Thursday, September 22, 2011

Paul Wins in Steamboat!

Paul Shumate on the Podium

Paul Shumate represented the Cat. 3 team over Labor Day weekend at the Steamboat Stage Race and won the criterium on the last day.

His race report from that day consisted of "I won today with authority out of the bunch sprint (and made sure to celebrate after I crossed the line)! More later...". Luckily he was a little more descriptive for the other races. Here's his account of the first three stages.

Paul Shumate Wins in Steamboat!

Aero helmet, check. Skinsuit, check. Loaner TT bike, check. Ciro and I started off by pre-riding the course. It was advertised as 6.5 miles, but everybody said it was actually 7 miles. Pretty straight forward, non technical course which included one right hand turn, a couple of nice kickers, a nice long section in the middle with really bumpy pavement, and a long false flat straight heading into the finish.

Anyhoo, it was super easy to start too fast which is exactly what I did. Shortly after the start, the nose of my saddle was pointed at the top tube so I had a fun time trying to stay far enough back so my knees wouldn't hit my elbows. That is totally my fault thought cause I was messing around with seat the other day and must have not tightened it enough. My legs were not feeling good at the start but I eventually found a decent rhythm. I passed my 30 second and minute guy in the last 1 to 1.5 km. I finished 9th 38 seconds down and Ciro 23rd about 45 seconds further from me out of 37 racers. Tomorrow is the Wildhorse Crit, so there shouldn't be to much of a shake up on GC.

Stage 1
The Wildhorse Crit was located at the base of the resort. There is a small elevation gain but not enough to split the race to shreds like the circuit race in the past. The course was 1.4 miles with lots of turns on fairly narrow roads.

The race started out pretty fast and due to the technical corners and high speeds things were fairly strung out. About 20 minutes in, we went through the first turn and I saw something fall off Ciro's bike and it looked like he had dropped his chain. It looked like he was out of the race but the next lap he was able to jump back in again.

Then 30 minutes into the race, we were rounding the 180 degree corner when the guy right in front of me clips a pedal, can't recover, and crashes right in front of me in the apex of the turn. There was nothing I could do except roll my front wheel right over him and then crash. My left side took the brunt of the impact but we were going fairly slow so it wasn't too bad. My bike survived with only scrapes to the shifter and cuts on the bar tape. My skin suit also survived!

I took my free lap and jumped back in and the pack so generously let me lead for two or three laps. The last few laps I was feeling good aside from some slight stinging from my hip. I moved up on the last lap, and thought I was sprinting into a 3rd place and 10 second time bonus but I didn't realize that 3 guys had gotten away and finished in front of the pack. So I actually sprinted into 6th place today. Ciro finished the race but only being able to use the little ring up front from a snapped derailleur!

I got some supplies from the drug store and with luck I'll get some good sleep and recover a bit. Hopefully I'll see Ciro at the start with a new front derailleur. Tomorrow's road race should be very interesting!

Stage 2
The group stayed together until the longer climbs near the end. Then
it was just plain fast! I stayed with the select group until the second climb, and then had to ride on my own. I was riding steady and passed a couple more people that popped off the back. I was really suffering but thankfully a Primal Guy caught me and he towed me up the remaining climbs. We eventually caught one more and rode almost all the way to the finish until the last two kickers. At the second to last climb I put it in my easiest gear and was just trying to claw my way to the top and finish and dropped my two companions. I rode alone to the finish in 10th place. I sit at 10th overall on GC but can't move up any, unless I get in a breakaway in the crit today. Yeah right! Ciro finished 24th on a tough day of racing.

The real story of the day is that Chmielewski from RMRC Turin broke away with another guy about 20 or 30 minutes into the race. There was not any real urgency to chase until those final climbs I think. He won the stage with the closest person finishing more than 3 minutes from him.

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