By Michael Gil -- Valley of the Sun *GC* (2) -- 02/13/11
On the Valley of the Sun…
For the first, or, ahem second time sporting my new “spots” (trying to forget the catastrophe up in Napa otherwise known as Cherry Pie) I felt pretty good. The drive down to Phoenix was pleasant, with the better part of it spent sprawled across the backseat of a speeding automobile with some good tunes.
The Time Trial went well enough considering it is beginning of the season and for being on the longer end of the TT spectrum. 19th Place, with about a minute and a half separating me from the leader, felt like a pretty cool spot to be in going into the next day’s hot 90 mile road race.
But then…it turned windy. The largely flat, trapezoidal course coupled with a strong wind out of the east made for a race that was bound to crack wide open, and it did. A group of five got away in the tough cross-wind section leading up to the climb and stayed away, maintaining a lead of about a minute on the chasing field, and two minutes on the race leader.
The last time I was in contact with a teammate was on our second lap. Mr. Fairman and I were chatting idly while climbing the hill for our second of what would be six increasingly miserable ascents when an uphill crash unleashed no small amount of chaos. This scenario would to be repeated on the subsequent climb, whittling the field down to about 40 riders. Long story short- I worked too hard. I chased too much and got too frustrated with other riders, who seemed content to sit in and let the race be dictated by others. When the dust finally cleared (which, honestly didn’t happen until I saw the good old San Francisco City and County line) I ended up gapped on the penultimate climb and performing my second solo TT of the weekend to hold onto a precious 46th Place @12:42 behind the winner L
Considerably bummed upon reading the results- I resolved to recoup some of my $140 race entry. The final stage of VOS is a lovely little criterium with 8 turns and decent enough pavement throughout. There were primes- lot’s of them, so I went for them, and ended up snagging three, which helped mitigate some of the weekend’s expenses and earned me a pair of shades to match my new kit. Brandon got into the mix in the sprint and pulled out a 10th place finish and we went home feeling menos mal as the Spanish like to say.