amy alison dombroski

2013 Blogs

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Dead Dog Classic Stage Race

Laramie, Wyoming.

It was one of my first stage races, back when my brother and I were a traveling duo and for every one of his actions, I was his shadow. His nickname was Spoons and mine became lil Spoons. People thought we were either twins or we were married. We crammed our bikes and gear into our little '82 Mercedes diesel sedan and sweated our way to Laramie because the a/c was kaput. At least the stereo and speakers were good as that was the first thing my brother remedied when we bought the car.

Since then I have floated about the cycling world and local racing happened less and less because it became more focused on certain "big"races and the other time was time to train, time to stay at home. While my focus still remains on cyclocross in Europe, I am somewhat free in the summer to do as I please. Although it is a gutter to not be a part of a team in the summer and not have the much-needed support, it is a breath of fresh air to return to the races that were pivotal to transforming me from a chunky ski racer with wobbly knees into a trimmed down push-biker, still with that ghetto booty but with much happier knees.

The Dead Dog Classic was indeed one of the races that hooked me into cycling and I was excited to return for it's 25th year anniversary. The course boasts 3 races in 2 days in lovely Laramie, Wyoming. It is certainly high altitude racing and if you can breathe during the road race, the views are quite stunning.Saturday is the road race and while it is only 56 miles for the women, it is still a day out because the wind normally becomes your worst enemy. It starts up a big hill in Albany, Wyoming at 8,400' and descends to an undulating highway which  is basically a wind tunnel and then hits Snowy Range Pass road where we climb and climb up to close to 11,000'. There, you turn around and ride it all again in reverse. Everything went ok until about 11 miles to go. That was when we began the climb back up to Albany and the wind was like a wall. For most of that gradual climb I was in my little ring, sometimes going as slow as 7mph, just trying to keep hold and not get blown to Kansas. It was heinous and I hated it. Overwhelmingly disgruntled, my head fell off and I crawled my way to the finish. I think I finished 9th and there were actually people who finished behind me, equally blown and bothered.

Fortunately the race promoter, Mike Harokopis and his lovely wife Cathy offered to take me in for the weekend. So after that nasty road race I was lucky to return home to a gourmet meal. Literally. Cathy is an amazing chef and whipped up quail, goat & tri-tip steak alongside a myriad of vegetables out of her garden. That and some fanciful wines quickly put a smile back on my face and prepared me to do battle on Sunday

Sunday I woke to lead legs and spun them out a metric sh!t ton before I felt any good sensations. The crit was downtown Laramie and a wicked little circuit. I tried a few times to sneak off the front but was always reeled back in. It came down to a sprint finish and I got pipped at the line so settled for 2nd place. Not too shabby for my first crit in about a year I suppose. Then it was rally time for our time trial starts about 1.5 hours later. The time trial is quite possibly the highest flat time trial course in America starting at 8,888' and undulating for roughly 10 miles with that hellish stormy-eyed Wyoming wind.  Pro Peloton helped me throw together my old time trial bike from my roadie days on Webcor and I raced this for the first time since 2009...fit like a glove and I rode to 4th place. Unfortunately my road race performance was a major hindrance and I finished the stage race in 7th place.

Thank you Laramie and to everyone who makes the Dead Dog Classic Stage Race possible. Indeed a classic, I look forward to returning next year to battle the wind, the competition and myself.
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The hostest with the mostest. The Harokopis' took care of me and Cathy was an extraordinary chef!

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My lovely travel companions - Anne, SyRae and Kimmy. Post-race, drinking wine and eating quail.


Copyright © 2012 Amy Dombroski. All Rights Reserved.

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