Here is a recap of the Capital Stage Race — June 10 – 12– from Karl Indomitable Spirit Cunningham (aka Hungus). In brief, we won a stage, finished consistently in the top 10 and took second overall (Ian).
A circuit with a hill, about 10 miles per lap to be ridden a total of eight laps. After rolling out of the parking lot, the attacks were fast and furious.
People took chances to get into breakaways by racing aggressively, making for a very on-or-off feeling. Either we were flying, or we were crawling. My lone teammate Ian Mensher and I took turns getting into the breakaway moves until something stuck. Ian was a little more aggressive, and he got in the move that would be the break du jour. It consisted of 10 guys. After working together for the better part of ~60 miles, they put a fair amount of time into the chase group of about forty riders.
With three laps to go, a 2 man move of Lang Reynolds and Joe Holmes went up the road and quickly got about 25-45 seconds. I could see that it had the chance of staying away from the group so I attacked to get into the move. After bridging and joining them, we quickly gained an advantage over the field until we were out of sight. Joe dropped back to the main field and Lang and I drilled it until the finish. I came in lucky 13th after we caught a straggler from the Garage Team, John Sindell. I was a few minutes back on GC, but in 13th place overall. I was extremely happy to learn that my teammate Ian Mensher had WON the group sprint and taken the leader’s jersey on the first day!
Stage 2: Time Trial
Short: 3.5 miles. Out and back. Very fast. Not much to say here. I went out pretty hard, and tried to maintain as best as possible before pouring it on in the final few minutes.
I clocked a time of 7:21, and came in 12th. Only about 20 seconds back of the 1st place finisher. I was still 13th place on GC, but Ian had lost his spot in the Pink Jersey and was now tied for 3rd.
Stage 3: Capitol Crit
At the foot of the Capitol Building in Olympia. A hilly technical course which suits my personal strengths. I went out with big goals of racing toward the front and making the race hard for everyone else! After 20 minutes of racing, Logan Owen was solo off of the front all by his lonesome. I decided to attack to try to bridge the gap with the possibility of taking the win and moving up a few spots on the overall. Unfortunately, soon after attacking I had a mechanical problem, and a mental lapse. I stopped racing my bike halfway through the following lap. Thinking that I would be awarded a free lap for having a flat tire, I pulled into the pit, but to my surprise, my tire was not flat. After jumping back into the race, I chased until getting pulled by the officials, getting a pro-rated time. It was an interesting Criterium and a learning experience. Next time I think I’ve got a flat, I will take my time, and get a free lap.
Ian did have a good criterium. He cleaned up the scraps of the time-bonus primes (Logan Owen and Colin Gibson took most from their breakaway) to move into 3rd overall, putting the guy he was tied with a few seconds behind him. Steve Fisher rounded out the podium for the crit stage behind teammates Logan 2nd and Colin 1st.
Stage 4 : Queen Stage–Road Race
The longest and hardest stage of the race at 90 miles with several climbs. Since Ian had stayed in good position in the Criterium, and I had moved back on the overall by over two minutes, I had to swallow my pride and race for Ian’s hopes at overall victory. He and I marked attacks early, knowing that Hagens Berman had a lot to gain and almost nothing to lose. They had several strong riders and would seek to stamp their authority on the last road stage. Ian and I both went up the road in attacks that didn’t stick for long. Lang went solo and Steve joined him after the first climb, but before the second. About 1/3 of the way through the race, Ian flatted at the base of the second climb. The wheel car stopped quickly but proceeded to give Ian less than perfect wheel-change. After the flat was fixed, the car sped up the road leaving Ian and I to pace ourselves back up the hill about a minute behind the peloton which was making their way up the climb. I got in front of Ian and just drilled it until we were within sight of the pack. Ian ended up catching the group right over the top of the hill. Ian had to leave me because if he didn’t finish with the leaders we’d be out of the money. So I began to chase. And I chased and chased and chased. I chased for about an hour. A car on the road motor-paced a group of stragglers (myself included) and after a long while, we made our way back up to the pack. From there, I greeted Ian happily. The race stayed together for the most-part until the final few climbs. I fell back after the chase effort and finished in a group of a few guys several minutes behind the leaders. Ian was in the lead group and took second overall in the stage race! Logan Owen won the final stage.
Check out the full results here: http://www.capitalstagerace.com/index.html
Big Thanks to Raleigh Bicycles, Keller Rohrback, The Cunningham Family (for hosting and feeding) and Erik Anderson for hosting a great race!
Also, thanks to Rob at GC Racing for giving great timing and sweet finish photos. Thanks towww.rideonphoto.com for the race photos!