Just back from Russia. Very interesting place, not tourist friendly at all. We did make it down to Red Square which was very interesting, along with our trip on the metro to get down there. The food, we’ll let’s say if you were looking to lose wght that would be the place to go. Our hotel, which was were all the teams were staying was right next to one of the busiest streets, and our room faced the street. Cement rooms, very, very small and every thing echoed off the walls. Thus very little sleep.
Now to racing, we got there on Wednesday to a very sick Nathan, the food (which again was the worst) was not sitting well with him. He was throwing up, bad head ache and basically very weak. I took him out to eat a couple times and he did perk up a little by Friday the day of the TT. But, still not on his game, very depleted and still not looking the best. The course was in a beautiful park along the river, the first waves started with no wind, which was the wave of the Australian who won. He rode a good TT, in Lawson’s wave which was the second wave the wind had picked up a little, and Lawson rode a very good TT. Nathan’s wave started and the wind had really picked up 20 -25MPH side or head wind for the whole course. That didn’t make a whole lot of difference for Nate as he was just not on. In the first five K he had made up 35 seconds on his minute man an Italian, but from there he went down hill and was totally drained. Finishing 34th, but he gave it his all and was very excited to have his teammate on the podium. I haven’t seen Nate suffer and look so drained after a TT as this one. But those are things that can happen on a one day event.
Moving on to the RR, I really thought that Nate was going to be done after a lap or two. It was again on a very technical course, fast throttle’s on type course. Inside the sports complex park, along side the Velodrome which is very impressive (several hr records broken there). The course was one that would require a lot of mental alertness and physical strength. Both of which I didn’t know if Nate had it in him. He was tired, and ready for the season to come to an end. Normally he was the team leader, but with how he was feeling the team switched up and changed around the plan. The plan going in was for Lawson, and Eastman (both 17 yr olds) to cover the early moves, Nate to cover the middle attacks in the middle laps, and then to set up Jacob Rathe and Gavin. Ian’s job was to just be the man to do any work that would need to be done. The first couple laps were fast, the cool thing about this course was you could see them four times on the course with a little running. Thus, Jonny and I did a little running. As I said the first couple laps looked fast and dangerous. The first moves went and no USA riders. Eastman was hanging on and Lawson looked like a deer in headlights. Gavin was not on a good day and was tail gunning it, eventually getting gapped and dropped on lap three.
On lap two a move goes up the road and Nate goes with it, three guys (Belgium, Italian and Nate) it grows to five and through one of the climbs they look good, but it got brought back by the time they came through the start finish. Then some where on the part of the course on lap three that I couldn’t see Nate and five other get away, two Italians, two Belgiums, and a German. They are moving and looking good. The gap grows to 50 seconds. The next couple laps the break keeps growing, by two’s and three’s, but no USA riders come up with any. Again Eastman hanging on, Lawson still a little over whelmed, Ian patrolling the front and Rathe sitting in, Gavin out by now.
The break grows to over 10 riders, I think finally 13, Nate driving it, but it was getting to big. I was standing around the Belgium coaches and technical staff. They had radios through out the course and all you could hear was don’t let the American ride. The Belgiums started sitting on, just in case Nate tried to go, thus one Italian started sitting on, with a French rider and the German. Thus the break was doomed, it went from over a minute to being caught with in one lap on the final lap. Nate tried a solo move just before being caught, but it was still to far 16K to the finish. Going into the final lap it was back together.
Immediately three go up the road one Italian, One Belgium, one French, but no USA riders. Jacob didn’t react Lawson was hanging on as was Eastman and Nate had just gotten caught from being in the break for 7 of the 8 laps. Ian immediately went to the front and brought that back, but as soon as he did that, the Belgiums launched another attack with two of them, and all the other hitters except again the USA and the Dutch. The break was six and moving fast, throughout the lap the break grows to ten with more of the heavy hitting countries except USA and Dutch. Jacob never went with any of the moves, Ian and Lawson were dropped by now Eastman was hanging on, and Nate looked like he was ready to call it quits. By the time they came through my advantage point the break was moving, the pack was in disarray and Nate, Ian and Lawson were off the back. Ian and Nate had given it there all, as Nate rolled through were I was at he pulled over. You could cut the course right there to get to the start/finish which he did. He was toast, but I told him good job, he had given it his all. The break needed to be split, it needed another American to allow it to be split. They could of started to counter attack and that would of split the break allowing it to work. But, that is bike racing.
Back to the finish. With one K to go the Belgium attacks and gets a gap, the French are chasing like mad and De Bie (the other Belgium is sitting on) they are moving coming through the 600 meters to go sign. The sprint starts, the Belgium hangs on, Demare (French rider) out sprints the break and on down. The only teams to truly miss out on the move were the Dutch and Americans. A few seconds later, the field with Rathe leading it out from over 500 meters, getting past by five or so riders. Eastman finishes at the back, just glad to have finished never a factor in the race.
For as strong as the American team was I believe the outcome should of been better. But, as all know that is bike racing, some days you are on, others not. Any thing can happen in a given one day race. They all did the best they could for that day. Nate has had a great junior career and thanks to all of you he has made it to be one of the elite riders in the World. He was a feared rider in the peloton, by hearing team directors talk and talking to me afterwards. He fell a little short, but he walks away happy with his race and with no regrets he layed it out. Thanks for reading and look forward to seeing all soon.
On a side note the boys (Tristar) did great at Junior Nationals, that is for another post. Jonny got on the podium once and just missed it the other days once in the TT by .002 seconds.