Here is what Jake said about the race, and his epic third place:
When the America’s Tour of Dairyland announced they would add Blue Mounds to the lineup, even making it their “Queen Race”, I knew I had to do it. Ive done most of the route, and I knew how fun and challenging it would be.
The morning of, Uwe and I rode to the start. It was only 6 miles from where we stayed the night before, but it included one mile of the three mile finish climb – the steepest part at that. It was not quite as bad as I remembered. At the registration it had a very proffessional Super week feel to it. I slammed a Red bull and did a few flat loops to stay warmed up.
About 35 of us qued up for the start of the mixed 4/5 field. The race rolled out nuetral down the big hill, into the town of blue mounds and even over some gravel road work. Out of town the race was on. I stayed at the front from the begginning keeping a high pace on the first rollers, hoping to thin the field.
With the first big(ish) climb at around mile 7, I drilled it to the front. Luckily 7 other people followed. At the top I continued hammering and even found myself solo. I waved the other 7 guys up and they joined. We had at least a 100m gap after that climb. I encouraged us to work together and taked turns pulling. It sort of worked, however I found about only half of us doing any work. The pace was very fast and the rest of the field wa sno longer even in view. As we were finishing the first loop with a 2 mile climb, I was on the lead. A UW madison guy takes the lead and puts down a decent gap. Following him, a Fuel guy from Portland bridges up. I cant exactly put out any more effort at that point and I assume I will catch the 15 meters or so on the downhill. As I crest the downhill I am picking up some distance between them. Turning out of Blue Mounds, I actually take a slight wrong turn, the corner marshals yell at me and I get back on course. This gives a chance for 3 more guys to bridge up to me. The four of us try to work together to catch the two off the front. At the first climb it is now just me and one other guy trying to catch the two off the front. The gap goes from about 15-20secs, never really able to catch, even though my breakway buddy and I are working together really well.
At the first big climb, where our original break formed, I drop the guy I had been chasing with. I put about 10 or 15 seconds on him. Now that I am solo, my chances of bridging to the 2 guys off the front diminishes, but chances of locking up third place rise. I stick it solo in no man’s land with about 15 miles to go. What describes the rest of the race is fear of being caught by the guy behind me and hope of catching the two guys in front of me. I say to myself, as long as I dont flat or cramp up, Ive got third locked up. Cramp. Violent cramp in my calf. I manage to shake it off by pedaling with the other leg for about 30 seconds. Coming into the three mile climb to the finish, I still have the two guys in my sight. I manage to make up some distance, but never quite catch. Third it is.
Skipping work and crossing state lines, I am glad I did not have to settle for anything less than a podium. – what an epic race.