First I will echo the sentiments felt by not only myself but other races who've attended the Tour of Millersburg by saying that it was an awesome race, held by an awesome community. You definitely felt welcomed and it was like they really wanted you there and not like they were doing us a favor. You could also tell that the citizens there would been over backwards to make sure that us racers were comfortable and have everything we needed. This was my first time there and already I have a place to stay, for free, next year when I go back, which I definitely will do. On to the racing...
The time trial was first, which I was not excited about since the only time I've ever time trialed was at Tour of Washington Co., and that was the first time. I thought I was rolling along pretty good. I was the second person to go off after Lance Anderson. Before I took off I could see Lance disappear off into the fog and I wouldn't see him again until we crossed paths at the turn around. I knew I wouldn't catch him and I could only hope that I wouldn't get caught but I did. The TT wasn't hard, I just have no skills and very little motivation when it comes to something like that. By the posting of the results I finished in 40th place. There goes my GC hopes. The sad thing was I was actually kind of trying on the TT because I thought I could do well in the crit and road race so I wanted to at least be mid-pack after the time trial.
Later on was the criterium. After getting my result for the TT, I wanted to win the crit. I started gearing up and trying to get motivated for the race. I had never done this course before and I heard that it was different from last year so I wanted to warm up by taking a few laps. After my first lap of the course, I thought there was no way I could win because of that stupid hill. I took another lap thinking my legs just needed to wake up or something but that didn't help. I remember telling my wife after those couple laps that I was unsure that I could do well because of the hill and that this race would be about survival. I continued to warm up until the start completely avoiding going up that hill anymore extra times. The race started and Whole Wheel, with 2 guys in the top 3 overall, got on the front and just started drilling it. I tried to stay up front because I figured as long as I could keep contact with the wheel in front of me I wouldn't get dropped. In the first third of the race I felt like I was on the ropes, just playing defense. At about half way through the race I didn't really feel any better but I also noticed that I didn't feel any worse. I was starting to read the race and I noticed that if you were close to the front up the hill then there was some valuable recovery seconds waiting for you at the top while everyone kinda caught their breath. My strategy would be to hang on until the top of the hill and spend the whole front side of the course recovering and pedaling as little as possible. I can corner well and that made all the difference in allowing me to recover. I also noticed that if you attacked on the hill you would die by the time we got to the top. It was that same rhythm the whole race. Coming in to the last lap was no different. There was a guy who attacked early and was off the front. I was sitting about top ten coming up the hill and about 20 meters from the top I just gunned it out of the saddle, up and around the corner and got a gap at the spot where we had been taking it easy. Another guy jumped to my wheel and let me know we had a gap, and right behind him was my teammate Jorge. We bridge across to the early attacker and I was sitting in second coming out of the final turn and knew I had the win. I was extremely happy. Knowing that my GC hopes were dashed, I was happy that I would come out of the weekend with at least one win. What I hadn't noticed during the race was that this course and the pace was shredding the field. The guy who held the yellow jersey after the TT was even pulled. With and lot of the guys who were in the top spots after the TT not finishing or not earning any points, I shot up on the GC from 40th to 4th. It was at that point that I figured I would have a shot at the podium.
(Thanks Jim Wilson)
I was nervous after the finish because I didn't know if finishing in 7th would give me enough point over the other top people to finish on the podium. After trying to do calculations in my head, the results were finally posted and my 7th in the road race gave me enough points to put me in 3rd overall. I was pumped. My first podium in a stage race. My teammate finished in 4th on GC right off the podium. If either one of us had of known what was going on we probably would've got both of us up there.
It was a good weekend, in a great town, holding an excellent race, run by wonderful people, capped off by a visit to Chocolate World with my wife.