Thursday, August 9, 2012

Catching up (Again): Spring Road Racing

West Michigan Stage Race

Saturday morning's TT was a cool out and back route just outside of Ada along the river. The road was a little busy and rough in spots but a fun rolling course. I was rocking teammates Trek TTX and all the TT goodies (I need all the help I can get!). I hit it hard at the start and settled into a good pace... I was using a power meter to pace and was hitting the number I was shooting for. The turnaround came quick and I was starting to feel good and stepped it up on the way back and then sprint into the finish. I was happy with my time for the 7.2mile course (16:52), but felt I had too much in the tank at the end. I was hoping for top 5 or better, but was still happy with 9th out of the 75 guys and less than 20s out of 3rd.

The Crit on Saturday was technical and I was a little nervous about guys being sketchy in the corners. I got there early and rode the loop for about 20min and felt good about the course. As we did our warm up laps, I worked a little to get to the front for the start. I ended up 3rd row. The start wasn't too bad and the pace was steady. Guys were being pretty smooth in the corners... at least at the front. The pace stayed fast for most of the race. When it slowed I rolled off the front and pushed... one guy came with me and we rotated a couple times. When he slowed, I went back to the front and pushed it again. I looked back and we weren't shaking anyone near the front, so I eased up and sat in. I ended up too far back and wasn't aggressive enough at getting back to front and ending up rolling in 12th. Everyone got the same time for the crit (outside of a prime and the top 3 getting time bonus... this was bs, as we dropped a big group and half the field was pulled.)

I was told the RR has some hills, so I was hoping to shake things up. The first longish (for Michigan) climb was about a mile from the start. I was sitting too far back and having a hard time moving up due to the guys in front being content to just go for a ride. Things thinned out when someone attacked off the front freeing up the left side... I made my move and went straight to the front and started to set the pace on the climb. Shortly after, a guy came around and I jump on his wheel. There were about 4 of us up front setting the pace. When the pace slowed on the down hills, I would jump to the front and crank up the pace. I was hoping for a big separation, but it really didn't happen. As I sat in for a while, I got blocked by the riders and it took a wreck up front for me to get back with the guys in front. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful. I was looking around and thinking that if this was a 2 lap race, it would be more to my advantage. As we approached the sprint I moved up... but ended up behind the slow train and by the time I got open road, it was too late. 14th on the road... but didn't lose any significant time.

Ended up moving up to 7th overall... it was a fun weekend and I plan on doing it again next year!

Waterford Worlds

There was a big group 40+ in the B race with the sky turning black. The rain rolled in right as the race started. Dominick joined me in the B race and made an early break while I sat in the field, but were pulled back. Shortly after Stefano from the Greyhounds was up the road along with 2 UofM John and Clay who are always strong. They looked like a good group, so I bridged up. Dominick rode my wheel and then eased up to give me a gap. Shortly after Paul from Team O2 bridged up and said let’s go... we had a solid group and a fairly smooth rotation and formed a big gap on the field. With 2 to go... everyone just rode out the last laps waiting for someone to make a move. I could tell John was more of a sprinter and I wanted to be on his wheel, but he ended up being on the outside of the last corner and I was on the inside. I couldn't see him till after he jumped first and I couldn't make up the gap and rolled in for second. Fun/hard race!

Frankenmuth RR

My team mate Jim and I met up and went for a warm up ride. He was excited about racing with his new wheels, which looked sweet on his bike (Which is the most important part right?!). During the warm-up he had a front flat and had to borrow my spare wheel. The start was pretty uneventful, other than the fact that when it is really wet. I quickly learned that carbon brake tracks and cork pads have very little braking power when wet. The solution was to go towards the front to avoid the surges. The leadout guys were working the front the whole first lap along with some AAVC guys. I put in a few good pulls to liven things up and to warm up the legs. AAVC put in an attack near the end of the first lap and I thought it was going to separate the field... but it didn't. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful and it was pretty obvious that it was going to come down to a sprint. I was in a good position the whole last lap, but at the last right hander there were a bunch of guys trying to get at the front. Last year, this caused a wreck, so I throttled back a little. I was riding mid pack near the centerline getting boxed in. As we approached the "hill", I saw my line to the right and took it. As I made it to the front 15-20 guys, I saw Jim roll to the side of the road with another flat! This sucks as he was in the front 5 and probably would have finished on the podium. At this point I had to put the hammer down to catch the front guys... after the race Shawn Schaffert said he was on my wheel from the hill before the corner and said multiple times "we passed a lot of people". Rolling into the finish I wasn't sure where I was in the group and I also wasn't 100% sure where the actual finish line was!! Couple guys said they thought I won, but after looking at the video, I lost by a tire. One step closer to CAT3…

West Branch

Saturday RR

Wet, Cold and miserable. I wasn’t feeling 100% coming into this race as I had been having some stomach issues, but this is one of my favorite road races. My goal was to stay towards the front on the first lap. The pace was pretty slow, so I made an attack to liven things up. The pace headed into the hill at the end of the first lap was pretty fast as a group broke away and we were chasing. This thinned the group after the hill which made it easier to breathe and move around in the peloton. I had a good position coming into the hill on the finish... but didn't have the legs to do anything and finished 13th.

Sunday Crit

I got a long warm up in and the legs were feeling much better. The pace was fast (26+mph) and the group thinned out pretty quick. I focused on riding near the front and took a few pulls and bridged a few attacks. Some CFT guys and an Einstein guy were keeping the pace high. I had a reasonable position coming into the final turn when a guy called "middle" and about wreck a couple of us... WTF? Didn't hit it soon enough, but pulled in enough guys to finish 5th.  I think at some of these races, I need to start hitting it earlier and riding people off my wheel, instead of following wheels in the sprint.

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