GATE CITY GRIND - POCATELLO, IDAHO - 6-7 JULY
Pocatello is a small town in Eastern Idaho surrounded by rolling hills and farmland. It was another long drive to get here, but I was staying with a cool host family, with a couple of kids. We spend a cruisy night before the tour shooting model rocket skywards, it was all good fun until the rocket landed in the local horse farm and was irretrievable...
Stage 1- 10 Mile Time Trial (8am): I'd been warned that this course was in the running for the ugliest TT course around and they weren't wrong... scenery definitely wasn't its strong point .5 miles of flat straight road running along side the freeway and the straight back.
I was off in 3rd place... it only took 1.5 miles to catch the girl who started 30 seconds in front of me and another 1.5miles to catch the first girl away...then it was just 7 lonely miles looking at nothing but straight road. The wind slowly increased and it was a painful grind back to the finish... my time of 24.03 put me in second place by 0.5 of a second, bugger if I'd only sprinted to the line...
Stage 2 - 40 min Parking Lot Criterium (4.30pm): The long break between stages made for a layback day... time for a sleep and a catch up on Tour de France action! The criterium took place in the Idaho State University Parking Lot!! It was a technical 3/4 mile loop with at least 5 sharp corners and a short but moderately steep hill to the start finish line. I took the first preem (US$20) then settled in the pack to watch the action... one of the stronger ladies in the pack went for the 2nd preem, I jumped on her wheel, let her get the preem and went past hard and told her to jump on...we were off. The lead quickly grew to 20 seconds as we worked well together taking 1/2 a lap each... with one lap to go I went for the solo flyer and put about 15 seconds on the second place getter and 50 seconds on the race leader. The young boys I were staying with couldn't believe how much money I'd made in the Criterium ($40) and have now decided to take up cycling (I didn't like to tell them that this wouldn't even pay for a tire)...
That night as we sat eating our dinner we were treated to a spectacular thunder and lightening storm....one of the lightening forks hit a tree on a nearby hill and burst into flame. My host family got out their telescope and we watched the 4wheel drive fire truck go to the rescue!
Day 2 - Stage 3 - 70 Mile (110km) Road Race, (8am): My host family all came to cheer me on. It was awesome...that had looked up the NZ flag on the internet and painted it on the course with a big "Go Kiwi," I had more fans than the locals! Heaps of people came up to me after the race and commented!
The race was a 17.5mile circuit, most rolling terrain with one hill of about 1.5miles. We had 4 laps?it was going to be a long day... the wind was already getting up and the temperature was fast approaching 30C. Lap two and there was a QOM. It was only a time bonus, but I figured it was worth going for... this split the bunch and only 3 of us remained over the top. With the Cascade Classic later in the week I settled for a cruisy ride for the next couple of laps... the three of us worked together lapping it out. I attacked on the last hill a couple of km before the finish and TT it to take the stage win... the heat really seemed to get to me today and it took me a long time to recover.
The post race party was cool... free subway sandwich, fruit and heaps of food... I won an awesome trophy (hmm not sure where that will fit in the luggage), race leaders jersey and some good $$ to keep me going another few weeks.
From here I leave for Oregon to race in the Cascade Classic... I looking forward to racing in some big fields again. Its cool to win, but its probably better for me to be beaten.
Thanks heaps to the Joyce's (my host family), Henry for the ride to the race, all the Wellington chicks & lads for the emails... its cool to hear the gos from back home... happy riding!