Owens Healthcare Cycling Team Blog
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Chico Stage RR

March 06th, 2015

Chico Stage RR – Todd Dodds 3/5/2015

Mike, Adam, Jordan and I raced the 2015 Chico Stage Race.  Jordan raced the 3/4 category, Adam raced the 45+ 4/5 category and Mike and I raced the 45+ 1/2/3 category.

Friday, Mike and I got to race the Thunderhill Circuit course in Willows.  The course is 3 miles with 15 turns and 2 pretty good climbs…excellent circuit.  We raced for 75 minutes (lap times were about 7 minutes) and had 31 riders in our class.  As usual the start was fast and unusually nervous for the first couple of laps.  If finally settled down after 3 or 4 laps but the pace remained pretty high.  The climbs definitely disrupted things.  The big power guys like Bubba Melcher would fall back on them but would move back up on the descents.  The rest of the race remained pretty uneventful until the last two laps.  I started to move up because I was feeling good throughout the race and I thought I had a chance to get a good result.  Going into the last lap, I had a good position so I was motivated to keep it going.  Going up the last climb I was second wheel and came out of the second to last corner in the same position which I thought was great, however, the guy I was following was spent and pulled out.  This placed me out front with one turn to go and with a very long sprint, so I knew I had to do my best to prepare for the surge that was going to come.  As we entered the last turn I gave a little room on the inside but held my speed so I could grab one of their wheels.  It seemed like it was going to work for at least a top five, but the sprint was very long and I could not hold on.  I placed 13th which is not the result I wanted but I was still fairly happy with it because there were some strong guys in the field.

Mike rode strong for several laps and was enjoying himself until one of the Audi’s guys tried taking him out on one of the turns.  I thought the Sheriff was going to come unglued, but he kept his cool and didn’t kick the guy off the road.  After that, Mike rode solo for a couple of laps which I think was harder than where I was due to the big winds that were blowing.

Saturday, Mike and I started our race at 2:15 at the Buckhorn Recreation Area.  It was a different start location compared to previous years which was in Paskenta.  It changed the race quite a bit since there were rollers at the start of the race proceeded by the gravel section 10 miles in.  From the gun, 3 guys got off the front and were able to hold that position until about 1.5 miles into the gravel section.  During that time, Bubba tried to bridge but could not make contact.  The pace seemed reasonable up to the gravel and then increased as we entered the gravel section as expected.  However, as opposed to past years, the pace was not at redline which was welcomed.  As we caught the break, the peloton remained together for the most part all the way to the end of the gravel.  Mike lost contact about half way in and was stuck riding solo to the finish which was very difficult due to the strong cross winds.  When we hit Corning Road the cross winds got very strong and I knew that an echelon would form.  About 3 miles in, the pace ramped up and we were rolling at 27 mph +.  Everything was fine for another couple of miles and then I found myself in the gutter dangling off the back.  I had a couple of conversations with myself to convince my mind to overcome the pain I was feeling.  I hung in there but man I burned a lot of matches to keep in contact.  Once we hit Black Butte Road, we had a tail wind so I was feeling pretty good about the finish because it was on an uphill.  We stayed together for the most part until 500 meters to go and the beginning of the climb.  I was positioned about 7th and thought I could do something at the finish so I stood up to go for it.  Once I did that, I could tell I burned a lot of matches earlier so my sprint would suffer.  I placed 15th.  Mike finished and ended helping some other riders finish as well.  Another good day of racing.

Sunday was the TT and the Crit.  Mike and I had decent morning start times for the TT so we got to sleep in a little which was very welcomed after having two days of racing in the legs.  By the way, we could have crushed the TT this year but we did not have TT bikes so our times were well off the winning time.  Next year….maybe!

The Criterium start time was at 12:45 so we had plenty of time to warm up but we were both unmotivated to start because we were tired and whining about that.  Also, we were thinking about Tom Dillard’s crash he had earlier that morning which landed him in the hospital.  More on that later.  Anyway, we started on time and the pace was high as expected.  Fairly quickly, two guys rolled off the front and neither of them were from the bigger teams.  I didn’t think that would be the break, however, it turned out Bubba Melcher thought it would and bridged up.  The three of them worked for a while but one of the guys could not hold the pace and came back to the main group.  The rest of the race remained pretty uneventful but fast.  I finished 10th and Mike finished 20th.  I love that course and had a great time racing with Mike.

Overall, we had a great time and REALLY appreciate the support we got from the team.  The racing was fun, but the time spent together as a team was excellent.  THANKS!!

Tom and Adam raced the Criterium at 8:00am, the first race of the morning.  It sounds like Tom was following a guy into the first corner with two laps to go when he noticed that the guy was going too fast and saw that he was going to crash.  Tom thought he was clear of the guy when all of the sudden the guys bike came into Tom’s line which caused him to go over the bars.  When he landed, he ended up breaking 8 ribs, puncturing a lung and breaking his clavicle.  Definitely a bad crash.  He ended up riding in an ambulance to the hospital and was told he would be there for a couple of days.  I was in Chico Wednesday and found out that he was still in the hospital.  I talked to him and he thought that he might be released today or Friday.  He said the pain was terrible that they had to give him an epidural.  He was thankful that he was okay and was talking about when he could ride his bike next.  If you guys get a chance, it would be nice if you could drop him an e-mail or text wishing him well.

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March 06th, 2015 17:39:05