September 19, 2004
Pretty much the last road race of the season (that's why there's a 'cross season). Geoff and I drove to Cuyahoga Falls to meet Dan and Ryan. Ryan and I had to exercise some demons from last year where we both popped off the back after the first climb and worked together to finish the distance, no where near the front group again.
Cool and clear was the order of the day. I even contemplated wearing the arm and knee warmers. I dumped them at the last minutes, and had no regrets after we started moving.
The course is rolling with a long descent into the Cuyahoga River Valley on Wetmore road, and the only significant climb right as we turn onto Quick road. The B race was doing 5 laps for about 41 miles. There were a couple of course issues with steel plates completely across the road on Haas, followed shortly by a pair of cones warning of some pavement cutting right in the middle of the road..
There were a lot of singles out. We had 4 Chaos, 3 StarkVelo and 2 SnakeBite, 2 Pyro, 2 or 3 PDQ. Obviously, there were 3 or 4 Summit guys, then 1 Savage, 1 Color Me Safe and a smattering of others. Total field of 32 including the 3 or so women. It's a Cat 4/5/Cit/Women/Junior field, so the range was pretty big.
The plan for the day was to make sure we covered any breaks and see how it goes. Dan was thinking of trying to get as many to the front at the finish and see if we could lead something out. Geoff thought we need to make sure the pace didn't drop after the climb. That way it would be a little harder for big sprinters to catch back on after the climb. Of course, I somehow missed who Dan was planning on watching.
Off we go for the first lap, pretty much a recon of the course. Nothing significant until we hit the bottom of Quick rd and headed into the hill. We had a pretty even pace over the top, and then the pace dropped. We had an average of about 22 at the bottom, and were doing about 15 once over the steep part. I did one easy pull and had a hard time getting off the front. Then Dan and Ryan moved up, and we setup the three of us on the front. Dan slowly picked the pace up, and then pulled off. As he came by Ryan and I, he told us to go. I encourage Ryan as he pushed it a bit harder and I got to follow Ryan's wheel. Dan blocked and we opened up a reasonable gap. I told Ryan we weren't going to kill ourselves, just make everyone work to bring us back. It lasted about 1-2 minutes tops, before it was shut down. It did make people think that Chaos was serious today though.
On Steels Corners, I saw what must have been the first casualty of the day. John Reade (Honey-Stinger) was walking his bike back to the school... broken chain within the first half lap (or less). Suddenly, I remembered I was still carrying my seat pack. Great... with some coaching from Dan I decided to drop it on Haas road. I dropped back into the field, removing it, and dropped it onto the side of the road. Geoff was there for more coaching. Fortunately, there was no yellow line here, so I was able to move back up near the front pretty quickly.
Second time up the hill, and the pace remains pretty steady. This time at the top a Summit guy gets to the front and sets a really quick pace. We're humming along at 18-20, which is exactly what Geoff was wanting. quick enough to make it hard for guys to come back after the hill, but comfortable to sit in... and it wasn't one of our guys throwing himself away.
As the Summit guy comes off the front close to the last rises before the start finish, Dave and Mark from Square Wheels are on the front with Ryan. There's the stronger StarkVelo guy, then me. As we hit the rises Ryan again pushes it, and the Stark guy lets a gap open. I'm not going to close it, so I let the guy work himself a bit.
I know all three guys in the break, and one of them is my teammate. Very nice position to be in. They've got about 100M as we roll through the finish, and they keep opening it up. I've got the Stark guy stuck on the front, and am only enjoying what is happening. Eventually, his two teammates move up and start to work together to bring them back... with Dan and I getting in the way a little. They stayed away for the better part of a lap. It's all together as we turn toward Quick.
In the Valley, Chris Staneluis (Color Me Safe) took off and gapped the field convincingly on the climb. A very nice effort, he managed to stay away until we were about a mile from the finish. All together with two go.
Chaos working near the front at the top of the climb
The field must have sensed it would be a pack finish, because not much happened of note on the 4th lap.
Final lap... what's going to happen now? I'm watching a lone Savage Hill rider, and the StarkVelo guy (Rick?). At the rise on Haas, the Savage rider has a go and takes Brett from SnakeBite with him.... and I couldn't hold their pace and let the gap open. I'm not worried about Brett because of the hill coming up, but I don't know the Savage rider. Last lap panic, and I start to chase... on a descent. I'm not alone, but there is very little cohesion in the efforts. The best I had was when Staneluis came around me, and I was able to jump on his wheel. When he eased up I tried to come around and tow him for a bit, but I looked back and we were almost all together again. Quite a bit of effort on my part... and again it was all together at the bottom of the Valley.
I put myself at the front on the last time up the hill... I did not want to loose another move. I still needed to recover more, so I wasn't going to chase. But I also didn't want to loose the front group.
Just as we crested the hill, Staneluis took another flyer... and looked good to hold on to the end. He opened up a gap quickly, and seemed to be able to hold us off for a while. I stayed near the front and tried to follow whoever was going to pull the group... and ended up doing a little more work than I wanted... again. I think we caught him about the same place as last time.
It all came together again about a mile before the finish. So we had the normal jostling for position. Stuff 20-25 guys into one lane when everyone wants to be near the front.... and there will be some bumping. Cresting the last rise, Dan and 2 of the 3 Stark Velo's crossed the yellow to get into position (naughty, naughty...) at my expense... but then I had Dan's wheel, so I wasn't complaining too much.
200 meters was supposed to be right at the crest of the hill before the finish. We were supposed to be allowed to use the whole road at that point. But no one went, so Dan did the work from the front... I tried to hold on to his wheel, but it was too much. Dan opened a nice gap and held off the field for the V! I picked up a few more as I got into my sprint and rolled over in 4th (by inches... another 5 ft, and I'd have been 3rd). Ryan came across in 12th. Geoff came through in the field.
Overall, a great race. Nice representation by the team. It's very cool to have your team controlling the front of the peleton throughout the whole race. Not working, but there. Ready to respond to whatever happens or presents itself. Nice work by all.
|1||Dan Guggenheim||Cleveland Chaos|
|3||Ted Ingraham||Summit Freewheelers|
|4||John Ehrlinger||Cleveland Chaos|