by Nick Newcomb Location: Madison, Wisconsin Teammates: Marcus Smith, James Laberge and Travis Lyons Place: 22 out of 150

I went into this race with no expectations as some of the top teams in the country showed up including Bontrager (fresh off the Tour of California), Hincapie, Hagens Berman, Cal Giant, and BMC. The course was a really awesome, mostly flat circuit, with a steep one mile climb and fast twisting decent. We had to do 6 laps totalling around 80 miles and approximately 7000 ft of climbing.

The race started with Cal Giant sending guys off in a break away which forced Bontrager and Hincapie to stay on the front and chase. This kept the pace nice and steady. Through the first half of the race James, Travis, Marcus and I all stayed in good position. Every time we hit the climb, the whole field went ballistic. Marcus and I helped each other to stay in the top 30 and were inspired by Eric yelling like crazy on the sideline.

Eventually the break was brought back and Bontrager promptly sent another break up the road. Now the race was really blowing up and we all battled for position going into the last climb. I positioned myself in the top 20 and soon found Marcus. Now there was only one thing we could do;  put on our pain faces (as seen in the photo), After going cross eyed up most of the climb, I crossed the line 22nd and was stoked to see Marcus right behind me in 23rd. Great success!