough 10km course.  Essentially half of the Morgul Bismarck road race loop it's smack bang up the 'Wall' climb and then onto the undulating Highway 128 and finishing right as it intersects with Highway 93. A block headwind coming straight out of the mountains makes it tough to pace your effort correctly and maintain good speed.  The race officials had organized the start list in alphabetical order, so much like the roll call in my school life I was off near to last.  Having only my road bike with clip on aero bars I was sure it wasn't too much of a disadvantage against full blown TT rigs with the amount of climbing required.  I kept to my pacing schedule pretty well and didn't really die until the last 150 meters before the line where I was well and truly seeing Elvis.  Finishing time trials is one of those funny things as other than my own perceptions I had no idea how things went on the results sheet!  It wasn't until I got to my driveway an hour or so later a friend congratulated me on finishing 6th.  Not too bad of a start.


  First and second in the criterium!

With Juwi-Solar and Horizon/Panache having the largest teams in the race it was clear that despite both of our intentions to send riders up the road nothing would stay away.  This made for a hard and fast race and with Josh and I both sitting top 10 overall after the time trial the team did an awesome job of keeping us at the front. With 3 laps to go Jorge put in a massive effort to bring back the lone leader Ian Holt and soon enough we were jostling for position in the final corners. Special mention goes to Kit for holding his own against some bigger bodied riders and keeping the pace high.  Josh had an awesome run into the bottom corner and led it out all the way to the line for a repeat win from last year while a few wheels back I got a little blocked before opening up my sprint and was able to work my way through to grab second place.  It was perfect with both of us gaining valuable omnium points but also the top podium places.  Josh took the overall leaders jersey and I slotted into 3rd place.  A great day for the team and there was a real buzz amongst the boys to finish things off strongly for the final stage.

  After leading out the sprint the line couldn't have come any sooner!

The majority of the overall omnium points were offered up in 80 mile road stage so despite our team leading it was still anyone's game. Featuring 6 laps of the 13mile classic Morgul Bismarck loop it was going to be a killer day in some fine Colorado sunshine.  The team plan was to use some of our guys to set early tempo and allow Josh and myself the opportunity to save the legs and not follow every move.  Juwi-Solar had other plans and soon enough a break of 10 or so ended up the road with a couple of wildcard riders on overall GC.  We had Jorge in there thankfully to keep things in check and also prove useful later on in the stage if one of us bridged up.

To keep the gap tight we put three on the front for the next couple of laps in which Connor, Tyler and Kit did a bang up job of keeping things steady.  But with the tough terrain taking it's toll it was soon down to only myself, Josh, Austin and Nick representing the Cow Team.  With three laps to go Nick and Austin pulled some mighty fine team work moves and drilled it up the 'Wall", hoping to form a split and a chase group for Josh or myself to get to the front break.  Sure enough the peloton went kaboom and I went super deep but was able to hang in with a small group with a couple from Juwi-Solar and Cal-Giant alongside fellow Aussie Lachlan Morton.  With Josh in the GC lead I had the free ride on the group, but with Morton stomping it on the climbs it was no arm chair!  In the end our group reached the break and the reset button had been pressed.  Jorge was willing to do whatever he could but after almost 80% of the race off the front he knew that his legs were limited.  At this point the odds were not stacked in my favor up against 4 Juwi-Solar riders and two Cal-Giants.  The group remained largely intact until the final time up the 'Wall' to the finish line which of course was at the top!  Knowing this climb well from training it was always a matter of timing it just right but I was confident in the legs I had left that I could give it a strong go.  Midway up with about 200m to the line everyone was still a little hesitant not wanting to blow to early and sensing this I hit out as hard as I could.  I had no idea what was going on behind but the finishing arch was coming fast but I still wasn't home free yet!  With 10 meters to go the legs were starting to pedal sqaures and a flash of red clothing came in my peripheral vision but I was able to hang on for the win!  I had about a micro seconds worth of energy for a half hearted one armed salute before it was collapse time.  But a happy collapse!  The win also meant I had taken the overall GC omnium which was great that it stayed within the team.

 Drinks anyone?

The whole three days were a tough fought battle but I was super proud of how the team rode.  Winning two stages out of three and the overall GC is a mighty fine weekend.  It's clear in this sport that team work wins races and there were a lot of our guys on the DNF sheet at the end of the road race but their role was critical in making the win happen.  I'm super looking forward to lining up with the boys at the next race as I think the past weekend has really brought the team even closer and we are only scratching the surface in what we can achieve for the rest of the season.  So a massive thanks to the Horizon/Panache lads alongside Charlie and the GS Ciao club members who were out there handing us bottles.

On a side note I have read that the winner from the weekend's race will gain an invite to the US Pro Cycling Challenge TT Stage in August so stay tuned for more on that one.

 I had high hopes for this giant check to live in my garage.  Sadly it got wiped clean and used for the next category podium.  Learning the insider Hollywood tricks!

Team work wins races!  Great effort by everyone involved well done guys.  And we managed to avoid that nasty storm in the background!

The Daily Camera did a nice little feature linked below:

1 comment:

Kat said...

Boom is right! Boom Boom!!!