Stage 2 - Hocking Hills
Today was by far the hardest stage of the race. 70 miles and tons of hard hills. I was a bit worried about this stage as I usually have to be in pretty great shape to get up the hills. Well since I haven't been back on the bike for very long I wasn't sure how I was gonna go up. We had a good race plan and my job was to cover early. Which I did but my day was over pretty quickly over 1 of the big hills. The boys did a great job looking after Matt and in the end he made the 3 man break taking 2nd to Dan Campbell and Dickie. Matt stayed in 2nd but now by 2 seconds.
Stage 3 - Gambier-Coshocton-Gambier Road Race
This was a tough out and back 70 mile road race. There was 1 sprint basically at the turn-around so my job was to try to get over the hills and contest the sprint. We were hoping to get a break off to eat the points up as we only really needed to watch 1 guy that could take the green jersey from me. We did great placing Joe and Bennett in an early break but the only guy I couldn't let win the sprint went across in a group over the top of one of the hills. The 2 groups joined and the team didn't realize he was there and he won the sprint taking the jersey from me. Joe did a great ride winning a hand full of KOMs and took that jersey. My day was over on the way back as it was too much climbing for me. The team did well again leading Matt out into the final uphill sprint and Matt sealed the deal taking out the sprint for his 1st stage win and the Yellow Jersey.
Stage 4 - Worthington Criterium
This is my hometown race and it just gets better and better every year. The neighborhood seems to be getting into it more every year as well. With 3 sprints today we set out a plan that Josh would help me and we would sit Hayden and Matt for the end. The 1st sprint rolled around and we were all together. Josh gave me a sweet lead out and I left it perfect getting the sprint and leaving Josh to get second ahead of the green jersey. This gave me a 2 point lead now. Soon after another break rolled away with Bennett and no GC threats. So we let it roll out pretty good and it sat about 40 seconds most of the race. The team did a great job covering and letting Hayden and Matt rest. In the end the break came back and we were all together. I was pretty waxed from covering moves but coming through to see 2 laps to go I took Hayden from about 50 guys back to the front and lead him up the hill as far as I could to see 1 to go. I left him in perfect position and was hoping he would cap the day off. Sure enough the world champ came through to win and to make it even better he had Matt in tow for 2nd. Inferno 1-2!! great ride today. Its not often you set a plan out and it works to perfection, but today it did.
So we head into the last day and its a tough one. We head out and do 8 laps around a rolling circuit then head back into Granville for a death circuit with a steep cobbled climb. The race is still wide open and with KOM and Sprint points today as well. We currently hold the Yellow, Green, and Polka Dot jersey and Bennett is close to the Red (collegiate) Jersey as well. It will be a hard day for the team so hopefully we are up for the challenge. Will keep ya updated.