Sunday, May 16, 2010

Race Report - Leonardtown

Nothing to say except this was a fast race. I threw my hat into the 3/4 race even though I knew that this was a very technical race. We lined up ready for the start and with the whistle it was a full out sprint. The first thing that went through my mind was wondering if this was cross race and we were going for the hole shot. The answer is YES. Why??? Well on turn one there was a 120 degree uphill turn. If you were a 3 and in front, you negotiated this pretty easily at high speed, if you were a 4 in the middle or back, hold onto your backside. Yes, lap one wreck one. I made it through unharmed but there was already a gap. So here was massive effort number one to get back on the back of the main field. This effort would be repeated every time until another wreck that broke the pack into threes. About 20 racers were in the front, ten of us in the chase and a group off the back.

After about 30 minutes, my chase group was gaining no ground no matter how hard we pushed. Finally, after being 1:15 off of the main field, the refs said that we were on our bell lap and the nine of use should sprint for glory. So we came around, out of the saddle for a “chase group” sprint finish so that we could graciously be pulled. So I got second in the nine man sprint, which gave me 23rd overall. For as fast and as technical, it was a good day for me. I just wish I could have stayed in the main group.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Race Report - Bunny Hop Crit

Okay, these entries are starting to sound the same. Felt like crap, got into the race, raced hard, rode smart, and did not finish. Well, same thing today. You can stop reading if you want......

So... you decided to stay. Today was the Bunny Hop Crit. My start time was 3 PM so Evan, Andy and I went out for a little recovery ride this morning before the race. All three of us got to the race around 1:30 or so and began questioning our sanity for racing today, especially after I raced yesterday. I did not feel great, possible a little dehydration from yesterday. I did have a good ride this morning, decent breakfast and lunch. I had packed my pre, during and post race drinks, trainer and bike. I was physically ready but not mentally.

We lined up for the race and from go, the race started single file. I was sitting in the mid pack when I saw the Cycle life crazy rider and the Velo 1 guy who caused the wreck from Saturday (or at least was in the wreck). This is the same guy that I saw dive all of the corners at Smithfield thus I had no desire to be near (or behind) him, so I immediately moved forward. Now don’t get me wrong, this guy is strong and is normally in the front and has much better finishes than I, But I just was not going to take a chance and be behind him. So I moved into a top five position. The pack stayed single file for the first 10 minutes about 7 laps. At some point it calmed down, but when it did the main field began to form six or seven across. I found going into the corners like this was just to dangerous. We came around and were told there was 27 or so laps to go, about 50 minutes. At this point, one of the Coppi riders (Andrew??) started moving to the front and taking the lead. For the next 15 laps, there was Andrew, myself and a few others that basically rotated and pulled the entire group. We occasionally got a few seconds on the main field but normally one through ten were single file and then the rest of the field.

There were a few break aways that got a couple of seconds, but Andrew and I would chase then down and bring everything back together. The only time that I was not sitting in the top ten was the premes and finish. With two laps to go I moved forward and really started going hard. I felt really good and not taxed at all. The course was setup to have a left hand turn and then a gentle 500 meter false flat to the finish line. With less than 700 meters to go I was still in the top 10 or so, but things were starting to get chaotic riders moving up to get in position. At this point in time it was where I failed. Instead of taking the inside line that I had taken for 35 laps, I gave up the position and moved to the outside, we came around the corner and started on the straight away, my top ten faded quickly an I powered to a pathetic 27th. WTF???? I worked all of the time and settled for 27th. Why????? If anyone has any insight I would love to hear it. I was NOT smoked at the end, I had not burned all of my matches, I just did not finish. I should be winning these races or at least in the money. Oh Velo 1. Yeap... in the money. Great :-(

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Race Report - Michael Murad Road Race

Today was the 2010 Michael Murad Road Race. The race is near Poolesville Maryland. The course was an eight mile loop and for the Men’s 4, this meant 6 laps. I figured we would average between 24 and 25 miles per hour thus a two hour race. Being that I still am not supposed to be peaking, I had determined that I would work in the back of the pack, getting use to the peloton and get rid of the jitters that I have from several wrecks so far this year.

After eight hours of traveling from being in San Diego and a little bit of dehydration and jet lag, I took the preemptive strike and brought two sets of bids, “Just in case”. Evan, my teammate, said he could pony up some Imodium AD, but since I am not use to taking stuff like that a begrudgingly declined. The weather was beautiful and started to heat up a little, I had my game face on, but with reservation, upset stomach, a bike that I just put a new group-set on that had exactly zero miles on it, and my longest ride since spring camp had been Jefferson Cup a few weeks prior and to top it all off, I had been on the bike four times in the last three weeks (travel and death in the family) had kept me off of the road.

The race started fairly calm, the course was pretty uneventful, with the exception of some of the standard characters, the Coppi rider who loves the gutter and spends a majority of the time riding in gravel and dirt, hmmm, wonder why you flatted at Jeff Cup?? The Cyclelife rider that I have personally witnessed caused two wrecks at Vint Hill and finally, the Velo 1 rider who ALWAYS bombs the corners, drinks straight up right looking to the stars and generally is up front but all over the place. Oh yeah, and the NCVC guy who gets relegated to the back of the group EVERY race for crossing the centerline. I am not saying that I am the pro rider in the group, but I at least try not to be a danger to others and myself.

The first five laps was standard, we just pedaled around and kept a pretty good pace. I had decided that I would move up during the last 5km to have a decent chance at being at the front during the last 1km. The way the course was laid out, we would make a right hand turn and the have 1km left. So I figured at about 5km out I would start to move up through the pack. I had early on considered this a training event and was sitting toward the back. With the descents and ascents I would just coast down hill and let my weight take away any gap that would have occurred It worked well for each lap. On the last lap, Velo 1, must have either ran into the back of another rider or just lost control, I saw his bike just start wobbling and then he went down hard, taking out three or four to my right, I was able to get around on the left without much effort.

As I began moving up through the pack, the speed began to greatly decrease. Two teams had gone to the front and began blocking. I heard someone scream out that this was a race not blocking practice. What it looked like, was that the two teams were allowing their teammates to move through the group so that they could have a heavy representation at the front. Coppi and NCVC did not seem to be able to organize to move forward so I did. I got up to the front and they were really blocking. I basically moved to the right and got around them and took off up the road. It took a few minutes and I was joined by two or three Coppi riders as we began to move forward the moto-ref drifted back and sent the Coppi riders to the rear, apparently they had reacted to my break and had crossed the center-line to get around the four. After that I keep the pace the best I could for a kilometer or so. Basically, I caused chaos behind me.

We hit the turn for the 1km mark and I was sitting in the top twenty or so. There was a lot of left and right movements, two riders slammed into each other but both did a great job of staying up right, I kept pretty good power going and was not in contention for the top 10 so instead of “sprinting” for the finish I just keep pumping hard and came in 20th.

I was happy with the result until this morning and I realized that once again, I worked hard, rode smart but still did not finish. There was no reason not to have been in the top 10.