Thursday, April 12, 2012

Comeback year in review (final installment)

The sandbagging comments were approaching a deafening level as evidenced by YGD calling me out and I knew it was time to move up but I had to finish out my epic battle with Dan Netzer (Celerity Cycling) and the Cat 3 Cup series. I will note there is a rule that allows a rider to stay at a particular category if they are in contention for a series and the promoter of the series approves it.

Tour de Millersburg, Cat 3: TT - 6th, Crit - 1st, RR - 10th
Awesome race, amazingly supportive town. TT didn't go as well as planned, I had a hard time keeping my speed over the hills. Crit was a different story. The plan was to sit in for the first half and then Andrew Shelby (WWVC but not for long, BD colors were in his future) and I would hook up and try to play dynamic duo off the front. Well that plan got updated when I saw Justin Mauch (HPC/List) take off from the gun in his typical fast self style. I decided to go with him and see how things unfolded. Another strong PA rider (Calvin Hoops) bridged up to us a couple laps later and we started motoring. With 10 laps to go it was pretty apparent we were going to lap the field and my two teammates had been caught up in some crashes and I didn't want to lap the field. So I just sat on for the next few laps. We still ended up catching the group with 5 to go. We quickly made it to the front and I got locked into field sprint mode and knew the only way to ensure victory was to win the field sprint.

Tour de Millersburg crit win! (Photo Credit: Joe Mallis)
With 2 corners to go I positioned myself nicely in about 5th place and noted Justin was glued to my wheel. Out of the last corner I waited about 50 meters to start the sprint up because I knew it was a long way to the line. Even though I waited I left myself a lot of room but luckily Justin was restricted to Junior gears and I managed to hold him off and win the race.

The road race was a fun roller and we (Hampton and Ramos) just stayed alert. However with a lap to go, 4th and 5th place in the time trial snuck away. Before I could get the other teams alerted to what was up the road, they had built up a pretty good gap. After much begging and pleading the other GC teams started helping us but it was too little too late. Hampton and I had a plan for the finishing downhill section and he delivered me to the bottom corner to perfection but I hadn't realized that it was 1km from there to the finish and was stuck out front. One guy jumped around and I went to latch on but my chain flew off. I got it back on and stood on it again. After 10 more strokes it fell off again. This happened a couple more times until the finish line. Luckily I had enough speed and distance to roll in for 10th place. I was able to retain a podium position despite my mechanical and finished 3rd!

Appalachia Visited, Cat 3: 2nd
Fun, mountainous race for one last defense of the GamJams lead. I had to finish the battle of the GamJams title with Netzer and the staging ground was a JR Petsko special in the WV mountains. It was one big loop with 2 significant climbs (3-4 km each). Over the first climb the group was shattered with me somewhere in the middle group and Dan unhitching from us about midway up the climb. As we crested the top, Dan was no where in sight and I could see the lead group, sweet. We caught back up to the lead group a couple miles later. We rolled on the flats for a good 10 miles until I saw what looked to be Dan chasing back on. Sure enough a mile later he latched unto our group a bit on the sweaty side. The man had turned himself inside out to catch back on. Turns out my easy coasting in wasn't to be and the last climb would be a nice show down.

Appalachia visited profile with commentary
We were the lead group of 3's starting the climb and Ian Spivack (DCMTB) decided he wanted to ensure everyone went crosseyed up the final climb and turned on the wattage. I was glued to his wheel and noticed Dan glued to mine. I settled into the hurt locker and tried to will Ian to slow down with my laser beam focus on his seatstays. 2/3rd's of the way up Ian's pace was taking its tool on me and I wasn't sure if I would be able to hold on. I still saw Dan glued to my wheel but not long after I saw a beautiful sight. Dan's front wheel shadow started to drift back from mine. He was cracking. This gave me new found energy and I found another gear. We crested the top and I told Ian the race was his if he just worked with me during the final 4 mile, mostly downhill run into the finish. The plan worked to perfection, Ian took home a much deserved victory. I finished 2nd to secure the GamJams series victory! Dan rolled in about a minute later for a hard fought 3rd on the day and 2nd overall in GamJams. I have to say that it was great racing in the GamJams series and duking it out with Dan all season. He is a great competitor and great friend. I look forward to racing with him in the big boy races next year.

Dawg Days, Cat 1,2,3: 8th
The day after Appalachia I put in my category 2 upgrade request and got it in time for the Dawg Days race in Bowie. This was a nice fast industrial park crit with mostly wide open turns. It was pretty apparent nothing was getting away but Warner, Giles and myself mixed it up really well and we were almost always in the dangerous breakaway situations. With 2 laps to go, Warner and I hooked up and he sheltered me nicely from the wind and moved us up into good position. Immediately I found Brownie's (Tim Brown from Harley) wheel and was dead set on not leaving it. Well that was the right plan but during execution I got distracted by Keck Baker attacking just before the final corner and I took off after him. Well he sat up or something and I found myself in no man's land with 300 meters or more of somewhat downhill sprint and so I decided to put the head down and go for it. I could see riders on my wheel and never gave up. Brownie ended up winning. I managed to hang onto the final money spot, 8th. Not bad for the first time being back with the big boys. Certainly looking forward to next year. We are going to have a very solid cat 1, 2, 3 team.

Tanner Browne and I at the
MABRA Awards banquet
Additionally I was able to secure the MABRA BAR All-Around rider award for Senior 3 due to my late season success. Jason Hall certainly put up a nice year long fight and made a late season charge but ran out of races. It was great getting to race with Jason and gain another good friend in the MABRA peleton.

Needless to say I had an awesome year that was totally unexpected! I have to certainly thank my selfless teammates for many of my successes. We are a great team on and off the bike and I look forward to many more years keying off each other in races and enjoying post race brews. Not sure which one of those I enjoy more. Additionally, without sponsorship I wouldn't have been able to race nearly as much. Thank you Bike Doctor, DigiSource, Elite Endurance, Cyclops and Cannondale. Lastily and certainly most importantly, I have to thank my beautiful wife and boys for supporting me during this season! They were an awesome support team and every time they showed up to races I was able to find another gear that I didn't know I had.


  1. Good one.. Thanking your wife and boys! Kudos for you and you'll get to race another month. What a great season for you. It was nice to watch you sandbag from a far. Go get them this year.

    1. Of course, they always deserve a ton of thanks for supporting. See you at the races/rides.