Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Uh.... I've got milk on my face???

In an effort to NOT procrastinate... I'm going to keep this short. Plus, my result was not stellar, though the team did well again.

I did the 2/3 milk race on Sunday. I showed up late, enough time to register, relieve myself, and barely get to the lined dressed. The team was great and pinned my number on while I straightened out my clothing so I could race the 50 miles in at least some comfort.

I took the first lap to warm up while Dave, Pete and Brent did all the work for the team. We had 8, and only the three of them did anything like race their bikes. One of Dave's attacks was nullified as much by the official chastising for the yellow line rule as any concerted effort of the pel. And being rather toasted from working like crazy, Dave drifts back and asked me if I could, you know, maybe help out a little. Oh yeah, this is where I'm supposed to be in a RACE that I PAID to do.

After an initial whine "I'm trying", I actually do try and go to the front for some more work.... and find I can actually participate. For the next three laps, I raced my bike. I followed some moves. Patrol when Aussie Rob (who Dave also asked to help) went off the front. Basically, work with the team. It was good to be there and help as I could.

I followed one split with a few danger folks in it, though only 5 of us, out of 15, were working, so the Carbon guys called it off. I thought we were caught there were so many sitting on... Dave ended up bridging to that move right about when we called it. At this point I decided it would be OK to drift back for some recovery.

At some point, a group got up the road. I'm not sure if we had anyone up there yet, but I decided to try to bridge. A Cat guy followed me but wouldn't pull through.... so after burying my self for a while and not getting there, I sat up. Then the Cat attacked me. Of course. So I jumped on that and he also didn't make it across. I was pretty sure that I would be fine for the remainder of the race, as long as I controlled my efforts. Another short recovery session.

A bunch of guys got across to the front group, and it included Aussie. I followed another move, which ended up having Dave, Justin and myself in it. Somehow I ended up on the front, and with Dave's encouragement, I went to work HARD. I knew then I would not make it to the end of the race, but I figured I'd throw everything into this effort. What would I consider success.... making it to the end with the field, or contributing everything I had for the team and possibly throwing myself away?

I decided I would throw myself away. Every time I came off the front I would recover for a short bit, then go back up there and pull as hard as I could. Until we were caught, with a bit over one lap to go. Dave and I discussed that Aussie was still up the road, and if we were chasing him or not. There was a rather large group up there... between 10 and 20 maybe? Was it in our interest to put all our hope in Aussie?

Looking ahead, we were coming into the base of the only appreciable hill. I got concerned.... If I could get over that with the group, I'd be alright. Unfortunately, the work had taken it's toll, and I was 50+ meters off at the top. I chased but the gap was going the wrong way. I chased hard for the remainder of the fourth lap, until it was obvious. I did contemplate a 10+ mile cool down lap, but figured that would be a good way to get lost. So I took a DNF. I have not DNF a race ever before this year, and now I have 2. At least in this one I raced my bike hard, and the team had success, as Aussie Rob once again raced smart, and sprinted for third place. Congrats to Aussie!

This is really just training for me know anyway. It was a 2 hour effort. I figure it as a warm up, an hour+ of hard work with some recovery and a cool down. About as long as a cyclocross race, and cyclocross starts in 3 weeks. So my season is really just about to start.

Enough procrastinating.... back to work.

Monday, August 09, 2010


OK, so I'd love to actually win a bike race. But you know the statistics and all, 60+ riders line up, and only one can win. Still, we show up to test ourselves, right? And besides, bike racing is a TEAM sport. Though it is sometimes lost in the cat 3, 4 and 5 fields.

So Tom Humphrey and I lined up for the Zoar 3/4 race on Sunday with Aussie Rob from the multisport team. We decided to work for Rob, which really does take pressure off guys like me. I just have to work my butt off, and leave the result for Aussie. If it came down to a sprint, we had to take the race at about 1K out, to make everyone work... and make the finish safer. Since everyone can't win, someone has to move. We would do that.

We rolled up to the back of the field, and I decided to cheat up closer to the front, since I didn't want to get stuck behind the whole field and wait for the climbs... like happened at the Tour of the Valley road race. Thereby, I elected myself to patrol the front at the beginning at least.

So, in my best cycling news style.

The first move of the day happened on the first climb of the first lap, when a group of about 10 got up a reasonable gap. Being on the wrong side of the gap, I first attempted a bridge, which failed. Then Tom and I went into chase mode with some help. At the turn before the second climb, the gap was down to 10 seconds or so, and we decided to conserve for the climbing, sure someone would finish the chase up. And they did, so it was all together at the end of the first lap.

First climb of the second lap, a Freddie Fu and SnakeBite rider got another gap. Dangerous enough, I chased with other help until into the second climb, when Freddie Fu came back.

The field was content to leave the SnakeBite rider out there for the entire third lap. There were a few folks that were interested in chasing, but no one was committed. I certainly didn't want to do it alone, and only became concerned when he was out of sight. On the final lap, Tom decided it was time to bring him back. So we went into chase mode, and ended his day before the final climb.

Heading into the final climb, Tom somehow rolled off the front. He decided to pursue this as long as he could, hoping to be there when Aussie needed him for the finish.

In the mean time, Aussie had decided the time to go... and at the base of the final climb, surprised all by attacking hard. It took the other contenders completely by surprise. Aussie had 200meters in short order. When the chase did start, some wheels where crossed, taking maybe 5 or more riders down. I ended up getting through the carnage, barely, and it took a few moments to shake off the effect of a close call.

Aussie had about 20-25 seconds over the top, with the main group of about 20 cresting slightly in front of me. My intent was to chase back onto the group, and be there for the finish, in case Aussie got caught.... or to be able to wind up something of my own if he made it to the finish. Instead, I ended up with the dubious honor of first guy over the last hill that did not catch back onto the group.

Aussie held a beautiful move to the finish for the win, I rolled in around 25th (estimated).

So, although I did not finish with an actual result, I am totally happy with my result in this race. I was patrolling the front, and making sure if Aussie was concerned about chasing anything, he knew I would help. In the end, knowing Aussie was on his way to the finish may have been why I didn't actually chase back onto the field. A completely doable thing on this course. I could see them, I just didn't put in the effort to actually finish the chase. In hind site, I'm not sure if I could have, because I was content to finish where I did.

And it was a blast! The three of us had a plan, and each of us worked to that plan. Plus Aussie was aware enough, to see the perfect place to attack, and have the legs to execute it to perfection. My jaw practically dropped when he went. It was an attack of beauty.

The next best thing to getting a result for yourself, is working toward a team result.