Tour of Methow

A bit delayed, but here nevertheless.

Father’s Day Weekend, I participated in the 3rd annual Tour of Methow, a 2-day omnium bike race. An omnium is a multi-race event where the winner of each event gets a certain number of points. The overall winner is the person with the most points. Typically, in Washington State, an omnium is a time trial and crit on Day 1, and a road race on Day 2. This was the format for Methow. I had arrived with the family the week before, staying at The Cottonwood Cottage in Winthrop. I spent the week checking out the courses… the time trial is an out-and-back on a hilly course near Mazama. The road race is a loop starting from Winthrop and heading north, with some decent rollers and a nasty section when the loop dips down onto Highway 20. The crit is a loop on sketchy pavement in Twisp.

So… the results. Well, I got off to a late start for the time trial, and arrived quite literally 5 minutes before I was supposed to go off. I scrambled and didn’t even pump up my wheels… turns out, by being second to register for the tour, I was second in the time trial. Great. Oh, and the first guy didn’t show up. Even better. So I get there, and I’m ready to go with about 15 seconds to spare. And then, I’m off! I have no idea what I’m doing, as it’s my first real TT, so I just go as hard as I know how, given I had done the course a few times before. There are two decent hills, and on the descent of the first I was passed – I figured by the guy :30 behind me. Turns out later it was the guy who started 1:00 behind me. I was passed a bit later by my :30 man. On the turnaround, I was able to overtake him on one of the hills, but I blew up and he passed me after a bit. I ended up some :47 behind him, and in 34th place when all was said and done. However, turns out this was enough to beat the three other Cat 4/5s from Wines that showed up! Which says something about our time trialling, really…

Here’s a quick shot of me pulling in, ahead of my :30 man Jeremy. There’s my time below, at 14th place… not gonna last for long!

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Then, the crit. Man, do I suck at these. Probably because this was my second. Anyway, I had problems clipping in, was not confident on the pavement, and got popped pretty quickly. Oh well. Turns out half the field did too, so I don’t feel that bad. After all, the difference in points between the second guy to get dropped (me) and the last guy to get dropped – nothing! We all got zilch. I’m blaming it on my awesome time

trial performance.

Next day, road race. I started off strong, and actually pulled during the first lap on the flat / downhill section from about a quarter of the way through the first lap through the halfway point (a turnaround). At this point, there were some hills and some attacks, so I slid back a bit trying to keep up. Then, the loop-around point… a downhill S curve onto Highway 20, then slight rise to a quick climb, then a flat and another longer but just as tall climb. Took a lot to hang on, but I did. Kept in the middle towards the end for the second lap, and was dying on the down-and-up in the 2nd lap turnaround. At this point, I was thinking I needed to move up towards the front to stay with the attacks and the next (and final) down and up, as the race ended right before the downhill. However, as I was surveying the pack to figure out the best way to move up, WHAM! Crash ahead! Brake, brake… nope. I go over too. I turn around and see another bike coming at me, and I sit up and catch his front wheel, ensuring that at least he doesn’t go down. Someone is moaning, but the callous nature of bike racing is to get back on your bike and go. So I survey the bike, looks fine, and go. But I can barely move! Some groups pass me… and at the end of the slight hill I was on, I hop off and look again — yup, brake is rubbing. So I adjust that and have a much nicer ride, but I’m feeling burnt. Right knee is bleeding, and I know that even if I finish this lap and the 4th, it’s not worth it. Plus, we have to drive back that afternoon. So, I finish the lap at the finish line and wait for everyone else to come through. Turns out that the guy moaning was taken away by an ambulance, and the 4/5 men and the two women’s peletons were neutral going through that… scary!

Anyway, a rough way to end Father’s Day. But Methow was beautiful, and the race was fun. Next time, I’ll need to focus on staying up in the front more and being more aggressive on the downhill. Oh, and the crash? Apparently some rookie strayed across the yellow, then panicked and swooped back in, clipping someone’s wheel and causing a chain reaction quickly. Best to get me in better shape to upgrade!