Rob [Bergstrum] and I showed up super pumped to race. We also recognized that we would be going against guys well into their season with multiple races under their belts. The Friday time trial course was short and in a northwest aspect. We had a steady 15 mph wind out of the northwest, which as big guys, may work to our advantage. That it did when Rob placed 4th in the TT 40 seconds back on the lead. I blew the shifting on the last short climb to the finish and ended up 1 min 40 back.
Saturday rolled in and the goal was protect/move Rob up while hoping I could gain some time as well. Initially we intended to launch an attack on the back rollers of the 2nd lap. The wind was once again a factor. Rolling out of the east this time, we knew that two of us out there fighting would be no match for the 100 person wide field. Then as lap 2 rounded out Rob pulled a muscle in his left calf (Hard in the TT?). I sat in, took a couple of pulls, including the long south descent with a tail wind in which I kept ratcheting up the speed till the lead riders team mate pulled in front and slowed me down. I have to say I was cool to just roll in at that point. Ended up finishing 8 seconds back of the sprint group but held onto 32nd place with 1 minute 44 back from the leader. Rob rolled in about 10 minutes later smoked from the calf pain.
Sunday was no holds bar for a win. Initial plan was to attack on lap 3 or 4. Legs were feeling a bit heavy, and even struggled holding to the lead pack a couple of times. However by lap 4 after tanking up on highly caffeinated energy gels I was ready for battle. No matter how hard I tried I could not get around a fair number of folks on the hills (Close the roads make it a race!). The descent would ratchet up, then no matter what this cat 4 crew had to sprint the finish EVERY LAP! When the final lap came it was chaos. One guy went down at the sharp turn near the top of the climb. Then at the sprint to the finish started two guys each other 10 foot from the line right in front of me. I snaked around only grazing one guys pedal to finish 22nd on the day, with the bunch. Rob rolled in a short time later.
End result I finished 1 minute 44 down on the leader in 28th. Rob finished around 60th. First race of the year, legs were not firing for it yet. Training races always hurt, but good times at the end of the day.
Pics to follow-awaiting other durango folks who took some shots (and video of the crash at the finish).