Race Report: Joe Martin Stage Race- Spencer Miller
Stage 1: 87 mile road race. started off with 125-130 riders. The supposed to be 10k neutral was quite hectic when the moto led us on a wrong turn and then it turned out to be more than a 10 mile neutral instead of 10k. Enforcing of the yellow line rule also made it hectic with 130 guys. Anyway, headwind out to the first exciting part of the day made it slower and no breaks went away. Then, people started ramping it up going into the twisty Devil's Den switchback descent. I tried to stay up near Matt knowing he was a good descender. A few guys crashed hard on the descent so I was super relieved to make it unscathed. Directly after the descent was the climb up and out of the park. It was tame at first then really hard over the top. I made it over with about 10-12 of the top guys. We worked well for a short bit, then people stopped working and then smaller groups slowly caught on. Next climb was Hell's Kitchen and also super hard but I made it over again with the top guys. 2 escaped in the break before the climb then after the climb another 3 escaped in the kilometers back to the finish. With about 6k to go I attacked with another rider. The remaining chase group shattered and some caught us on the steep finish. Ended up 13th.
Stage 2: 110 mile road race. Started with lots of crosswinds. Matt did a good job keeping me up there and safe in the crosswind. Just sat in most of the day. Ran out of water about 80k in, and we had a mishap running out of gas so received no feed. Andrei and Ben gave me the little water they had to help make sure I could make it over Gaylor. Luckily I made it over the top with a select group, got 2 bottles, and then had the rainy fast ride all the way back to the finish. Ben caught back on to the group on the descent back to the finish and helped position me to finish in the group and not get a time gap.
Stage 3: early morning Devil's Den TT. Cold and early after the hard road race before. Legs felt stiff but everyone was in the same boat with tired legs. Did the best effort I could and moved from 11th GC to 10th after gaining 17 seconds on the guy 5 seconds in front of me in 10th. Also move me to first U23.
Stage 4: Super hard crit. Finally warmed up in the afternoon but still windy. One of the hardest crits I have ever done. It was just Andrei, Ben and I left. Ben stayed in well and helped keep me safe. Every lap was a struggle to not get dropped with the wind and the hard climb. Crits are also one of my weaknesses. I rode as hard as I could to stay in and keep my 10th on GC. On the final lap I got gapped and was so gassed I could't stay with the group. I ended the stage with a small gap but stayed close enough to keep 10th GC and top U23. Only about 45-50 people even finished the crit which showed how tough it was.
Overall it was an awesome week and couldn't have held my 10th overall without the help of the guys!