Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


31 July 2012


After a few days chilling out it was time to pack the suitcase again for a 3 day local race up in the mountains of Colorado.  The best thing was being able to take one extra item that hasn't been with me on trips this season so far...Kat!  Despite a regular fixutre on the local calendar I'd never done the Salida Classic before which features an 8mile TT, downtown criterium and a road race that also doubles as the Colorado State Championships.  After missing out on the State Time Trial and Criterium Championships earlier in the year from being at other races I sure as hell wasn't going to miss this one!

Sometimes I forget just how vast the mountains are here.  The drive to Salida was a quick reminder that there is so much of this state that I haven't explored and very much feel the need to!  It's unreal to drive up to 9000ft or so and then have the road flatten out to a massive plateau with further peaks on the horizon.  Simply stunning.  With little time to unpack soon enough I was on the trainer getting my sweat on in preparation for the afternoon TT.  It was clear from my powermeter that we were indeed at 7100ft with the HR high in search of precious oxygen and the wattage much lower than normal.  After a mild panic trying to find the start line I arrived with just 3 minutes to spare and ready to go.  Going into a TT course blind is not one of my favourite actvities but thankfully it wasn't too technical, rather my own pacing issues being the toughest thing to overcome.  With super windy conditions I stuggled to keep the bike upright let alone settle into any great rhythm and soon enough the finish line came quicker than I expected and perhaps had a little too much left in the tank.  5th place but with a more managed effort I wonder if I would have been a little higher.  Practice makes perfect I suppose and I look forward to the next TT.

The following days criterium was perhaps one of the roughest courses all year.  The figure eight circuit feautred small rain gullies in almost every corner that gave way to mismatched pavements and sqaure edges.  Pre riding the course I honestly stuggled to find clean lines and it felt that way throughout the race also.  So sure enough midway through the 75 minutes I felt the dull steering take over which could only mean a front flat.  With a quick wheel change (thanks again Daryl!) the second half of the race things were going much better and I could actually hold speed in the turns!  In the last 3 laps Kit and Alex took the bull by the horns and lined it out on the front to bring back the break of two up the road.  Alex put in a super strong effort hauling them back with 1.5 laps to go and then Kit took over with myself on his wheel.  With two corners to go the swamp from behind began and I found myself 4th wheel coming into the finishing straight behind Mercy sprinter Zach Allison.  Sensing his kick I began to come on his left before realizing the barriers might come a little too close on that side and therefore switched to the right before opening things up.  It was always going to be tight but Zach and I both threw for the line each hoping it was enough.  Before we knew the result the scary thing was trying to slow down before turn one in which I almost aced myself straight into the barriers!  So from the photo finish Zach got it but either way I was happy to have a decent sprint in what is not normally my forte.

Post criterium dip in the river.  Still sporting some scars from Cascade.

With some warm tempurates forecasted for Sunday's road race I was well pleased with the 9:00am start for our catagory.  The course was 12 laps of a 5.7mile circuit which had some short steep climbs but nothing crazy that would cause a massive separation.  From the gun this was clear with many small attacks that would gain 20 seconds or so but then would never eventute into a major gap.  The high altitude was evident too with guys drilling it on the 40 second climb but then not being able to go on with the effort.  To be honest I didn't have super great legs in the first half of the race but just tried to follow any potential threats and conserve towards the finish.  From yesterdays criterium I was confident in my sprint and had no problem if it came down to another one. In fact I was a little bitter to lose by such a small margin so I wanted another crack and try to go one better!  In the end it was Yannick Eckmann who slipped away with 4 laps to go and stuck solo it for the win leaving the rest of us to fight it out the podium.  I had a pretty good run in the final few tricky corners and then opened it up to take another 2nd place.  Not sure where this sprinting form had come from but I was sure having fun with it!

Podium time.

The weekend ended with a nice float down the river.  It looks relaxing but in around a minute after this was taken we hit a rapid, flipped and I hit my head on a rock and lost my glasses!  Needless to say I waded in the shallow end for the rest of the afternoon!

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