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Dan Schmatz - Home in St. Louis

Over Labor Day weekend, Dan Schmatz returned home to St. Louis and competed in the four-race Gateway Cup. Here's his recap of the trip.

Dan Schmatz at the USPRO Crit
I arrive at Mom's and Dad's and relaxed for a little while, then went out to train. I met up with a small group that then became a bigger group then we were caught by another group ride. They were hitting it pretty hard and after the 900 mile drive I was feeling it a bit.

Lots of running around. Needed to see some friends and get fitted for the tuxedo that I needed Saturday at TK's wedding. I managed to get in a few hours of training and a great nights sleep.

More running. I visited with my friends at THF Realty then went for a training ride with my good friend Michael. Since I was racing the next night I was trying to keep the pressure off the pedals but Michael is getting read for the Rumble To The River so he was feeding it to me pretty hard and dropping me every climb.

Since the race wasn't till 9pm I had to get out of the house or I would go crazy. I hadn't been in the Gateway Arch in a really long time to I went downtown to have a look. For the most part it was as I remembered but there seemed to be more activity in the city. I had a nice lunch at a corner caf³ and enjoyed watching he diversity that is lacking on the Front Range in Colorado.

The race is held in a historic area called Lafayette Square. It's a great venue that is undergoing rehabilitation in both retail and commercial districts and is a perfect venue for an opening night's race. It is 4-corner course held on smooth and wide roads with only slight elevation changes so the average speed stays high and in recent years has come to a field sprint. Although there were lots of attacks and small breaks nothing ever stuck and I was happy to end the race like last year - with me winning the sprint to the finish.

Wedding day. Ouch, being in a wedding is hard work. Lots of standing and smiling. I had a great time both at the wedding and the reception that followed. I got home at 11pm and felt like I had just finished a stage race instead of having a day off.

Giro Giro Giroƒ. Today was the Giro Della Montagna that is held on a 4-corner course that looks like a rectangle with one side raised 50 feet higher than the other. The race was aggressive with lots of strong moves going off the front. I did my best to go with them or bridge across but missed the one that stuck with about 8 laps to go. A few other teams missed it so I was patient and hoping they could get it close enough to jump across. At just over 3 to go I hit out and a lap later was on the back of the break. 2 laps to go and I am pretty crossed eyed. Cover a move on the last lap and get in position for the kick. As we came out of the last corner into the downhill sprint I backed off the wheel of the rider I was on, then punched it to take the win.

I really like the race today. Back when I was working for Big Shark Bicycles, I lived in two different places on the backstretch of the course, so every lap is a ride down memory lane. Today was aggressive again with riders fighting for the day as well as the omnium classification. About halfway through I found myself in a group of 7 containing the second place rider on CGC but not the leader. We all took our pulls and established a good gap. With about 6 laps to go the attacks started and I did my best to cover anything I could to get away from the guy that was 2nd on GC. I was 10 points down on him and if I could get a few guys between him and me I could take the overall. It didn't work out as he finished right behind me in 3rd we both moved up a spot on the overall podium.

Everyday I had friends and family cheering at the races which means so much to me and even though I came up a little short for the overall victory it was good weekend of racing as well as great trip to my hometown.

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