Friday, June 5, 2015

2015 Tour of Kansas City Race Weekend

I had a strong showing at this past weekend's Tour of Kansas City.

My time trial at the Tour of KC Cliff Drive Prologue Friday evening was good enough for 2nd place finish in the cat 3 field. I just missed the top step by eight-tenths of a second. Had I previewed the course properly before the race, I am certain I could have made up the difference on the first two corners alone, as I had to scrub a lot of speed by braking heavily to avoid crossing the yellow line. Time trials are all about knowing the course. My mistake. I will do better course recon next time.


I followed up Friday night's TT with a good race on Saturdays' Cliff Drive circuit, where I had another second place finish. I sat-in most of the race, but with about 25 minutes remaining, I went on the attack as the field began to relax. I quickly opened up a gap, then peaked around to see the young Spencer Seggebruch (Big Shark) bridging up to me. I eased up a bit to let him catch on, and then told him to sit on and recover before we took turns pulling. We only managed to stay away for 3/4 of a lap before the peloton chased us down. From there, I sat on and recovered until the final lap, where it all came down to the final assault up the hill. On the final climb, I positioned myself inside and behind the ultimate winner, Mark Cole (Ethos). When Cole jumped, he caused a big bruhaha in the tightly packed quarters of the group: there was lots of unhappy cyclists making noise as we charged up the hill. I had managed to stay away from the traffic and tucked in along Cole's inside. As we climbed, I was making up ground on him, so much so that I believed that I was going to overtake him before the line. Then, the road started closing in, and Cole's line came across mine. He was pinching me into the barriers just as the road was narrowing for the finish chute. My braking nearly cost me second place as well, but the photo finished showed that I just barely crossed the line before Seggebruch.

Several witnesses, including those in the peloton, immediately encouraged me to file a protest against Cole's seeming encroaching line in the final 200m. In the end, I spoke with Cole personally, asking him what he thought of his finish. Cole said he was unaware that he obstructed me, and that his intentions weren't malicious. He apologized and offered to shake my hand. I shook it, congratulated him on the win and let the protest go.

Still, there will always be a lingering doubt, if not just a thought, that had I had a clean line, I might have won.


Heading into the Sunday, I was sitting first in the omnium with 36 points, and my chief threats were tied for second with 28 points: Spencer Seggebruch (Big Shark), and JJ Shepherd (Alloy Wheel Repair). My goal was to finish in the top four, which would secure the omnium win. If I finished any worse than fourth, then I'd open the door for losing the overall if those two in particular finished ahead of me.

Sunday's race was a criterium on a flat course around Kaufman baseball field/Arrowhead stadium. With wide, sweeping corners and a 500m downhill sprint finish, I suspected that this race would come to a field sprint at the end. Although this type of race is not suited to my strengths, I welcomed it because I need the most development as a racer here.

As predicted, the race came to a bunch sprint. The winner, Adam Leopold (Bonkers Cycling), was clear by two bike lengths. In second place was Shepherd. That was bad for me. I was in the big pack that came across the line next. I thought that I had finished 3rd in the pack (5th overall), but the photo finish showed Trey Hedgecock (Northside Development) edging me out for fifth by an inch. My sixth place meant that my omnium cushion was in trouble. I earned 10 points for sixth; with my existing 36 points, I had a grand total of 46 points. Meanwhile, Shepherd's second place collected 18 points. Added to his existing 28 resulted in 46 points for him as well. We tied for the omnium. The winner typically goes to higher placement on the final day, which clearly wasn't me.

When the results were posted, however, I was listed first with 48 points, Shepherd was second with 46, and Seggebruch third. It seems that the officials had mistakenly awarded me 12 points instead of ten for sixth place at the criterium. Unfortunately for Shepherd, who had left the site altogether, nobody protested. As a result, I was awarded the omnium by a technicality.

At any rate, I am not happy, nor proud of this selfish behavior. It felt dirty immediately, and the regret of taking something that I didn't earn was heavy.

It wasn't one of my finer moments.

edit: continue reading the follow up post here: "U45+ Development"

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