Monday, June 14, 2010

Nature Valley

So here comes Nature Valley. This shall mark my fourth visit to the fair hamlets of Minneapolis and St. Paul to compete in this charming little doosie of a race. First, a little history:

2007: one of my first blog posts ever (post #4 to be precise) was about knocking over Ted King in one of the Nature Valley crits. I supposed you'd call that a "brush with fame," albeit a rather firm one; since then Ted has gotten remarkably fast, and now races grand tours for the Cervelo Test Team. If I remember correctly, I got dropped (and pulled) in the second criterium within the first twenty minutes.

2008: Crazy things happened at the '08 version of this race. First off, the opening stage was cancelled halfway through due to rain -- and it wasn't the rain so much as the crashes that convinced the officials to pull the plug. From there we all just kind of survived, plodding our way through the stages, making the time-cut, and ultimately finishing the stage race. However, in 2008 we weren't so much interested in racing the NVGP, as we were partying. And boy did we party at least better than we raced. Adrian doesn't spend nearly enough time in his underpants any more, does he?

2009: I hit last year's Nature Valley in good shape, and with high spirits. After a reasonable opening prologue, I ended up crashing hard, twice, on the first road stage. I survived the race, despite getting pulled from every single remaining stage, but my injuries damaged my psyche as much as my body. I completely lost me nerve, and spent nearly a month failing to finish a mass-start race. I'm excited to get back to Nature Valley and conquer some friggin' demons.

2010: While the script has yet to be written for this year's race, the preface is nearing completion. To begin with, there's a new course added to the race -- one that is supposedly more selective than in years past. Another change is that TT bikes and aerodynamic gear (TT helmets, disc wheels, etc.) are no longer allowed in the TT. I doubt this change will yield much difference in the results,  but who knows?! All I can say is thank goodness I have such an aero road frame. Thanks Blue!  Despite being sick this last week, I feel good. It's somewhat dorky, but Lang helped me program the NVGP prologue into the Computrainer, so yesterday I hammered out a few "prologue intervals" over at Cycle U. I'm convinced I can have a good ride on Wednesday morning.


Richard McClung said...

That 'new' stage is on and very close to my home turf Sam.

The course rolls right through where I got 2nd place in the WI state champs in '85...a couple of tough hills there.

Do us proud man.

Terradise said...

I miss that Adrian too :(