Day 1. Lower Allen, PA "The Classic"
LA is another one of those fitness courses, not overly technical, just a need to ride clean lines and grind out a steady diet of tempo. This course has never favored me, but things are a changin'. I used to suffered on this type of course but for some reason this season my fitness has changed so that my body prefers this type of course.Another good start up the road and through the rather long prologue kept me in a good position starting the first lap. I don't even remember the gaps opening but that's how it usually happens. Once again I find myself riding with Morgan along with Nystrom and going back and forth with a couple other guys.
We lost Nystrom a couple of laps in, apparently due to an unexpected pit stop on a slick sweeper. So, as it has been for the past couple of weeks, Morgan and I worked together to try and close the gaps as we knew we were getting close working our way into the top 10. As we came through the switchbacks at the start of the last lap after the barriers, as if scripted, my last lap bad luck continued as my chain jumps off the chainring to the other side of my chain guide. I dismount to replace the chain and Morgan goes, I don't blame him, I'd would have gone too. After finally getting the chain back on after a second try I start to chase. The gap was only a couple of seconds, not too bad. I managed to pull Morgan and another guy back on the long back stretch but couldn't hold them to the road for the uphill finish. I finished 14th, best of the season so far.
Day 2. HPCX, Jamesburg, NJ "The New Classic"
It's sad that this may be the only year for this course venue. This was a brutal followup to Lower Allen compared to the traditional Highland Park course which was basically a flat dirt crit with two fairly insignificant climbs. Although we awoke to no rain, it was obvious it has rained over night to leave the course sticky in some places, slippery in others and just plain sloppy everywhere else.
We got there early and I got a few practice laps in, learning the course and riding different lines, all of which changed by our race. The first 500m of this course was the determiner. Up a soggy incline to a 180 turn then a short stretch to a twisty run-up similar to the old HP course, up, down then up again. It was ridable in warm ups but the early races made it quesitonable to ride, especially in traffic. The killer was the long uphill stretch of road and grass afterwards. This entire section was my undoing.
My legs felt great during warmup, but as we took off from the start, I knew I was in for a long ride. The first time up the run-up I flashed back to the last lap at Beacon atop the Ampitheater when my legs just seized. As I remounted and tried to pedal, there was just no reponse from the engine room, complete power failure. I kept going hoping to recover as I was being passed by what semed like the entire race. As usual, Morgan works his way up to me and we are once again riding together. This time I just could hold it, I lost contact after the run-up and could just never close the 20m or so gap. The last 2 laps I fought off Luke Sauders of HVB and finnaly got a gap on him of all places after the run-up. I ended up a disappointing 22nd. I love the mud, but this power course just put a hurting on me.
So if I take the 14th from Lower Allen and the 22nd from HPCX and average them, I'm at 18th. Pretty much where I've been most of the series.