The past weekend the team was fortunate enough to be able to head down to Tour De Bloom in Wenatchee, Washington. In my personal opinion, this is one of the best amateur races hosted in the Pacific North West. Equal payouts bring in a large and competitive women's field.
To start off the trip on a high note the men's and women's team were able to stay in a large house together. It is really nice to join up as a whole team outside of racing. We played some wicked hands of cards and were able to teach Kurt how to play Hearts - I stuck him with the Queen of Spades a few too many times. We also were able to enjoy some great cooking from both Ty and Al which is appreciated after a long day of racing.
The first of four stages at Tour De Bloom is an 85km road race through the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth and the town of Plaine. While the course profile only became aggressive in the last quarter of the race, a strong headwind came into play and eliminated any groups from going up the road solo.
The following day we were presented with both a mass start hill climb and an evening crit. The hill climb was a constantly challenge grade at 6.5km long. Michele was able to make the front split with three women and rode to an extremely strong second place finish, putting minutes into many of the other riders! Personally I also had a strong hill climb, hitting a new max power from two minutes up to 20 minutes and every time gap in between. Some serious napping was had after this.
The evening crit also ran well. The women's team was able to maintain Michele's second place in the general classification. I snagged a $100 prime to the Wenatchee Brewing Company; being under 21 I was not able to put this to good use but I think it did make Evan very happy. The men's team won a strong crit with Al and Kurt grabbing second and third.
The final stage of this race was a 55km road race, sounding deceivingly short; the headwind played a huge factor making it one of the hardest 55km of my life. The tactic going in was to gutter the group through the wind but keep Michele as the only rider getting a draft. We were able to do this by echeloning with Holly and Anika at the front of the pack. After shelling 3/4 of the field and coming into 10km to go I started recovering to prepare for a possible group sprint. Thanks to a killer lead out from Anika and some stealthy deep dish Eastons I was able to claim second in the group sprint. Michele maintained her second in the general classification which was the main goal coming into the last stage.
All around both teams rode very well, sidelines of sickness and of injury didn't prevent any of us from performing this weekend, which as a teammate is inspiring to see. Feelings are high heading into the Hatzic Valley road race and Enumclaw Stage race.