As a team, racing for highest possible general classification at Mt. Hood is the biggest goal. We all focus on making sure that the highest placed racer gets every advantage from all of us whenever possible. Going into the last road race, my teammate Mark Santurbane was the highest placed on GC. Both Mark and I were similarly placed in 16 and 24th, but I had wrecked and was much less likely to make a go of the overall. When Mark flatted less than a quarter mile into an 89 mile super hard stage and the field was stretched out (meaning everyone was going as hard as they can go), Justin Mayfield and myself dropped off the back in an attempt to make sure that Mark got back on. By the time Mark got going again, it was already determined that I should try to get back on the field. I was in no man's land, no follow vehicles to draft on, no other riders to draft off of and doing 32mph up a 3% grade just to maintain my place in respect to the field. When Mark finally did come through from being towed back by our team vehicle, I was in no shape to help him through the caravan (string vehicles following the race). He did catch on, but then the field turned left and went up a sharper hill and Justin and I were together, blown out the back of a major race from the very beginning. This is the last place in the whole world you want to be (other than in a wreck) if you are a competitive cyclist! So Justin and I finally decided that it would be better to just keep on keepin' on and we motored in, catching a few sorry sorts out on the long road to the Meadows Ski Hill on Mount Hood. By the time we finished, we were both in a zombie like state from the 4 and a half hours of full-on effort. The next day, we finished it off with a 1hr criterium in downtown Hood River, in front of the Full Sail brewery. I was lucky enough to get stopped before plowing into a major pile up on the last corner before the start/finish line about half way into the criterium and they even gave me a free lap like all of the wrecked racers. A second wreck would have put me into a serious world of hurt. Anyways, Mark finished 13th overall, Justin and I were much further down in the 50 to 60's range, mainly because of the stage that we rode in alone. Only 82 of the 146 original starters actually finished!
And now I'm stuck sleeping on my right side for the next 3 weeks... joy. Maybe I can make some $ at this coming Friday nights' Eagle Criterium and make things right again! Yeah, it's a never ending desire to kick @$$.
Time to rest and recover... until next time, it's been fun-
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