Posted by Editoress on 04/16/03
The Shep Report
Greetings from cyberspace! Yet another season of pre-packaged snack mix, saddle sores and airborne airport viruses has fallen upon us. The mountain bike season started up this past weekend in the poor, shanty town of Monterey. Between counting beemers and bentleys the rider's attacked four stages and a constant gale force wind.
Stage one was the time trial the pitted us against a 700ft descent followed by an equal climb back to the finish. Seamus put in the fastest early run but was bumped by Ryder, Kabush, Matt and the winner Rolland. I had a solid ride letting it go on the descent then laying the throttle down only in the headwind sections. It paid off and I rode intosecond on the stage.
Day two was the road crit. Whoever thought it would be cool for mountain bikers to ride around a paved circuit must have been sniffing glue. Fifty minutes of being scared shitless is not fun and it showed in my riding. I wasn't surprised to see eight people stack in front of me just ten minutes in. While trying to avoid the carnage, I ended up grabbing too much of my sweet XTR disk brakes. This resulted in Ryder hitting the deck and a few others. Nice job Shepppard. Felt like a jitbag for the next few days. Rolland, Bonilla and I tried to attack during the last 1.5 miles but it was futile considering the horsepower towing the group back (Ryder). Ended in a sprint with Tilford taking it. The results didn't change the overall.
The new dirt crit on day three was really exciting for the both the riders and the thousand or so people who showed up to watch. The course was fast and technical with position being really important. I had a solid start with no mishaps but somehow I managed to file back to fifteenth after a few laps. A gap opened as another rider died thus leaving me the dubious task of filling the gap in the wind. I tried for two laps but couldn't make it. Meanwhile the front was being pushed by Rolland, Absolon, Ryder and Frishy. Hestler (who bridged half way through) Kabush and Seamus chased with Frishy's team mate (Vogal) but they couldn't close the gap either. I lost a good 30 sec this stage, which really blew. Thought I had an opportunity to stay near the front but my own mistakes killed me. Rolland punched it for the win followed by Frishy, Absolon and Ryder. Vogels out sprinted Kabush, Hestler and Shamoe. I rolled in behind Bnilla and Rowney in 11th place.
The last day decides everything. 36 miles of relentless rolling climbs that are staggered between fast rough single track. The start was ballistic to the first single track with no one really wanting to get stuck behind someone who couldn't singltrack. Rolland led it out followed by Frishy, Ryder, Kabush, Toulouse, some guy and moi. Down the first section we went traveling at a good 40km an hour. I made an attempt to set up "some guy" because he was gapping big-time. As I swung to his side I hit a water bar that had a big groove in it and off to the races I went. My right hand soon slid off the bars leaving me to steer with my left hand and my right elbow. Not a good match. Completely out of control I was thrown onto my top tube and in ball-busting bareback style I launched my body into the surround flora. I ended up doing the super man through a five foot tall piece of sagebrush gingerly coming to rest, albeit a quarter turn through my tuck and roll defense mechanism, on a nice soft rock.. Didn't feel too spry after that but I hopped back on the horse and went out for the rest of the race.
Meanwhile the gap that "some guy" had made split the pack and was never to be closed the rest of the race. Rollie, Ryder and Kabush were driving the front. Frishy and Toulouse (who rode out of his skin all weekend ) Chased valiantly but could never quite close the gap. I chased through the ranks and started to work with Absolon, Hermida, JHK, Bonilla, Vogels and Saucer. At times we came close to catching the Frishy/Toulouse train but it was never to be. With 3km to go I cracked big time as JHK laid into it. I managed to hold onto a chasing Adam Craig's rear wheel to end up 12th. Rollie attack in about the same spot I died to gap off the sprinting duo of Ryder and Kabush who finished in that order. Matt had a breakthrough ride and hit the podium for the first time not once but three times! My sore ass shoulder also had a break through. It turns out I fractured my clavicle during my crash. I was definitely a bit uncomfortable through the first hour but the pain didn't hit until we had about 30 min to go. At that point I would have had to climb the same trail out, so dropping wasn't an option.
Overall finish was after the above top five claimed the same spots on GC. My race ending body dysfunction cost me 45 sec thus throwing me out of 7th to tenth. I finished .1 seconds behind Bonilla, 25 seconds behind Hermida, 31 behind Vogel and 58 behind Absolon. Damn it! That's racing. I'm hoping on returning to action at the Tour of the Gila in two weeks. Wish me luck
Editors note: Some names have been changed, or misspelled, to protect the innocent
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