(We catch up with Matt Cooke in Oregon, halfway through the Cascade Cycling Classic. Matt
raced locally as an amateur with Lateral Stress Velo and in 2006 was
the Elite National Road Race Champion. For 2007 he landed a pro
contract with Navigator's Insurance, and this year is racing for the Health Net Pro Cycling Team. He'll be contributing regularly to GamJams as he follows the NRC Calendar around the country.
Questions for Matt? Ask away in the comments and he'll get back to you. But probably not until after his massage.)
I’m in Bend Oregon at the Cascade Cycling Classic. We are three days in, I think, and we have two more. Today was a time trial in the morning that Levi crushed and then a crit tonite that just ended a few hours ago.
Tonight was some crazy racing. Just really fast with guys taking all kinds of risks just to move up a few spots. In the last half hour there were like 4 bad crashes, two Bissel guys I’m sure stacked it and also one Rock guy, who was on the ground for a long time. For me I was just hanging in the middle of the field trying to stay as safe as possible. I would have loved to have gotten into a move but Rory got into the first and only move of the day. And really you have to be sitting like top 6 if you want to try and break away. In the end Toyota lined it out and their man Dom Rollin won but our guy Kyle Gritters took a very close second. Nice job Kyle.
The TT this morning was pretty damn hard. I don’t know what I placed but it was pretty far down. I didn’t even make the first page of results!
Yesterday was a little more interesting for me. It was another 80 mile road race with a mountain top finish. A break with Kyle and Corey went away in the first 20 miles or so and stayed away. Rock Racing had the leaders jersey but the team they had here was pretty weak so it was left up to BMC to control the front. There were some pretty windy sections where we were all in the gutter, and I totally hate that stuff.
As the race got closer to the finish the gap to the break came down but not that much. On the final climb Horner from Astana led the group up the first pitch and then pulled off. I was in that main split with Levi and Botero and all the other GC guys but I was a little too far towards the back. My teammate Roman came up to me, told me to get on his wheel and took me all the way to the front and dropped me off on Phil Zajicek’s wheel. So I was sitting 4th wheel behind Cesar from Rock, Levi from Astana and my teammate Phil. At some point Levi attacked and there was no reaction, so of course I ride right up to his wheel. I’m there for like, well I don’t know how long, but not very long when Botero comes right up pushes me off Levi’s wheel and then the lights go out for me. I just stopped pedaling. Trying to go with Levi is pretty much suicide but I figure I tried and I figured out one way that I can’t beat him. Maybe there’s some other way, I don’t know, but I’ll keep trying. The good news is Corey got 3rd for the stage and he’s got to be stoked for that because he has spent most of the year working for his teammates.