Friday, August 16, 2013

I got dropped by the Schleck brothers and Jens Voigt

The Schleck brothers were in town yesterday to train and help raise money for the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway. Here's the link to a local news video, where I make a few cameos (especially at the 58-second mark).

An easy ride was scheduled through Reno, followed by Mt. Rose (13.7 miles at 5% from Thomas Creek Rd). I just got back from my 5-day, 500 mile ride from Bozeman to Salt Lake City the night before, so I was either in really good shape or really tired from the ride. I would find out soon enough.

I did an easy ride from home to downtown (14.5 flat miles) and showed up a little bit after 8:00 AM. There were already tons of people there. One of the first things I saw was Frank Schleck doing a TV interview.

Frank Schleck doing an interview
Shortly after he was done, Jens came out for his interview.

Jens doing an interview
Jens doing an interview
After Jens came Andy.

Studying up on nice things to say about Reno?

Jens came back out dressed and ready to roll. He had a nice white, German-themed bike with "Shut up legs" on the downtube.

Jens' bike
After the interviews, the guys signed autographs and took pictures for a while. The ride was scheduled for 9:00, but it started closer to 9:30.

Getting ready to ride
Lined up and ready to go
Finally the ride began and I was pretty far back in the pack. To be honest, I was more concerned about crashing than anything else. As the ride headed south and got hillier, things spread out a little and I made my way towards the front.

Getting closer to Mt. Rose Hwy
Jens Voigt
I wasn't too sure what to expect once we hit the Mt. Rose climb. Would they drill it right from the start and leave us all in the dust, or would they play around and let us hang around for a while? 

It turns out that they took things easy and let us hang out for a while. We were going 14-15mph on the section before the fire station (the first 2.5 miles), which isn't exactly an easy stroll for me but is sustainable. Then we hit the downhill after the fire station and it was anywhere between 12-14mph for a while. Again, a pace I can actually live with. We had a pretty steady pace going up until about the 7,000 foot mark, which is about halfway up the climb (summit at 8,900 feet). I was starting to believe that we were all going to make it to the top together.

After 7,000 feet there is a short flat section, then the road goes back uphill again. Not too long after the road went uphill again, Andy Schleck went off the front. I think he was more playing around than actually attacking, but he blew our pack apart and I could hear Jens behind me say, "Attack!" I did what I could to get back on, but I couldn't do it. I could see the pace kind of settle down a little bit ahead of me, but there was no way I was making it back on at that point. What can I say? I guess I was dropped on Mt. Rose by Andy Schleck.

I went into the red a little bit trying to chase back on, and I paid for it for a while. But just like they say on TV, once you get dropped all you can really do is ride your own pace and try to limit your losses. I was able to do that and when I got to the top Jens and the Schlecks were long gone. I still came out of the day with a PR on the section from Thomas Creek to the summit. This will be a fun PR to try to beat. If I end up beating it I can give myself a good pat on the back. If I can't, I have a pretty good excuse.

Here are some videos I took along the way. I wish I had a recording of the moment I got dropped!

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