2019 Cascade Cycling Classic
Cascade Day 1
So today was definitely not our day. Justin flatted ~10 miles in on the third gravel section and had to chase solo for the next 38 miles. I was in the main group all together on the main climb of the day, when someone decided to started coasting and then cut into the should taking the people behind him down. I chased back right before the gravel climb but was gassed and did the last lap with the second group around 7 minutes down by the finish. We’re both feeling good though and we’re way inside time cut so now our focus is now just stages instead of the overall. Tomorrow is 60 miles with another gravel section and ~6000 feet of climbing so should be a tough one!
Cascade Day 2
Today was tough. I’m definitely riding a bit like a baby too far back in the field. I got caught behind two wrecks and Justin skirted one. The climbs have been real surgey and it popped me today as well. We had a real epic start today though with thunder and rain on the first ~10 mile descent. It cleared up and there were a lot of individual groups on the road.
Cascade Day 3
This race is not my jam. Looked to be a “calm” 96 mi RR that should favor a long breakaway with a shallow ish 7 mile climb to the finish.
30 some odd miles in the leader calls a pee break, a few attack the pee break, and we chase back on. Once we catch the field, we are neutralized and stopped because the P1 field was pointed in the wrong direction, ran into a bad gravel section that wasn’t part of the course, and there was flat carnage.
50 miles in we hit the 2 miles “gravel” section which is more like loose sand with lava rocks. Carnage ensures, multiple flats, people fishtailing, and my front wheel is slipping everywhere. Chris keeps better contact with the front and I slip back in the field scrubbing speed for other riders and trying to stay upright.
After chasing for a few miles with a Dean rider (@Nicholas Wirski their director says hi, he is a lively chap) we catch back on.
Second time through the “gravel section” sucked a bit less but I still got gapped from the leaders scrubbing speed and avoiding risks.
Emerging from the sand pit I can see the Peleton ahead of me with 15 mi to go, but knowing I won’t catch them I try and hold a steady tempo.
Chris pulled up with a chase group and we worked together for a bit until the climb started. Chris finished the climb about 3 min faster than me and that was the stage.
Chris finished 17th and I ended up 24th on the day.
11 riders have dropped out so far, only 43 left in the 2s race...
FWIW, that gravel section was a horrible idea. I’m all in for riding some hard packed stuff to liven up a race, but two passes of sandy rocky crap in a stage race was dangerous and claimed the majority of the wheels in the support car (the chief ref handed out 4 herself). In the P1 field neutral support ran out of wheels and had to start changing flats.
I’m sure the race will change the stage in years to come but most of the riders today won’t come back if they leave the “gravel” sections in the race.
Here is the race profile for the day https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27186551
Tomorrow is a crit. Flat and figure 8.
Cascade Day 4
Fun figure 8 ish crit with a small hill. Fast for the first 10 minutes until a break was established. Paced slowed down about 20 minutes in, field was getting a bit tired.
There was more slowing in the corners than necessary in the middle of the race, but I figured someone up front was controlling the pace for the break.
Two crashes on the hill, a little bumping, a few people trying to make lines where they didn’t exist, but for the most part predictable riding from the group.
With 5 to go I thought about moving up but was fairly tired and content to finish mid pack, so I did.
I came in 24th, Chris at 18th.
Some Canadian semi pro lapped the field in a break to claw back time he lost to a breakaway yesterday. He is sitting 2nd and I’m betting on him to win.
We are down to 41 riders out of a starting 54...
Tomorrow is a crazy 90 minute circuit race with 23 corners and hills. With the GC situation (guy who will probably win the race 9 seconds back and current leader not looking like a good bike handler), I’m counting on it being all out.
Cascade Day 5.
90 minutes of a 5.8 mile circuit with 500 some feet of climbing per lap. Chris and I had the chance to pre ride a lap before our race which really helped to learn the corners on the downhill. The course was essentially a stair step uphill through a neighborhood with a downhill. Finish line was at the top KOM style.
Nothing too crazy happened, but a few people who didn’t pre ride over cooked a corner on the first downhill.
Uphill sucked, but was the tempo surged quite often with a variable grade which was better for my riding style than a steady climb would have been.
A break went with the Canadian rider and the peloton turned into a race of attrition attacking pretty regularly with no real success at separating.
I was hurting pretty bad on the climb leading up to 1 to go and gave it a go rolling off the front into the steepest section. At that point I knew I would make the time cut and I was kinda curious how far my legs could take me. That was a crappy short lived idea and I ended up popping myself within 2 minutes. I chased for a lap and ended up finishing 21st on the day.
Brutal race, only 33 “finished” the race of 54 starters and were given an overall GC time. I ended up 23rd overall some 40 minutes back in GC.
Canadian Guy won the stage and GC, a Rio Grande rider moved up into 2nd overall, and yesterday’s GC Rider held on for 3rd overall.
Waaay harder than VOS or Chico as far as Cat 2 fields are concerned. I sorely underestimated this race. It also has deceptively more climbing than I thought.
Good times though, Bend is a cool place.