What's Cool In Road Cycling

Homeboy: Cracks Top 20!

Great result this weekend …. gave me some extra encouragement and motavation for training extra hard this winter. Well here’s the story…

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Better late than never

I started off this year with a couple of goals. The biggest of which was to place top 20 in a UCI ranked race. When I sat down and wrote up this goal, as I do every January, I knew it would be hard, but I had no idea exactly how hard.

I started off the season full of excitement and energy to get a top placing. Due to my lack of experience, fitness, one broken collarbone and anything close to an endurance system built for European road racing I didn’t finish my first UCI race till just 3 months ago. After that the team began to race together instead of the “now lets all try to finish the race” tactic I was designated a domestic to improve our results and start to place riders. So I put my personal ambitions of a top 20 in a UCI on the backburner and focused on getting a podium spot of the team.

Fastforward to this weekend’s Ronde van Zuid-Oost Vllaanderen, a hard two day stage race in South-East Flanders. The team decided to do a surveillance ride on Thursday to see the tough parts of the course and there were in plenty. Start off the race with a long and rough 3 kilometer cobble section 10 kilometers into the race, the Valkenburg, Bernedries, and Bosburg climbs and very hard local laps the 105 mile race was sure to be a hardy one.

To cut the story short, the field stayed together because of a high 27 mph average in the first two and half hours to local laps. At one point the field did split with 40 kilometers to go with about 30 guys up the road. Knowing only one of our guys were up the road I decided to put in a monster pull with two other riders and we reeled in the front group before the first of the two climbs each lap. I immediately was relegated to the back of the field where I was almost dropped because of my effort.

It’s now 25 kilometers to go and I’m starting to cramp. My legs are just seizing up on me and I grit my teeth, put my mind on something else, and work through the pain. With 5 kilometers to go I’m still barely in the field of 135 guys (originally 198) and 6 guys from the back. I start moving my way up on the last climb while trying to subdue the pain of lactate acid in my legs.

It’s 2 kilometers to go and I’m in the top 50 of the field. I move to far right of the road and pull a little bit of a cyclocross maneuver on the side of the road to advance to very front of the field. I drift back and let the front of the group swallow me up into a nice position in the top 15 with 1 kilometer to go.

A lack of direction from the strong teams keep the front of the field 10 people wide and left people moving around and attempting some very crazy moves. I keep a decent position and try to move up but I was cut off and blocked. I am forced to hold my position as we cross the line. I look around and I don’t see many people in front of me. There were only 4 guys off the front of the field. I do a double take and realize there is a damn good chance I was in the top 20!

I have to wait till later that night when results were faxed, but it was done. I made it just into the top 20 with a 19th place. I was so happy. I finally broke into the top 20 and in one of my last (if not my last UCI event) for this year. This is defiantly the highlight of my season so far. It’s not a great result on paper, but for me it’s a big personal victory.

I must give some well deserved props to Peter Barlin for taking a 6th place and Shawn Milne for a 5th place on Sunday. Shawn also placed 4th in the time trial and 4th overall with Austin King taking 16th in the time trial and 17th overall. Very good results for a very hard weekend

Tot Ziens,
-Gregg Germer-

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