Tuesday, April 29, 2008

RATL #2 2008

Week two of the series. The threat of rain reduced the field sizes a bit. SBR still had larges numbers, and improved on last weeks performances. Since I write late, I'm sure everyone has seen those reports.

I lined up with 12 other Master's racers for the 45+ race, half the size of last week. The field had 5 MVC. Rudy and Derrick representing Lake Effect, and Ed Delgros had a friend in his colors. The rest of us were on our own, though I think Braumberger counts for at least 4 by himself.

At the gun Delgros sets the pace for the first three laps (I'm not kidding). Then Jeff gives a few pushes up the hill to soften things up a bit. Being I missed the break last week, I was being very attentive to moves. The goal this week was to be at the front of the race... whatever that looked like. So, I was anticipating the next attack to be the one that would split the field.

The next two times up the hill, I was ready for it, but it didn't come. Then the bell for the first prime was rung. I half contemplated getting into the mix for the $5 prime, but then decided that Jeff would probably push right over the top after the prime... and sure enough. Delgros and and MVC fought it out, with Delgros on top, then Jeff went, and Rudy and I were right on that move. MVC and Delgros looked a bit surprised by it, but recovered as 8 of the 12 remaining guys took off.

I tried to be active, without working. The split still had Braumberger, 3 MVC and 2 Lake Effects, Delgros and I. We didn't really work this as a break, instead Delgros recovered and went back to the front. Braumberger started to just camp out at the back... my guess was to conserve for his second race.

I was feeling pretty comfortable, and still was waiting for another split. Rudy tried an attack through the parking lot, that I was all over. I pulled through, but we had no space... Larry from MVC took off alone, and was brought back. Jeff collected the next prime with no split. And the laps continued by.

Five to go, I'm feeling good. I certainly can beat at least two of these guys, if not more, as long as I stay with the group. With four to go, Sal from MVC takes off alone and gains a few hundred meters on the group. So we go to work again. Getting close to the end of the race, I knew we wouldn't let him get away, so I figured I'd help the chase... and did my share, pulling through the end of the parking lot to the sweeping curve before the hill. Delgros pulled through as I got onto the back of the group.

As we hit the hill, Jeff decided we were close enough so he goes and finished the catch... unfortunately for me, I'm 10m off the back at the top. It;s probably the most frustrating thing in the world to be 10m off the back of the group, being driven by the strongest guy on the field, and he's looking back over his shoulder to see what damage is being done.

I wasn't the only one off the back, Larry had come out before I did and was about 20-30m behind me. I kept the gap constant on the hill and into the parking lot... but could not close it. The headwind in the lot opened it up a bit, and I was about 20m back as we hit the hill with 2 to go... and Larry caught me back by the top.

The 6 money spots were all ahead of us, So we started to work together.... and still the gap stayed at about 20-30m... With one to go, it opened again as Derrick put in a beautiful attack on the other 5. Totally setting up Rudy, very nice and I've got a front row seat to see the action.

As Larry and I climb the hill, he suggests the group will slow to play the sprint games... Not with Derrick off the front though. Jeff jumps the gap to Derrick in the parking lot and goes by like Derrick is standing still. The group reforms, we're still 50m back... and Larry is opening a gap on me.

I see the sprint for money start knowing Larry and I are out of it... Larry's gap opens considerably, before I decide I will sprint for seventh... the hill helps out, though Larry is working, I'm able to close that gap, and get at least a half bike by the line.

Rudy got the group for second, MVC came in third and fifth, with Delgros coming in between. Derrick got a nice sixth place for his efforts.

I'm still pleased with this result. Room for improvement, maybe I could have stayed on if I hadn't pulled when Sal was off the front. Still, my honor is intact since I'd rather work and get dropped that sit in and sprint for a place that others did the work for. A nice effort for the day. I'll be back next week for more fun.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

RATL Video.

Special thanks to the Factory Rider for shooting the field sprint of the race on Saturday.

Master's field sprint
I won't embed to give props to the guy that shot the vid.

I'm the orange blur that crossed the line in second place. I've never seen video of my sprint... and it's interesting to see how different the sprint was from what I remembered.

He's also got the 1.2.3 finish, and the cat 5. Check his blog for the junior perspective.
Thanks Feel it!

Monday, April 21, 2008

RATL 1 2008

Racing season has begun!

Lots of team showing up for the first RATL of the season. With no other racing around, there were big fields for just about everything. I mean 57 in a 1/2/3 field! In Northeast Ohio! Who would have thought?

I really had no idea how I'd go. I've got the hours, but not the intensity, and I haven't had any measurement of where I'm at. So Jump in with both feet and see where I am.

Well, almost. My RATL choices were to do the Master's 45+, cause I can, or do the 1/2/3 race. Let's see... no idea where I am, and I'm going to jump into the super fast? Or just do the fast master's race. I figure either way, it would be fast... and I could last longer in the masters field.

I was pleased that my teammate Tim was joining in the fun too. So we had two in our field. The plan was to stay in the field, and sprint at the end. Simple, but not easy. Talking with others, we had 4 cat 1s, Tim's thought was we let them go, then we have our own race.

There were about 25-30 on the line... 3 Lake Effects, 6 or so MVC, maybe 4 Summit and a bunch of singles and pairs from other teams. And we're off on 19 laps of fun. Pretty simple race. We have a reasonable, though quick tempo for the first 2 or 3 laps. Then Derrick from Lake Effect goes off the front for 3 laps... and the field lets him sit out there. He does get a pretty nice gap.

Then the 1s start to jump. First I hear Braumberger say to another guy "on the hill". So I'm ready, but he doesn't get a space. Then next lap Batke jumps, and we're on him too. The attacks and work from MVC brings Derrick back, and in short order Batke jumps again, taking Rudy and Delgros with him. The field pretty much lets them get a gap... next time up the hill Braumberger jumps away. The race is made at the half way point, the field sits up.

A few guys ask if I think we'll let this go... but by now I'm alone in the field. There are a still a bunch of MVC guys, but they aren't organizing.... one will pull at tempo, and the others sit in. Lake Effect and Summit won't work, and there are only singles and doubles left. It seems MVC is content to race for 5th. I figure I'd help work, but I certainly can't to do it alone. Though when asked, Marut said they would not block but they certainly wouldn't work... Bill and Derrick were still patrolling the front pretty tightly. We're down to about 15.

After about 3 laps of this, I'm getting pretty frustrated with the "tactics" of the Master's race. Not Lake Effect or Summit, they did their job well. Just the lackadaisical pace, everyone still thinks they can get a good placing or something, so they won't work maybe? So I start to put in attacks on the hill, and pull on the decent into the parking lot. At least get some work in. Attack, recover. I think I pulled a small gap on one attack, but nothing significant... I was really only hoping to shed another guy or two by making it a little harder.

With four to go, Sal from MVC pulls through the parking lot with Bill and I on the wheel. Sal just rides us off his wheel pulling into the head wind. I figure there goes fifth place as he holds a couple hundred meters for the next lap...

We closed that down slowly, and he comes back as we go through with three to go, But they adjusted the lap counter by one. 2 laps to go! Whoops... quick readjust of tactics. With one to go, MVC has 4 on the front, with Derrick in the middle, and I'm right on the tail of the train. Should I get into the middle, or sit on and try to get the launch? I try a little of both.

Coming into the hill, MVC kind of slows up a bit, and Derrick jumps. I hop his wheel, as he pulls up along the MVC train. When Derrick starts to fade, I jump on an MVC wheel, and let that pull me a bit, then try to come around, but don't quite get there... 2nd in the field for 6th overall. Last paying spot too, so I earned back the gas money.

I'm very happy with that. I don't know if I totally opened my sprint up, but considering I had no idea what I had today, I'm not complaining. Had the front four not gone away, or if Batke and Braumberger not raced, it may have been totally different for me. I was not in real trouble at any time, but the lull in pace certainly helped me get the place.

Turns out Tim was pushed off the pavement a bit at about lap 7. Not terrible but just enough to disconnect him from the field. Once disconnected, it was off to time trial school for him.

We'll see what the remainder of the series brings.

Results are up SummitFreewheelers

as are a ton of photos from President Rick on his flickr account RATL 1 Photos

Back to work now, see you all next week.