My goal for the year was to finish top 5 in the Masters National Championship Criterium so I signed up for that and also the Road Race since I was going to be there anyway! Hills are not my forte so when I later looked at the course profile and saw that it was an all uphill point to point race finishing at Mt Bachelor Ski Area near Bend Oregon, I wondered what I was in for!
The course turned out to be in a National Forest area with near perfect roads, almost no traffic and stunning scenery with huge pine trees, mountain lakes, and snow capped mountains. The course was actually a good one for me as the first 28 miles or so were gentle upgrades, some short rollers, and a couple of short descents – all big ring riding. We came to the first significant climb – maybe 1.5 miles at 6-8% and I came off the back with a few others but 2 of us were able to chase back on through the follow cars and catch the lead group on the descent that followed. Another easy section was followed by the main climb of the day which was 3-5 miles to the finish at the top at the ski resort. The field broke down into a lead group of about 10 and everyone else scattered all over the hill. I finished 4:04 down on the leaders in 20th place but thouroughly enjoyed the day! We went from temps under 40 to warm sunshine at the top after something like 4000 ft of elevation gain. Up next: The criterium – my main event.
Bend Oregon is an absolutely great place for outdoor activities and the town really welcomed the USAC riders and put on a great event. I hope to go back someday and spend some more time. Here are a few photos from the road course showing brand new pavement, pre-riding the course, and getting ready to race!