Mark McCormack’s 2004 Race Diary
Diary Entries – May 25, 2004 – Balaning Racing, Training, and Life
I was unable to compete at the Tour de Georgia. My wife Suzanne had been admitted to the hospital with some serious complications related to her pregnancy in the week leading up to the big race. The doctors had everything under control for Suzanne with exception of the date for which our new baby would be born. They decided that Suzanne had to remain in the hospital until the baby’s arrival, which was several weeks away. With Suzanne in the hospital until she had the baby I remained close to home to ensure I would not miss the birth of our second child.
Fortunately Suzanne’s mom was able to take a leave from work to provide invaluable assistance with our son Collin. With my training entering a very important phase and the fact that we were moving out of our house in Easton and trying to buy another house, the added family support was amazing.
In the final week of April we moved out of our house of more than seven years, had a baby, and signed a purchase and sale agreement on our next house. Oh, the baby turned out to be a boy! Both Suzanne and the baby did great during the delivery and once again Suzanne was able to deliver with no pain medicine. We named our new son Ian Johan. Ian arrived early in the afternoon on April 30th. Collin is very excited about being a big brother. Some how he manages to sleep through Ian’s nighttime howling!
When we left the hospital we no longer owned a house so we have moved in with Suzanne’s parents until we buy our next house in Foxboro in early June. We are all looking forward to getting set up in the new place and making it our own.
New England Racing/Training
Since I was unable to leave the area I had to turn to the local racing calendar in order to continue with my training and racing. Fortunately for me there are some great races here in New England at which I was able to evaluate my fitness and training.
I really enjoyed having the opportunity to race at the Marblehead and Adelphia Grand Prix Circuit races. Both races were very aggressive and held on challenging courses. Marblehead ended in a bunch sprint where I witnessed the Sharper Image guys putting together a nice lead out for their sprinter. The other teams racing here in New England should be watching how those guys race for one rider when it comes down to the final few miles of a race.
I have also been utilizing the Wells Ave criterium on Sunday mornings, Wompatuck on Tuesday evenings, and Lincoln, RI, on Wednesday evenings. These training races provide me with the perfect opportunities to do specific intervals and sprints within a race environment without having to worry about how I will feel at the end of the race. I also take advantage of the fact that I can ride some good miles before the races start in order to simulate what I will face at the end of my 5 and 6 hour races. These training races are one of the best features of living in southeastern New England as a professional cyclist. For those of you that neglect to get to these training races I suggest you take advantage of such valuable training tools.
Rejoining my Colavita Olive Oil Team
The last time I had raced with my teammates was at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in late March. It would not be until the CapTech Classic in Richmond, VA on May 8th that I would be back with my new team. It was a great feeling to be back at a national level race. This was a great race on a very challenging course. The race was a 62 mile criterium with the course being very hilly. This was a great test for me on my return to the important races. I had a very strong ride and felt very good about my fitness when the race was over. I managed to finish fourth on the day, not an astounding result in itself but the way my body responded to the efforts throughout the day was very important for my personal confidence leading up to the final month of training and racing before getting to Philadelphia for the USPRO Road Race Championships.
I returned home for a big week of training that included several 5 to 6 hour rides concluding at the Wompatuck and Lincoln training races. This week turned out to be much better for my fitness than I could have hoped. The weather was perfect and the training races had great turnouts for some aggressive racing.
At the end of the week I headed south to New Jersey for the Carteret Criterium which was being sponsored by Colavita. What a fun race! There were six corners on the one kilometer course. From the beginning the pace was fast and the winning break formed on the third lap. I managed to make the bridge across to it. My teammate Todd and I lapped the field along with the others in the break (including two riders from Navigators and two riders from Ofoto). At the end of the 50 lap race I could only manage third place. Navigators provided a perfect lead out for their man and it worked out for them.
Tour of Connecticut
Immediately after completing the Carteret criterium I headed up to Torrington, CT, for the start of the first stage of the Tour of Connecticut. I was feeling very good after a short and fast race and knew that my legs would respond well the next day in the 137 mile road race that opened the 2004 edition of the Tour of CT.
My team started the day with the clear plan of working for myself and Todd Herriott. Our team covered the first move of the day by putting two riders in it. Fiore de Fruitte missed the move so took the initiative to chase it back. After several miles at a blistering pace they managed to bring the race all back together. When the race was all back together my teammate Todd made a nice solo attack and was soon joined by Dominique Perras, the Canadian National Road Champion. Those two managed to increase their lead to about 2 ½ minutes. At some point Mike Jones made an impressive solo bridge across to the break. Meanwhile back in the front chase group it was Navigators using there power to close down the gap before the races conclusion. And with ten laps around a two mile flat city center circuit the break was having trouble maintaining its gap over the hard chasing Navigators team. With about 14 miles to go in the race the break had been caught. The race became very animated by countless attacks. My teammates did a great job covering these attacks until about 8 miles to go when I escaped with two others. Only one of them would work in this break. I was committed to making this break survive and managed to get alone with 5 miles remaining. At the end of the stage it had all worked out. I managed to win, Shawn Milne finished second (thanks to a great chase by his team early in the race), and Mark Walters was third.
The Tour of CT had four more stages remaining (Lime Rock Circuit Race, New Haven Criterium, Waterbury Circuit Race, and the Housatonic Valley Classic). It was a great tour with many winners throughout the week. Colavita managed two stage wins, several podium finishes and the overall title that I managed to keep from start to finish. Health Net, Navigators, and Webcor also won a stage each. The Tour was a great build up for the bigger races coming in early June known as the Wachovia Series culminating with the USPRO Championships.
I am feeling very good about my training, racing, and current level of fitness. I have seen my teammates grow together as a group this past week as well. Together we are all looking forward to doing our best to try to defend my national title.
Until then I wish you all the best in your riding and racing.
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