by Ken Huizenga
What a great weekend of racing!
I had spent the last year thinking about this TBC race as it was the first one I attempted last year. In 2014 the TBC was a rude awakening of what it was going to take to do well in competitive Road Cycling. The uphill TT was brutal; the Road Race left me dropped and alone for the entire second lap, and the Circuit Race completely destroyed me.
What a difference a year makes!
The 2015 TBC turned out to be the most fun I have had racing to date. It encompassed an insane amount of personal bests for me as well as our team. Gary Schobel was a podium threat all weekend and we were all involved in being sure he finished well.
As often happens in TTs the difficult decision is when to give it 110% without burning out too early. Coach Buzz gave me a plan and I executed it as per his instruction to the letter. My tank was empty when I hit the top of the final hill and I was hoping it would put me at a minimum mid pack. I was successful! I was mid pack and I cut over a minute off last year's time on the same run. Stage one mission accomplished.
Gary had laid down an awesome TT run and was thick in the hunt for the GC podium. This day we planned to protect him and provide a clean delivery for him to the final sprint. Although I wanted to play an integral part in this plan, I had my doubts remembering my demise last year. Putting those thoughts aside, I hung on hard during the climbs and surges and then moved up towards the front to shield Gary and keep him rested. Lap one, I’m still on! Lap two, I almost dropped but simply refused. I was again shielding Gary and Jimmy went to the front and crushed it on the final run down Helmet Peak. JJ jumped up front to help lead the Peloton onto the final stretch. Gary makes his move and takes off. I'm sure Jimmy would have loved to deliver Gary to the 1K to go line but we were all out of gas. Jimmy, JJ and I limped the remaining 1K. We have done what we set out to do. Gary ended with an awesome finish! Wait... did I just finally finish with the pack?
As I discussed earlier, I was dreading this Circuit Race. After only one lap with the pack last year I just figured if I can hang on for three, I’ll consider it a success. This day I was not going to be about me and my selfish goals. Gary’s podium lingered in the back of my head and Jimmy was not feeling well. I could not fail today. Time bonuses were in the balance on lap three and one of us had to grab those to protect our interest in this race.
Gary, JJ, Jimmy, and Ken
I completely breezed through the first two laps. Now it was time for the three of us to march to the front. Jimmy, when he arrived earlier, said he came for only one reason. That was to steal one of the time bonuses away from the leaders to help Gary. Knowing he could dig that deep while feeling ill meant we had no excuse to not contribute. We all worked our way to the front of the pack for the last turn to the start/finish line. I really thought I could blow myself up and get to the line; JJ looked like he would make it as well. As it turned out, only our Master Sprinter Jimmy Davis was strong enough to get there. He did as he set out to. Jimmy took the second place sprint time bonus. The pack split in two after the surge and my two teammates and I took turns leading the splintered pack around for the last two laps. We could see the lead pack, but they had a minute on us. I thought we might catch them. I went out front and pulled as hard as I could on the front but my tank ran out with 1K to go. My teammates rolled by me and quite frankly I was nothing but pleased.
On this day, it was not about my insignificant goals but about our IC3 Team. Gary missed the Podium ever so slightly but I know we could have done more to help. I am so proud of him for his effort and determination. If it is God’s will, we will persevere. Otherwise, we will just enjoy working together for the common good of the team. I have to mention something about this awesome Cat 5 40+ group of guys. What a great group of people! Great racing with you all and I look forward to next year.