Steamboat Springs Stage Race started with a tough time trial.
The Steamboat Springs Stage Race started with a tough time trial. Photo: C. Johnson

The Steamboat Springs Stage Race started today with the opening prologue,  just over six miles long. Idyllic weather greeted racers as they gathered just beneath Steamboat Springs Ski Resort. Bright blue skies and just a touch of wind made the 80 degree weather just perfect. Racers showed up with everything from standard road bikes to time trial rigs complete with disc wheels, aero helmets and even shoe covers. All this for just over 6 miles of pain. Read more and see more pictures after the break.

The route was an out and back along rolling country roads before turning uphill for the finish. I opted to go with just the road bike for the day. Yeah I have a great time trial set up, but I didn’t feel like packing it for such a short event.

These short efforts are surprisingly hard and if you aren’t used to them they can be a real kick in the teeth. It gives you a real appreciation for what the prologue specialists like Cancellara go through to win at the big races. After a good warm up I found myself in the start house with a volunteer holding my back tire and it was time to go.

My goal was to just keep it steady, go hard and hold on for dear life. I had my PowerTap giving me numbers, but I didn’t really pay any attention to them. Rolling along with nothing but the sound of my own heavy breathing,  I focused on what I had to do. At the three mile mile mark I could see my one minute man and tried to reel him in. Just as we hit the bottom of the finishing climb I pulled past and kept on the gas to the finish. I barely held off my stomach’s desire to empty it’s contents onto the road before crossing the line.

The author holding on to the finish. I had to rock the skinsuit!
The author holding on to the finish. Note the sweet skin suit! Photo: C. Johnson

I finished in a time of 14:51, putting me 8th overall, only 36 seconds back. I was a little surprised I finished so high, but I’ll take it!  I averaged just over 300 watts at a heart rate of 162, well over my LT. I felt good about my effort and took a nice easy spin to clear out the legs.

Tomorrow’s stage is a 4.5 mile circuit, and I will be doing seven laps. So far the legs feel up to the task. The goal will be to conserve some energy, but I also want to be in any breakaways. I don’t have any sprint to save my life so I have to rely on getting away from the peleton and staying out front.

A quick note on the skinsuit in the photo. I used to be sponsored by Descente during the time that they were also the sponsor for Team C.S.C. They had a small warehouse in Boulder that they let me frequent and grab what I wanted. One day they all sorts of C.S.C. gear, everything from bibs and jerseys to sock, bags and even track pants. The skinsuit was supposedly custom made for Dave Zabriskie. It is super tight and since D.Z. is apparently allergic to latex, the grippers are a funky tacky material. I break it out on occasion for time trials and cross races.

Check back for tomorrow’s stage report!

What do you think?