An exact replication of the crashes in the roundabout at the LSU Race
Conversation this conference director had with an Aggie over the weekend.
Saturday – Me: “You gonna be okay, how’s your shoulder”
Aggie: “It’s okay, I think it’s separated, I’m going to the hospital”
Sunday – Me: “Wow, they really fixed you up huh, so what’s up”
Aggie “Broken collarbone, two fractured wrists and a contusion on my head, they did a CT scan”
Stay tuned for a great story on Oklahoma Cycling’s journey to LSU
LSU is set for an epic event this weekend, starting with a team time trial on the Mississippi River Saturday morning, that will be followed by an on campus criterium in front of the LSU War Memorial Tower. The action on campus will be hot and fast, as the mid afternoon humidity of southern Louisiana and heat will build up on the riders.
Racing will conclude Sunday morning with a road race outside of St. Francisville and will include rolling hills and longer than average distances
The Tunis Roubaix wasn’t as harsh as I expected. With the stories from last year, combined with the stormy weather outlook I was prepared for something similar to this year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (you should seriously check out that youtube video) that occurred just a few days earlier. Besides the wind, it didn’t end up being so bad.
Since the weather was on the gloomy side, the Women’s B field did 3 laps instead of the scheduled 4, and we set a pretty pedestrian pace most of the course. Sarah Simmons from A&M, Meredith Vernon from OBU and myself did the lion’s share of the pace making, and everyone was content to go as slow or as fast as we wanted to. About halfway through the first lap we tried to make a break for it, but we couldn’t get anything to stick. As the three of us set the pace for entire race we joked to each other about how this meant we had no hope of winning.
It definitely wasn’t a brutal pace, but the miles and the wind caught up with me and my legs cramped for the whole last lap. In the last pass through the gravel, it was everything I could do to keep my head up and power through as we managed to push an LSU rider to the front to endure the headwind and the pace making. I was tired and started making stupid mistakes: I dropped my chain twice but managed to pick it back up, I couldn’t keep my head up, and I couldn’t quite stay on the wheel. I looked over to Sarah and said “You better win this race because I just don’t have it.” I don’t remember her response or even if she had one. Then it started to rain on us for the first time.
The rain made me feel better, it always does. We passed the 1000 meters to go sign, and I moved to the front again. The last right hand turn was really wet, but I took my chances. I looked under my arm and there was a small gap so I went for it. Even though I would have preferred that it end in a sprint I couldn’t pass up the chance. I bombed the last descent and started to drive up the finishing hill. Out of nowhere a girl from University of Houston blazed passed me. I bonked. A group of like 12 girls went around me like a swarm. My teammate Kate Thompson, who had crashed in the first lap and got back into the group (it was only her second road race ever!!), rode around me, and looked back perplexed with the situation. I tried to catch her but there was no hope: I rolled across the line 12th, accepting the consequences of the nature of my attack. An MSU lady won, Meredith’s teammate got second, and Sarah was third (thanks for not letting me down.) Afterward, I asked Meredith how she did and she said “I dunno I was just somewhere back there” I laughed, “me too.”
I skipped out on the time trial, ate some Taco Bell and went back to base-camp to collect my thoughts and prepare for the criterium the next day.
Sunday was stunningly beautiful in all senses: the sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold and there was almost zero wind. The crit course was, for lack of a better word, awesome. It had a nice non-classical shape to it, and I liked it. The scariest part wasn’t the two quick turns or those “I-will-eat-your-tiny-wheel” grates between them: it was lapping riders; with the cones and weird gutter things certain parts of the course were pretty narrow and we were a group of about 15 (I made that number up, I only looked behind me once the entire race).
I rode third or fourth wheel most of the race and when it came to two laps to go, a lot of girls that I hadn’t seen (see previous parenthetical observation) the whole race came out. I think I was at the back of the pack for awhile but I was patient.
I was still 4th wheel right before we went into the last turn. A girl from UT opened up the sprint right out of the final turn; I squeezed my way between a girl from Rice and another UT rider, and jumped. As soon as I came out I realized that my gear was too small and I might not make it; there were maybe 4 or 5 bike lengths to make up before I even got to her. The only thing I could see was the front wheel of the UT girl while I pounded at my pedals.
I have always wondered how you know you’ve won when it’s that close. How can you seriously be confident enough to put your hands in the air? (Again, watch the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad from this year.) But now I know: you just know. I guess it’s the same when you lose by that little; the disappointment hits you with the same swiftness of a flat tire. It couldn’t have been by more than half a wheel. Coming across the line first after the road-race-let-down made it all the better. It’s possible that I’ve never yelled so loudly in my existence.
This turned out to be a really good race for the ladies in the B’s. It’s the first time I’ve seen us ride so cohesively because things typically break up really fast, or there aren’t many of us to begin with. I hope that the attendance is just as high at the other races, and the competition just as fierce.
Man do I love that “NewSkin all up in my road rash” feeling.
Kyle Johnson – University of Texas
1. Being in a packs of D’s is scary.
2. Corning in a pack of D’s is wayyyy scarier.
3. Walking through mud in cycle shoes right before riding is not good (duh to myself)
4. Most importantly, don’t leave gloves wadded up in a shoe over night after a day of racing in that shoe. I don’t think my gloves will ever be the same.
I’m sure there’s more that others can add on.
Overall this weekend was super fun. Before this weekend I had only seen like 30 mins of driveway and that was the extent of my racing experience. Here’s my attempt at a brief report from the D point of view (I specifically chose a major that didn’t require an English class so this will be short and likely have bad grammar).
Saturday began a lot earlier than I was used to waking up, but that quickly wore off after getting my kit on and hopping on my bike. I didn’t really have any idea how much to warm up or anything so I rode around for a little while and waiting with my fellow d riders near the start. After the role call and funny chat by the guy in the LSU had it was race time. We started with a “neutral” roll out for about a mile, which was quite a bit faster than I considered neutral. Once we passed the church the pace picked up to 25ish until the first race pace turn which destroyed the pack immediately. With all the braking and wobbling we were immediately stretched out over at least 50 yards or so. I was about midway in the group so after the first few turns I was starting to feel those sprints to stay on the main group.
Eventually I was hanging near mid/rear with Michael until his bike was no longer fit to ride (I’ll let him or Steph elaborate about that). After a short sprint to catch up to a couple SMU kids we held a steady 19mph for most of the first lap till one of them flatted. Luckily I was being towed most of that lap and I was able to pull us up to the next group which consisted of an OU triathlete who was “just there for a workout” and a good hearted, but quickly dying Baylor guy. This group lasted all but 30 seconds and I found myself riding solo for the remainder of the first lap and the first few miles of the second. And then my legs were saved. A group of freakishly in shape high school guys caught me and insisted on towing me, so I jumped on the back of them with a little help from who I guess was their leader. They pulled me about 8 of the last 10 miles and I was on my own for the last two. After passing a pair of ladies on the last hill I finally saw the finish line and gave it what I had left. I believe I ended up placed 30-something but I was just happy with finishing strong.
After an amazing cheeseburger for lunch it was time trial time (Matthew’s note “AWESOME”). My legs were not feeling it. Blaine pulled till the church (1.5 miles) and it was my turn. I already felt like I had biked at least 10000 miles so pulled as hard as I could for about a mile and that was it. I gave a brief wave and watched the 3 of them reel in and pass the first Tulane pair and then they were out of sight. After that I just tucked as tight as I could and made it back to the finish. We ended up with a 4th place finish.
The crit was by far my most favorite race of the weekend. This race began with 3 of these supposed “neutral” laps. By the second neutral lap a guy from UNT had attacked and put himself about 50 yards ahead of the pack till the officials reminded him we were still neutral. Once the race actually began I was on the outside out of the way of the people braking which allowed me to conserve some energy by not have to sprint and bridge a gap after every single turn. I held on near the middle for about 10 minutes and steadily began to find myself moving backwards in the pack. About halfway through I was in a group holding about 20mph average through the course for the next 5 minutes. With 10 minutes to go, a guy from Texas attacked right off of the last turn into the headwind. This destroyed the group leaving the remaining 4 of us spread out just enough where we couldn’t gain anything from each other. Two dropped off and I held with a rider from Baylor for most of the remainder. We leapfrogged each other till the end and finally with I think 2 left my legs officially died and I found myself struggling to hold on to his rear wheel. By the last lap he had put a good lead on me, so with three turns to go I attempt to give all I’v got and get up to my race high 31mph with that beautiful tailwind on the back straight. Unfortunately this same awesome tailwind led me straight to the headwind of death. I still gave all I had at the end and crossed at a blistering 21mph. All I know is that there were at least 3 other guys behind me so I was happy.
Even though I didn’t earn us any points I would definitely label this weekend a complete success. Now I know what to expect and have set myself some solid goals for the rest of the season. Can’t wait till the next race.
Submitted by Erik Johnson – Texas A&M
A little over a week until the kick off of the SCCCC season at the University of Texas in Austin. Hope everyone is ready for an exciting weekend and I wanted to share some links to resources you’ll need to work with in order to get registered and be ready to race.
Do you have a license, if not… go here and buy one: USA Cycling
Did you pre-register??? If you do, it’ll save you money and the promoter time, go here to pre register: PRE-REGISTER.
Curious about the race itself, how to get there, the start times and all the other information can be found here: RACE FLYER