Tuesday, May 01, 2012

2012 JMSR Stage 3

What a difference a year makes. This last weekend PACC/WATT POSSE headed over to Joe Martin Stage Race. We had a strong team with Corey riding very well and Collin setting things on fire the last few weeks. Having a top ten on the GC was a given for both of the guys. While we didn’t end up with both of them in the top ten, Corey got 9th and Collin had a hard weekend on the bike… I mean when you get beat by me in the TT!!! :)

All that aside though the weekend was great and on a more personal note was a total 180 change from last year. There I was on Saturday’s road race, we missed the break with our GC guy and I had tons of work ahead to do. I immediately got to the front to do my job and pull it back. With the help of Rusty we were able to keep them close, but no one else would work in the race. As we were on the front hitting it as hard as we could the time was still going up. Once Rusty and I blew up the GC was up the road. The time gap was like 8 minutes. As I slowly slipped off of the back of the field my mind was a complete wreck. My fitness was subpar, my heart was broken, school sucked, and there I was slowly slipping off the back to ride the next 40 some miles by myself. At one point I came to the realization that I didn’t even want to race my bike anymore. I was sick of the pain, traveling, lack of results and just plain tired. Tears were running down my face, I wanted out. All that I’ve I worked for, going to MSU for cycling, going to Belgium to race and the countless hours on the bike were for what? But I kept on riding, pushing forward at a pace where I could finally see the beautiful stream on the side of the road, hearing the kids clap for me and the corner marshals telling me to keep going. Keep going… as I thought to myself as I dismounted and stood on top of a hill in one of the most beautiful places in the US… I finally heard the birds chirping, cows mooing and the pain of racing was gone… keep going. At this point the tears were far from being held back. When I got to the finish everything was taken down. Racers were long gone and my car was the only one in the parking lot. I wanted to go home.

That night was hard, I talked to anyone and everyone about hanging up the race wheels and moving on to directing the team or being the race mechanic. This decision would have to be slept on.

You can see my helmet just behind the guy on the right.

One year later. We missed the break again, but this time we had Greg Hercules on the team. To the front he went, miles after miles the gap was coming down to the large break. The first 20-30 riders were all single file because he was pushing the 53/11 at a pace which would destroy most. In the back of my mind I remembered last year and how I did that same thing only to be blowing off the back at a quick pace. But, there he was on the front again, even after the big hill!!! With about 10 miles to go the break was back. Greg’s job for the day was going to be our field sprinter for the long run into the finish. He gave up that role the instant he hit the front miles ago. We talked about it and he said go for it.

Ten miles out it was getting fun. Since there was a yellow line rule the road was small, so keeping your position required some bumping, grinding and sharp accelerations. The finish was coming up quick 1000m, the yelling began “That’s my @^@%# Wheel” I let him have it, it was going nowhere. 700m, watching the flow in the top 20, staying out of the ditch and watching for the road cones. 600m, Wow this is coming up fast! 500m, the field swung over to the left, Cagle shot out on the right, only one other person jumped, I was kind of boxed in. 400m, the field flowed to the left. A guy came around me going real fast, a kid jumped tying to get to him, I jumped onto his wheel. 300m Cagle and the Mercy guy were just up the road, the kid in front of me wasn’t catching the 787 rider. 200m the kid threw out the anchor, shit it’s too early to go but I had to start. We were coming up fast and the 2 riders where getting close. I hit is hard as I could on the left side of the road. 100m, I could win this! Am I going fast enough? Was I just leading everyone else out? 50m, I lost the race but 3rd? 40m, a rider passed me on my right. 30m, shit I’m pulling the field and am going to get swarmed at the line. Finish came up fast 4th. And I was leading out the field… no one could come around. A difference a year makes.

Time to take a break and focus on school, go up to Minnesota with Jessie for Muckers wedding, and maybe graduate in the summer. See you all in Minnesota soon. Jessie is excited to meet all of you!


Corey Ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corey Ray said...

Love it! You da man!

Scott said...

I am proud and happy for all you guys, even though I had nothing but positive vibes to contribute. Congrats Mike on getting past the slump!

spears said...

the dude who won the race looks like a homo throwing a javelin.

Mike Lalla said...

But... he won.