Running In Circles
Saturday, July 4th
Last night I ran the Firecracker 5000. The race starts just before midnight and goes around Seattle Center. This year, there was a Green Day concert at Key Arena, which made finding parking an adventure.
I went to the race with my dad. We'd both driven out to Mason Lake earlier in the day for party with some family friends. The traffic getting to the lake was horrendous, and it took my almost three-and-half hours to drive there.
The drive back to my dad's house was only 90 minutes, but with the struggle to find parking, it took nearly hour to get downtown. If you do the math, that's six hours in a car. All of that time sitting does not engender a fast 5k. The three beers I had at the Lake didn't help, either.
For as late as it was, it was still quite warm at the race. I decided not to run in my red, white, and blue USA hat to stay a little cooler. Knowing I wasn't in the greatest shape, my goal was only to break 22:00. I just barely made it, clocking a 21:56. I ran a pretty evenly-paced race, but I still slowed a bit in the last mile.
Being a Friday night, there were a number of revelers out on the town. There was also quite a back-up from the concert traffic, which the race's road closures didn't help. This lead to a lot of heckling or cheering, depending on the mood of the crowd.
All in all, it was a satisfying experience.
Today's stage played out about how I expected. Fabian Cancellara's performance was spectacular. I figured he would win; my only question was by how much.
The only real surprise to me was how well Roman Kreuziger did. He's not known for his time trialling, but I guess this course suited him in the same fashion it did Alberto Contador, who slotted in for a solid second.
The World Time Trial Champion, Bert Grabsch, did his rainbow stripes no honor by soft pedaling to a slow finish. I know the course didn't suit him--it must be difficult to haul his elephantine thighs uphill--but it would have been nice if he at least looked like he was trying. He finished 98th at nearly two minutes back.
Tomorrow — Stage 2: Monaco to Brignoles – 187 km
This is an easy prediction: Mark Cavendish. The stage is a little bit lumpy, but the hills are nowhere steep enough to shake Cavs--not this early in the race. Unless he has a late puncture or some kind of mechanical failure, he should cruise to easy win. His team is way too experienced for him to get into trouble, and if his position isn't ideal, he has the speed to make up for it.
Look for Thomas Voeckler to go for King of the Mountain points on the stage's four categorized climbs. A number of riders will be looking to wear the Polka Dot jersey at the end of the day, and Voeckler is right kind of attacking rider to come out in the lead.