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Comfort Race Report- Lance is human after all…

January 28, 2008

Originally posted Monday, January 28, 2008 at 10:33am

So, I’m sure everyone is just dying for a recap of my race against the champ this past weekend. Not much exciting to report, but here it is.

My teammate Fred and I roll up to Flat Rock ranch around 9 Friday night. The lady that runs the place ask what we’re going to do, we tell her camp out, she says “great, pull around to the side and sign the waiver. We’ve got a real treat tonight, Lance is here and he’s hanging out with us.” So we get out and sure enough, there was Lance amid 20 or so folks. The keg of Shiner black was tapped and most everybody, including Lance, was partaking. Fred and I grab a cup and catch about 3 minutes of the conversation before Lance heads in for the night. They had some wicked homemade lasagna and garlic bread that Fred and I also got a fair amount of since we hadn’t ate yet. We got registered, hung out by the fire, drank some more beer, made camp, and hit the hay. The skies actually cleared a bit, providing very comfortable crisp temps in the mid thirties that night.

Morning comes and I do all my usual pre race prep. They send everyone over to staging come 8:45am. They start calling the open category men up to the line. To not make a scene out of the whole thing, they didn’t call Lance, but he was already on the line. I didn’t even know I had lined up behind him until 20 or so seconds passed, but there he was, the 7 time Tour de France champ on the line. We chatted a bit about bikes before the gun went off. I fully expected him to sprint away, but he was either holding back or I had a bit more sprinting power than he did, at least on a MTB, because not only did he almost take me out from getting in the way and slowing up, but I zoomed right by him after that. Everything is going smooth working my way to the front and then bam. My rear wheel comes out. The skewer broke. After looking around a while for the nut that came off, I decide it’s a lost cause. I shoulder the bike and starting running back towards the pit area at the start. I grab a spare one, put it on, and begin the long arduous task of trying to catch back up. In truth though, my race was over at that point. The entire field of riders had passed me. I would spend the majority of the race playing catch-up and passing slower riders. Heading out onto lap 2 of 4 I noticed my left pedal had excessive play. The cleat in my shoe had come loose, so I stopped to fix it. Get pedalin and noticed the cleat wasn’t tightened where it was supposed to. It was causing some knee discomfort, so I stop again to adjust it. Mechanical #3. About halfway through lap 3, get a flat in my rear tubeless tire. Shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but it did. Tried to air it up and get the sealant to fill the hole, but no luck. Threw in a tube and got going. I was fairly exhausted and demoralized by this point. I didn’t have anything to gain by doing that last lap. When I came through the feed I was ready to suffer my first DNF in a mountain bike race ever. I was that close to throwin in the towel, even started drinking a beer. A teammate came over and gave me all the motivation I needed to get out there and endure that last 14 miles in just four words: Lance DNF’d (did not finish for you non-race folks). Apparently shortly after starting his last lap he came walking back claiming he had a mechanical. When asked what was wrong, he said “my legs quit working” He was cramping bad and just didn’t have it that day to finish the race. I grabbed my un-trusty steed and headed back out for 1 more lap. It had really heated up by this point, the course was really exposed, and I was already in a lot of pain, but I pushed on anyways. With about 5 miles left, I flat again. Fifth mechanical of the day. This course and my bike really don’t get a long. Neither do my joints or rear end. Threw in my last tube and hit the tail. Ended up finishing in 5:46, about 1:10 behind my target goal. It’s hard to say how things would’ve turned out had Lance finished and my bike held up, but he was sitting about 4th place before dropping out and the guy who ended up finishing 4th instead finished at about my target time, so I think stood a very good chance of coming in ahead of him. Marathon mountain biking is a totally different beast, and I think he got a pretty good taste of the difference on Saturday. That said, he’s still a world class athlete and holds my utmost respect. I hope to have the chance to race against him again in the future. Better luck to both of us next time.

I ended up 11 of 22, here are the official results

1 Nathan Winkelmann 4:6:32.00 188575 6 Woodlands Cycling Club
2 Tristan Uhl 4:9:0.00 168160 1 Hotel San Jose
3 Francisco Serrano 4:15:58.00 46 Promosports
4 Michael Bohn 4:32:18.00 212895 157 PACC
5 Eric Breckinridge 4:36:4.00 226693 5 New Revolution Cycles/PM
6 John Rigdon 4:37:15.00 166741 81 Bikesport
7 Ruben Holguin 4:55:46.00 143416 4 PBBA Cycling Team
8 David Svahn 5:11.00 200298 34 Bay Area Bicycle Shop
9 Federico Castro 5:11:22.00 225134 53 NRC/Pedalmasher
10 Bennett Brown 5:42:37.00 187726 101 Mad Duck
11 Greg Parham 5:46:26.00 211265 65 NRC/Pedalmasher
12 Cadet Bryant 5:49:20.00 207776 3
13 Ken Williford 6:3:11.00 94 RN/Camino Real
14 Kevin Dierschke 6:10:59.00 258791 63 Concho Valley Bike
15 Jeff Wilson 6:34:8.00 33
DNF Chris Michels DNF 2 Team Squash
DNF Yater Lynch DNF 62 PACC
DNF Sean Sindt DNF 235943 89 Team Sage Cycles
DNF Lance Armstrong DNF 1917 7 Mellow Johnny’s
DNF Freddy Moore DNF 178627 97 NRC/Pedalmashers
DNF Brian Jones DNF 18135 50 SUN & SKI SPORTS
DNF Clayton Reamer DNF 263299 35 The Bicycle Shack

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