Some people talk about the double rainbow high, some about the triple-boom high. We made it a a triple-boom-rainbow weekend. KR DOMINATED the State Stage Race Championships in Bellingham, winning the Womens and Mens category 1-2 race overalls, the Mens category 3 overall, and 6 of the 9 stages we entered. For the unitiated, the stage race is a mini-tour-de-france, minus the mountains, devils, and the doping. But you get three races in two days, where the racer with the shortest time in all three events wins the overall.
The morning began with an 8 mile time trial. The course was a good one. About 2 miles of rolling terrain that dropped down a hundred feet or so and featured about 4 more miles of flat riding with some good head and tailwinds. The last two miles were uphill and rolling. A course well suited to us.
First victory: Karl won the Cat 3 race, besting his competitors by 4 seconds, and beating a swath of category 1-2 riders. The Krusher represented!
Second victory: Tricia won the womens race by a solid 11 second margin. CHeryl snuck into 5th, just 33 seconds back.
Third victory: Jamie beat Ian to win the time trial by a mere nine-tenths of a second. The pair put 13 seconds into the next best finisher, setting up the small, but strong team for a good shot at the overall. JOD rounded out the team’s results in 23rd.
Saturday Night Criterium.
Sedro Wooley was the site of the afternoon/evening criterium. The course was a big rectangle around two city blocks. Wide turns and pretty good pavement. Drunk locals on motorcycles traversed the course with greater regularity than we would have liked, but the cops seemed responsive. We didn’t stick around for the MMA competition that was apparently going to grace the streets (literally), but both our ladies and men got unsolicited advances from some fine Sedro Wooley gents…
After sweeping the morning’s event, the KR crew continued in their winning ways. First up, Cheryl and Tricia swung their mitts of hell and owned every part of the race. Between the two of them, they won every single preme. Cheryl won the race and gained 10 seconds on the overall competition, while Tricia maintained her first place. Great fun to watch the green and grey annihilate the competition. Second up was Karl. It’s never fun being by yourself in a race where you want to make sure that everyone finishes together. Karl did just that. He played it eminently smart, letting the other bigger teams play off each other and he kept his overall lead. We did consider kicking him off the team for not winning, but we figured we might need his help if we got tangled with any of the drunken locals. Last up was Ian, Jamie, and JOD. We had a lot to control in this race, with the competition looking to score some time back on us. The sight of 9 Hagens Berman riders was a bit overwhelming, given that there were only 30 riders in the whole race. But the HB guys weren’t quite firing on all cylinders and we took advantage of the situation. A few breaks went up the road, but we put the lid on pretty much everything dangerous. Ian won a $20 prime and settled in to ensure that nothing got away that had guys who could gain time on us. We let a break of 3 form with Ricther, Lang, and Steve Wilssens. They got about 20 seconds on the pack at most, but it helped settle the race’s pace. Jamie and Ian took some huge pulls at the end and brought the three back with the help of Jake MacArthur and Grant Boursaw. The sprint finish went to Ian Crane, but Jamie and Ian snuck into the top 10 and lost no time. Still first and second in the overall.
Sunday: Northshore Road Race
This course is deceptively hard. It suits the all-arounder more than a climber. Each lap is 8 miles long and there are two sizeable hills that stair-step their way up. A screaming descent gives the riders some rest between the two climbs, but the rolling terrain between them isn’t exactly easy. The women raced 42 miles, the men 3 raced 58 miles, and the men 1-2 did 66 miles.
Victory 1: Tricia and Cheryl played their race to perfection. Not a big field, but plenty of eager competitors who needed to put time on Tricia to jump over her in the overall. Cheryl raced aggressively and helped soften the field for the final lap. Tricia WON THE STAGE by a full 6 seconds over the next woman and WON THE ENTIRE RACE by a tidy 19 seconds. These would be victories numbers 5 and 6 for the team. Cheryl held on to 5th overall and the ladies netted a tidy wad of cash and some delicious free food.
Victory 2: Karl was sitting atop the first place in his race going into the stage. Like the criterium, this race would challenge him to conserve energy and expend it when it mattered. He strung out the field when it needed to be and sat in at all the right times. Only one guy managed to get away and finish ahead of Karl’s field, but he saved his overall lead finishing 5th and WINNING THE ENTIRE RACE! Huge win for Karl! Victory number 7 for the weekend.
Victory 3: Ian and Jamie had a tough crowd to control. 9 HB guys, 3 motivated HSP guys, and a swath of mercenaries looking to vault over the two. Ian and JOD patrolled the front at the start of the race and let a random HB go up the road to take the pressure off. The first time up the feedzone, Ian rode hard at the front only to find that somehow he was off the front with another HB guy who was in 5th place overall. Ian sat on his wheel and let him chase up to his teammate. The three spent a lap off the front of a slow chasing pack. Ian was in an ideal spot being under no obligation to do any work, as we had the most to gain by having the race finish all together. A lap later the three were joined by Todd Herrriot, Alan Adams (HB) and Steve Wilssens (Bikesale). Steve got shelled on the feedzone and then Kyle from the Garage bridged up. We did a lap together and were a minute and a half on the slow field. Ian continued to sit in, as did Herriot. The fifth lap saw two more join the lead: Steve Fischer from HB and Wes Richardson from Lenovo. The group was now 3 HB, 1 HSP, 1 Lenovo, 1 garage, and 1 Bikesale. The dynamic was not particularly good, as the numbers allowed HB to attack and so did Kyle and Wes. The group had a minute and a half on the field, which meant that Jamie was in danger of losing his lead overall with so many guys in the lead group. With 2 to go, Steve Fischer attacked on the downhill before the first climb and no one chased. Half way up the longer climb, Ian gave it a good punch and took off without really realizing it. Only Herriot got on his wheel and the two pulled up to Steve. Steve sat on while Herriot and Ian worked well together for a lap. Given that Herriot was 30 seconds down on Ian, Ian knew he would attack to get over me in the overall standings. Not wanting to let that happen or assist Herriot in beating Jamie, Ian held back on the pulls, again knowing that if we got caught it wouldn’t be the end of the world even with 3 HB guys in the group behind. But the three got a nice gap and were about a minute or so ahead after 1 lap. Right before the feedzone on the last lap Herriot jumped hard from behind and Ian clawed him back. Herriot jumped about 4 times on the feedzone and Ian just gritted it out, feeling remarkably good and motivated. We dropped Steve, who Ian thought was going to jump the other two after sitting in. Herriot wanted Ian to pull through on the descent and he wasn’t about to. We still had the last stair step to do and Ian wanted to be fresh. About 1 km after the top of the stair step was the finish–a classic seward park 200 meter steep uphill pitch. The kind of thing Ian loves. Herriot made only a small jump on the last climb and slowed, telling Ian he was “tenacious.” More like an angry polyp. We had well over a minute, so he just wanted to roll in to the finish. Not willing to miss the team’s first men 1-2 road race win, Ian sat on Herriot until the last 200 meters. Ian put 5 seconds on him in the last 180 meters and kaboom, WON THE STAGE. Victory number 8. The next guy in was Steve, at about 1:15 back. Jamie had a rough go in the race, having had to cover repeated moves and getting jumped hard on the hills. He fell to 12th overall. Without Jamie, however, Ian would not have WON THE OVERALL race and jumped into the lead in the best all-around rider competition. Victory number 9. JOD was again a key figure, though the course and the crash he suffered the night before took their toll on him.
So it was a fine weekend for KR. We won all three events we entered and took six stage wins. We swam in the lake, ate some amazing food, and stayed in Blair’s fabulous house. We’re carrying the mojo into the final throes of the season, hoping to stay atop the BARR and close out a great year. We’ll keep you posted.