Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Show Down at Fort Custer TT

Well this race was not part of my schedule this year. You see it fell on the same day as my daughters birthday. BTW, she turned 3! Happy Birthday Makenna. But after the Stony Creek TT, I was behind 1st place by just 2 points. So the series would have come down to a who beat who duke-em out final! So I convinced the wife that this was important, and really wanted to race if possible. I actually think she understood and was very supportive and kept encouraging me to do well. So before I get to far into my story. I owe both my wife and daughter big! Thank you both very much and I love you!

Going into this race as mentioned above, I had to beat Adam to win the overall series title of Michigan MTB Time Trial Champion for Sport men 30-34. And let me tell you I was ready. I had a goal, and a plan. My fitness is back on form and my results over Adam in the last 2 races was what I used for motivation. One thing about TT's is, you go as fast as you can and don't look back! Any pause or hesitation could cost you the race. I learned a little about that at the Brighton Stage race this year. But this TT was different. All I had to do is beat Adam within 1st through 4th place to beat him by 1 point in the series. So as I was lining up and my number was called, Adam lined up next to me. NO WAY! Not only do I need to beat him. We are going into this thing side by side for the final show down. Does racing get any better than this? So the stage is set, plan in place, and now the carrot will be with me in plain sight for the entire race. One thing that keeps sticking in my head that my good friend Ayrn told me, "Sometimes you have to give up the yellow jersey to defend it" kept sticking with me for this race. And that is the approach I used. I was not trying to win first place for the race, but rather win the overall series by beating 1 person. And this is how it happened...

The whistle blew and we were off. I took the hole shot for about the 1st mile and then Adam pulled ahead of me in the double track and into the trenches. This is where I needed to be. Let him do the work. This was the first part of my plan. 2nd wait for him to make a mistake. And 3rd, stay with him til the final sprint and then attack on the uphill grass to the finish. Back to the race, I sat on his tail for several miles sticking with his cadence. No problems so far, then in Grannies garden, he came out of his pedals on a climb which forced me off my bike. He started to pull away but I put in a big effort and caught back up. I rode his tail until he unclipped again on a rooty climb near the small lake I jumped out in front and pulled for about 3-4 miles. This is where I needed to be because I knew that there were a few technical up hill grinders that needed to go through clean. Because If I were to make a mistake, it would have been my race. As we approached the last few miles, Adam tired to launch a attack around me on a climb. I was surprised that he was being this aggressive and we actually were bumping handle bars fighting up the climb. Then I thought, "stick with the plan" and let him take back over the lead. I followed for a little longer and we came upon another hill. He mis-shifted and popped a few gears. I then attacked and never looked back. Come to find out, he said he dropped his chain and could not catch back up. I pushed as hard as I could as Brian my team mate kept talking to me. I had a small bobble in the last mile from the loose sand that almost sent me over the handlebars, but I was able to save it. As I came out of the single track, turned onto the last long stretch of grass, I just kept the legs spinning and burning. Making sure I did not give him a chance to catch me. I crossed the line and looked back. He was no where in sight. I just won the Time trial championship for my age and class! For the race I finished 3rd and Adam Finished 5th.

On another note. I did not race Single Speed this day, but I did end up capturing 3rd overall for Sport/beg Single speed class. Not bad considering I only raced 3 of the 5 races this year.

Finally, Some of my other team mates had big days in the race and overall series awards. Winning overall series awards in their classes were Brian Crook and Stan Cristy. Also, winning 3rd overall was Don Miller. Way to go guys. And Brain took his first sport class win. Keep it up Brain. This will be one of many for you.


SingleTrackMinded said...

Bad Daddy! Good job John!

Aryn Pongratz said...

I knew you could do it! Congratulations man! Now lets focus back on the XC series. Eye of the Tiger!!!

Todd Shorkey said...


Nothing I can say Brother. You let your actions do the talking! Awesome job and congrats! 'nuff said!

jbhancock said...

Nice write up...now it's time to get ready for 'cross!