Massacre, Then Massacred

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Well, the Giro di Jersey TT went well.

I’ll be honest: even though there were several pro teams and other amateur squads bringing a full roster of guys, I was hoping to win, or at least get on the podium. I was prepping for this event, the training went well, the legs felt good, the legs were fresh, but most importantly the head was right — I was ready to dig 1000% and leave it on the pavement. I was very, very hungry. Someone asked me if I was ready to go, and I said I’d be going to that line breathing fire…

The only problem was Chodroff. And Hoffman, Baumann, Quintero, and another Empire rider. I took 6th. Chodroff was 19:53, and 2nd thru 6th were within 15 seconds of one another. When I first saw the result, I wasn’t uber-happy, but after scanning the start list, I realized that I put serious time into a lot of Pros and Cat-1s.

So it was a success. I was stronger on Friday, but so were the other guys! The course wasn’t really as advertised. They said “flat to rolling with a slightly uphill finish.” Well, there were some wicked descents, a few smallring hills, and really sapping rollers. In my opinion, the hardest TT course I’ve ever done. I think, physically, the course is harder than Flanders, Somerset Circuit, or Silver Mine. The course was much more challenging than anticipated…

I held back in the beginning. Almost immediately you’re rocketing downhill. I have been working on keeping my cadence in the upper 90s (I’m a spinaholic), but I found myself in old habits, 110+ rpms. I was already doing 45 mph on that downhill, came out of the bars on the sharp turn (I later learned that the faster guys stayed in the bars — it’s the little things that count!!!). Then took the first hill not at 100%, staying seated and pushing a smaller gear. I noticed that I was catching my 30-second man, but on the hill I was making zero ground.

After that, I opened it up and starting pulling guys back, catching 4 or 5. Going out I was 31 mph average, and coming back was much harder, the rollers taking their toll. I took care to not let the cadence drop below 95, trying to spin steadily over this harder terrain… The final climb I took seated, and then actually started feeling really super as I approached the line, just barreling up and accelerating to the line — I was very satisfied by the effort and knew that starting slower had paid off…

Today was the Rocky Hill Road Race, 75 miles, 7 laps up the Rocky Hill HILL. Well, here I wasn’t so great. You would think being a good time trialist would translate into being a good climber, but this isn’t always the case — especially when you have strong riders DRILLING IT. Regarding climbing training, I have been training more for the pure anaerobic stuff (trying to prep for Sunday’s HELL circuit course) as opposed to the 4-5m Vo2 max or super LT efforts… So, I was suffering on a few of those laps up that long hill. Did I mention I’m about 10 pounds heavier this year?

Near the end, a three-man break got away. On the final time up that lap, the dwindled lead group was split in half. I was stuck on the second half of that group. I drilled it, trying to bridge. Me, Edwin Bull, this Colavita guy pulled our hearts out to get to that lead group… I think we caught them just as we entered the uphill sprint, and then we all came across the line staggered. I’m interested in how they’re going to score this, but even if there’re gaps they’ll be minimal. Kudos to Dan Hoffman — he looked totally in control all day, made that final split. Very impressive.

Tomorrow is the Corner House Grand Prix. I said from Day One that this’ll be the day. I also predicted that the Giro di Jersey is a good race for Troy, and now he’s flying up the GC, and the course is tailor-made for him. He should, on paper, butcher up the leaders and win the race. But we’ll see if Sal or Ralf can do something special.

For me, I’m looking to be aggressive tomorrow. I realized today just how strong the field is. In the TT, I blew by few riders like they were standing still, and today on that final climb I watched those exact same riders just take off and splinter the field in half… Last year I was able to survive Corner House while working for the team and took 18th, even winning a Prime (me, a prime? WTF?), but I realize tomorrow will be a completely different animal. I think, and this is scary, the race will be twice as hard as Rocky Hill.

So we’ll see how it shakes out. I’m fighting for a top-ten overall, and if I can pull that off, the race will be a complete success. I’ll be a happy cyclist when I do States next weekend! 🙂

Thanks for reading.

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Saturday, June 21st, 2008 | | |