Cloud Climber

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Well, driving up to the High Point Uphill TT, I was startled by the density of the clouds that seemed to be split in half by the top of the hill climb! Driving into the park, I had my foot on the brake as visibility was virtually nil…

Flash forward to the start line. I see O’Donnell on his TT bike. In the back of my mind, I thought this was advantageous to all of us, but O’Donnell is very acute when it comes to the details — he wasn’t here to go slow…

With the ground still wet, off I go, perhaps a little too hard… Immediately I could feel that the course wasn’t as fast as last year. Last year, at 150 pounds, I flew up this darn climb, going up in the big ring as if it felt like the small ring!!! This year, I was in the small ring and it felt like the big ring!!! I think Kenny likes 150 pounds versus 159!!! Looking at file afterwards, even stranger was that last year I averaged 95 rpms and this year 89 rpms…

At any rate, I had a good ride, feeling weakest on the faster sections. Once into the park, visibility was still an issue and I had to rider slower than preferred. Also, I couldn’t see the line and it came up a little faster than I thought…

In the end, 6th. Not bad, not great. In the back of my mind, I wanted top-4, but it is what it is. I lost to all super athletes. Northeastern’s Mike Rosenhaus pulled an O’Donnell and crushed the field (I know — I’ve ridden with Rosenhaus on the team rides!!!). Good for us to get the victory.

2nd went to O’Donnell, who in my mind had the ride of the day. He went up on P3, disc. He calculated the speed at which he would be in the bars, but regardless that was very very impressive. There were sections where I was crawling at 11-12 mph and he must’ve been in a similar situation. To take 2nd on this climb on the TT bike not only tells me that he has been aero on at the other events, but he’s simply just stronger. Very very impressive and I take my hat off.

3rd to Battista to Ideal Tile, who’s been training at altitude at Fort Lewis all year 🙂 The guys at the end were making jokes. “Dude, there’s looking fit and then there’s looking sick. You’re lookin’ a little SICK!!!” Fast, though. That skinny kid had a great time.

4th to Van Dessel’s Edwin Bull, a monster rider who reminds me of Roger. Edwin always gets me at this climb.

5th (and this hurts) to Jason Walters of Ideal Tile, the guy I was hoping to beat to get into the lead of the Garden State Cup. Jason was first amateur finisher last week at Ephrata so I knew I had my work cut out for me. And he’s lost a ton of weight, his face almost emaciated. Jason is a great rider, can sprint, can climb, excellent in crits, and he’s a big favorite now to take home the Cup, the first time in 7 years Northeastern hasn’t won…

But the season ain’t over yet. I am happy that 2nd — 6th were all within 30 seconds. I was right there, just got beat by better guys. It was a heavy, heavy week and I decided to not do Kingwood on Sunday — always listen to your body! O’Donnell put in a crushing time, averaging 30+ mph. My goal for States is to get to 29, and if I can do that I’ll be a very happy camper.

Nick Bruno, who has been in transition and now foundation work for the last two weeks, did very well to take 8th or 9th, 30 seconds behind me. The field was stacked in that TT and he did fantastic considering his state of training. I want Nick to come back strong and hungry this summer and that means you can’t expect to do great at everything. Nick understands this and I am eager to see how he competes in the important summer events… Nick could win this TT, it’s very much within his reach, but he has some bigger ambitions and if you try to be great at everything you’re good at nothing…

I feel terrible for all the guys who lined up to TT and then it got cancelled (did I forget that part?). After the P123s went off, the troopers stopped the race because they couldn’t safely control the traffic. Eh, c’est la vie. But for anyone who has time trialed, it’s almost twice as stressful at road racing, the night before, all the preparation, your mind so focused on this singular effort…

Next up is Somerset TT, where I want to perform well. 2nd last year, 5 seconds behind Gisler. I’ll keep that in the back of my mind when I really start to suffer!!!

Thanks for reading.

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 | | |