Our team's first attempt at putting on a road race was a success, as the event went off smoothly and received plenty of compliments. The turnout could have been better, but it was still exciting to actually see this project come to life with around 85 cyclists participating. There is nothing like putting on a race to help really appreciate the process.
The Cat 1,2,3 event ended up with 15 participants. We were slated to do 81 miles over the 9 mile circuit. The American Equity Squad included myself, Luke Guyton, and Matt Zimmer. Matt and Luke are from the Quad cities so I have ridden with them quite a bit. I had a good feel for what our game plan should be and was optimistic about our chances for success.
Right from the gun, Iowa Cup champ, Matias Perret (Mercy-Specialized) jumped the group and was soon joined by a guy from Luxemberg named Derrick. The rumor was that Derrick was the guy to mark, so this move had some potential.
The AE plan was essentially to try and keep Luke out of the wind, and hopefully Matt as well, depending on the break-away potentials. Matt is riding exceptionally well, and has been racing and training himself to a new level.
I took on the role of policing the breakaways, and doing the 'work' for the team to keep things in check. I was getting help from some of the other teams, but wasn't too excited about how crappy I felt, as the break seemed to be holding a steady gap, and distancing itself whenever I went to the back of the field. It was hot, but I mainly felt bogged down from a bloating feeling. I am experimenting with some new nutritional strategies that definitely need adjusted.
After letting the two-man break away dangle off the front for over a lap, I started to get concerned. So, after about 15 miles I attacked the field, hoping to join those two and call it a race. Of course, it was too early for the rest of the guys to have things decided, so my attack inspired a spirited chase that quickly snatched up Matias and Derrick.
Once things were all back together, the pace slowed down a bit. For the most part, I was able to represent our three man team accordingly, keeping our general game plan intact. Later in the race, Nate Kullborn ended up dangling off the front for quite some time. I rotated through with some of the other participants, as he was reeled in very slowly. I am sure he was hoping that someone would join him, but the heat was starting to wear on the field, not to mention the course's rolling section that was beginning to dampen the spirits of anyone aspiring to bridge up.
The race ref talked us into reducing the race to 7 laps. Well, this sort of changed the tactics a bit, and the intensity ramped up now that we were well over the half way mark. At some point, the European guy jumped the field and no one was able to respond. He always seemed to be in sight, but just out of reach. I did what I could to help reel him in and asked Matt to try and stay out of the chase. I really felt that Matt and Luke would have a strong finish if they could save as much energy as possible.
Unfortunately, we couldn't seem to gain any ground on Derrick. More unfortunately for me, I was having a terrible time with cramping... It had been going on for quite some time, and getting a bit ridiculous. My right hand was locking up and both calves were completely spasming whenever the wattage picked up. I was able to represent the team in the chase until the latter part of the final lap, so the situation was still favorable, even though I had to drop out with about 3 miles to go. I suppose you could say that "my work was done", but I was still frustrated that my body was letting me down. A few tweaks and I will be good to go for the next event, however, so no worries.
The field never quite caught Derrick, but Matt and Luke sprinted to 2nd and 3rd. That means we got two guys on the podium and won the Scott County Shoot-Out Team Competition. Definately a successful day for American Equity Racing. Even more of a success for our club, as the event was well-received by all that participated. The neutral water hand-ups, follow vehicles, and free Rudy's Tacos were just a few of the noteworthy perks for those that entered. It feels good to have helped provide this racing opportunity to USAC members. Paul Deninger took one for the team by volunteering to direct the event, with the help of many members of our team and their friends/family.
Thanks to all that helped to make this event a success.
Quad Cities Road Race Results
1 Derrick Taber LG Bertrange Luxembourg
2 Matthew Zimmer Velosport Iowa/American Equity DeWitt, Ia
3 Lucas Guyton Velosport Iowa/American Equity Davenport, IA
4 Steven Robinson IA Zealous Racing Des Moines, IA
5 Jesse Leonard DICE Bettendorf, IA
6 Nate Kullbom Atlas Iowa City, Ia
7 Joe Petersen Scheels Grey Dog Norwalk, IA
8 Matias Perret Iowa City Cycling Club Iowa City, IA
9 Bendan Kealey Iowa City Cycling Club Illinois City, IL
10 Eric Seratoni St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club Muscatine, IA
11 Ryan French Zealous Racing Des Moines, IA
12 Jeremiah Gantzer Dice Bettendorf, IA
13 Chad Bishop Velosport Iowa/American Equity Muscatine, IA
14 Scott Robinson IA Zealous Racing Des Moines, IA
15 Gavin Huseboe Central Iowa Cycling Club Marshalltown, IA
TEAM Classification (Shoot-Out)
1st: American Equity Racing Team
2nd: LG Bertrange