While the real racing today is in San Ardo, Dan Quirk and I drove north yesterday for the Eugene Celebration Stage Race. After 9 hours and 550mi driving we jumped out of the rig and went 1-2 in the 40+ for the Prologue uphill 3mi TT (750′ gain). Everyone used road bikes. I tried to stay in my big ring but couldn’t do it all the way up. Probably cost me at the end.
Today is the road race. Goal is the same. 1-2 in stage and 1-2 in GC.
There are 21 guys in our race. Top guys are 11:44 (me), 12:00 (Dan), 12:05, 12:19, 12:40, …. A couple good 40+ local guys went P12 and went a little quicker than us.
Since Dan has done this stage race 5-6 times, we are going to try to get him the GC crown….
Race report from the great northwest
After Tom and I went 1-2 in the prologue yesterday we hatched a diabolical plan to keep us there. Which really means getting me a cushion going into the long TT tomorrow? The course was a 20 miles loop with one good 5 min climb and some other rollers we did 3 laps.
Before the neutral start had even ended 2 guys attacked and got a gap, all heads turned to Tom and I to chase, which we did. After a few mins of a TB 2 man team TT the group was all back together again. Then another guys counters and gets a gap….all heads turn to TB to chase, we were starting to see a pattern here and were not liking it. We close down that break then from there on out we go on the offensive. When the group hits the hill on the 1st lap I set a good tempo up it, when we get near the top Tom rolls up and keeps on the gas over the top and back down the other side, at the bottom of the hill we look around and take inventory. We are down to a group of about 13 with all of our major GC rivals still there.
Tom puts in a big dig and gets a gap on the field, I just follow wheels and watch. I can see what’s left of the pack is not feeling so fresh anymore and gaps are occurring. They catch Tom and I go…They catch me and Tom goes…They catch Tom and I go and the field just sits up, all will has been broken from the pack. 2 guys who gate keeper Tom allowed to get away b/ they were non GC threats starts bridging across, I see them coming and soft pedal until they get there. The 3 of us work well together and roll over the hill playing nice. When Toms group gets to the hill they do not play nice and Tom and 2 others get to the top alone. Our gap quickly grows to over a min as we start the 3rd lap thanks to Tom sitting on in the 3 man chase group.
Our plan was to get me a little gap going into the TT and still finish 1-2 in GC so as my lead group of 3 worked off the front Tom would do some work with his breakmates to keep the gap around 45secs-1min. About half way through the last lap one of my group started cramping and stopped working, he promised not to sprint at the end so we let him hang around. With around 5K to go the other guy who was not cramping started taking short pulls and I knew he wanted the stage, I wanted time so I kept working and at 1k led it out, he came around me at around 200m and took the stage, I ended up 2nd. I turned around to see Tom roll in with one other guy about 30secs behind.
Plan laid down plan executed we are now 1-2 in GC
1st DQ..2nd Tom back by 10 secs, 3 other guys about 45secs back one of whom beat me in this same TT by 1 min 2 yrs ago. Tom was a total stud and sacrificed with smile on his face the whole way. I can’t wait to see him back in the leader’s jersey tomorrow.
CJ Johnson, Team Cycle Sport, Daniel Quirk, ThirstyBear Cycling, and David DiMarco broke away off the front of the stage 1 of Eugene Celebration. Photo by Catherine Cooper of CLC Photography.
We wrapped up 1-2 in GC with a well executed plan. It was very satisfying and fun. TB is fortunate that DQ looked us up when he moved here. He was a fantastic teammate and real fun to race with.
Going into the last day Dan was leading GC over me by 19 secs, and our chief rival Dave Campbell by 54 secs (he was back in 5th). Dan had a rough TT most likely due to being in the break on a hot day in the road race. I wanted to catch the GC guys starting in front of me (which I did) figuring that would keep me ahead of everyone and hoping Dan would keep close enough to stay atop the GC or at least 16secs up on 3rd (to counter the winner 15s time bonus in the CRIT coming up).
After the TT (I was +1:22 winner), the GC was sewn up for TB with me in first, but so close with Campbell only 17 secs behind Dan. We were sitting pretty because it would be hard for Campbell to beat Dan even though there was 15-10-5 secs time bonus in the CRIT.
Our CRIT plan was to attack often and if I go solo, Dan stays on Campbell. If the field stays together, Dan wanted to set me up for the sprint (Campbell was the best sprinter in the field).
After 20min and a nice attack by Dan, I took advantage of the crosswind and attacked on the windy side while Campbell was hiding on the protected side. I heard him yell something to coax anyone to chase but I was gone (smiling inside).
I went about 20min (8mi or so) solo getting up to a 29s gap but looking back at the same spot each lap to make sure Dan was with Campbell. If Campbell shook him and got across I was going to sit up and bring Dan back to him. There was no way we were leaving Eugene without the GC 1-2! After I crossed the line I got to see Campbell’s sprint but also happily saw Dan come in with the pack.
Lyons (TB) 3:52:01
Quirk (TB) +2:18
Campbell (Hutch’s) +2:25
DiMarco (Hutch’s) +2:41
I told Dan going in that I wanted us to go 1-2 in every stage, get all CRIT primes, and take 1-2 in GC. Big talk and of course kind of silly. But the message we had was that we were going to try to win everything. Don’t have much control over the TT’s but certainly the road race and CRIT would be fun to try for 1-2. We came away with three 1st places and two 2nd places in the four stages. Plus the top two spots in GC.