Tuesday, June 05, 2012

RATL Recap

Spring has sprung, and the annual RATL series has now come and gone. The Team Spin Masters races represented well throughout the series. Here are race summaries for each week of the series:

Week 1: Cold and wet. I hate 40* and rain for training, probably the only weather I don't like, however that was what we had for this race. We had Tom Humphrey, Derek Wilford, Tom Keller, Jeff Kompa and John Ehrlinger in the field of 23 masters, only 4 of these in the 35-44 age bracket. With some numbers, I figured I could be a little agressive, so I covered moves, and accelerated up the climb a few times to hurt some legs. Tom Humphrey soon joined in (even though he questioned being able to finish) and we marked the front. Tom lead it out for the first prime, and though I tried hard, I could not get over the wheel to win it. A few more attempts, and with the race half way done, Jim Gilmore from Lake Effect rolled off the front. Tom jumped across, and it looks good for our team. The rest of us marked moves, though mostly Lake Effect set a comfortable tempo for everyone. The wet and cold had an effect. With 8 to go, the gap looked comfortable. With 5 to go, it was questionable if they would go the distance, however, it opened back up, and with two to go it was clear the race was for third place. Heading up the climb the last time, Derek lined out the field to (slightly) control the sketchiness. Tom Humphrey took the WIN!!! Keller ended up fourth in the 45+ with Jeff in 7th and Derek and I rolled in near the back of the field.

Week 2: Cold again, but at least it was dry. Derek Wilford, Tom Keller, Jeff Kompa and John Ehrlinger again. 25 in the field, with 9 youngsters this week. I again played the agressive role. Lake Effect was also agressive, and we tried a few moves. It was quickly apparent to me, that I had left my legs at home. The team worked well with Tom, Jeff and Derek covering for me. I tried in the first prime again, and this time Carbon's Tom Frueh left me way off his wheel. I pulled the field over the top, when Derek went clear with Rudy from Lake Effect. Jeff went with Chris Riccardi to bridge across, they made it, though the effort cost Jeff. He came back to the field after a lap or two. Into protect mode, we covered most of the moves until late in the race. A group of three got away without us, then another group of three again without us. I attempted a bridge, was brought back, then Tom got across. The third group was swallowed again before the finish. We ended up with Derek taking third, Jeff in 7th and Tom in 10th.

Week 3: Finally some better weather. Derek, Tom, Jeff, John and Pete Scacheri joined the field of 38, 12 of these in the 35-45 field. The goal was again to be agressive, since we had numbers. Pete and I patrolled the front, but nothing was getting far this week. Derek, Pete and I all tried to get away with varying levels of success. With 6 to go, I got off the front with Lake Effects Glimore hoping for a repeat of week one. I tried to roll that away from the field, but Jim was completely cooked and really couldn't help much. We stayed away for almost a lap, when a small group caught us including Derek and some big guns from the field. I thought that may be the race, but they sat up and we were reabsorbed. I attacked again with two to go, got a gap for a half lap before things came back together again for the final sprint. In the end Tom took 4th, Jeff was 5th, Derek 6th, and I was 10th with Pete taking 10th in the 35+ field.

Week 4: Slight change up in our master's field, Jeff and I were joined by John Bodell and Matt Bockbrader, who had just completed the Cat 4 race. 23 in the 45+ and 15 in the 35+. With a different make up, I figured I would play it a bit more conservatively, though we planned to get onto anything dangerous looking. Lake Effect had some numbers, and Stark brought out a pretty large 35+ representation. So as long as they were both in, we had to cover. Lap 2 Lake Effect sent someone, and he held out for a couple of laps. Then Stark sent one for a lap. We patrolled. Matt was a stud, covering moves, though nothing with numbers got very far. Finally with 8 to go, I figured it was time to start the end game. I attacked hard up the hill, hoping to bring some teams out, instead I was alone. Stark brought it back before we got to the parking lot. Next time up the hill, Frueh and Rudy attacked up the hill, and took a Stark with them. Jeff was ready, and jumped across. And that was the race. Jeff worked the break, and ended up taking third. I patrolled the front, and stuck in there for 7th, with John coming in with the field. I don't know where Matt finished yet, though his work was a huge help.

Overall, we had a very successful Masters campaign, with most of 45+  finishes in the top 10, a podium nearly every week and one win (Congrats Mr. President!). I'm looking forward to more agressive Masters racing over the remainder of the year.