The Nature Valley Grand Prix stage race has come and gone again for another year. The local Salsa Cycles/Superteam squad put in a great showing with Aric Hareland and pro mountain biker Jeff Hall both finishing in the top 35 overall against the top pro teams in the country. Chuck and I went out to cheer the boys on in Sundays Stillwater Criterium, the hardest crit in North America with a 20% grade climb in the course. You just wouldn't believe how steep and hard Chilakoot Street is unless you saw it. On race day it was lined from top to bottom with screaming fans, kids with noise makers, speakers blaring music, and two local kids beating out riffs on drums to fire everyone up. Jeff Hall won the first KOM sprint and was repeatedly on the front going up the climb. When the winning break finally snapped clear, it was Jeff and Aric on the front leading the chase. They brought it back to within 6 seconds, but it just wasn't to be. Great job guys, you've proved you can ride with the best.
After the race Chuck, his lovely fiance Stacia, myself, Salsa/Superteam rider Banning and junior racer Eli along with an assorted pack of Velo Bella girls rode the 40 miles home from Stillwater. Aside from a little sunburn and getting mixed up with the MS150 riders it was a great day. Well, a great ride for us but not for that poor Josh character who tucked into our draft. He didn't notice the MS150 riders had turned and we didn't notice he was with the ride until 7 miles later. At least we got him sorted out before we hit downtown St. Paul and he was hopelessly lost.
Miker and Butcher got back from Japan yesterday and as soon as their bodies figure out what timezone they're in we'll put up a report and pictures for you. Get out and ride if it isn't raining where you are!
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