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Mike Northeys Nature Valley Grad Prix
23 Jun, 2009
Been back in Portland coming up one week now. Its been so good finally having a break off the bike and racing! Marina is staying here too so perfect timing! The week has gone fast tho, back into training full swing again next week.
Nature Valley ended up not being so bad.. Considering i was feeling really crap to begin with! Last time I updated I was 2 days into the 5 day tour..
Next stage was a twilight crit, it was a 6 corners pretty flat and fast.. I started pretty much dead last again, but was feeling good this time and was able to move my way up the field. Just over 10 laps to go there was a crash right next to me, basically 100 guys got stuck behind it and went into the pits. Normally if you crash or get stuck behind a crash you can take a lap out in the pits and then rejoin the following lap at the back of the field. We came around for the following lap and they had rejoined the race at the front nearly causing more crashes... So i went from the front quarter to almost the back again. In this time the sprint teams got on the front and had the race single file.. There was nothing i could do but hang on, in the end i lost 20 sec with gaps forming in the field.
Next day was the longest day of the tour, 94 miles with a finishing circuit at the end that we had to do 4 times. I managed to get in the break 16 miles into the race, pretty much all the important teams made the break so the field was pretty happy to let us go.. It was one of the weirdest breaks i have been in, they were attacking each other pretty much the whole way. I managed to get in the right split and went onto the finishing circuit with about 7 other guys, we rode a lap together then the next lap i just rode hard on the front on the climb.. I looked back and there was one guy on my wheel, he just sat on me and wouldn't pull through. In the end we caught the lone guy up the road and they both pumped me in the sprint! I had to keep riding hard tho because i was after time for the young rider jersey which i ended up getting! We had a pretty good day, Bobby was 2nd u23 on the stage also and moved into 2nd on u23!
Last day and by far the hardest day. It was supposedly a a crit but had a 22% wall in it which we had to do 20 times.. I knew i was going to be in for a hard day, so hoped i could hang on for as long as possible.. 2 laps to go when the pace really went on i got gaped and couldn't quite get back on.. My team mates Jim and Aaron did a awesome job helping me to chase and try not to lose to much time. In the end Bobby took over the U23 jersey and a dropped to 3rd, by 9sec! So if i didn't loose time on the 3rd day in the crit i would have been 2nd! Oh well i was pretty happy with how i rode in the end! Thanks for reading! Mike

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