Monday, April 2, 2012

Comeback Year in Review (Next to last installment)

I now had 3 solid months of training and racing underneath me and things were really starting to come together.

Giro Di Coppi Finish! (Photo Credit: Jay Westcott)
Giro Di Coppi, Cat 3: 1st
The perfect leadout!! Bickling and Rist joined me for some fun around the hilly Barnesville, MD area. We mostly sat in but Rist managed to turn the screws on the field a couple of times. I rolled off the front once but was just playing around and didn't want to burn any matches. On the last lap Paul Rades (GamJams) was off the front and I started to grow a little concerned, cause that guy can flat motor. With a half lap to go his time was starting to come down. I planned on putting a big dig on the final climb to shake things up and to bring down Paul's gap some more. Well I went hard and got a little gap but I had a few guys covering me pretty tightly. As we were rolling to the finish, Rist found me and just gave the look (indicating take my wheel and I will see you to the finish line). I slotted in behind him and we moved up some in the field and then just as we were getting to the base of the climb to the finish, Rist found a nice hole open up on the right side and gunned it with 400 meters to go. I stayed tucked behind him, like a pig in blanket until 150 meters and launched. I never looked back, gritted my teeth, made some unusual noises as a result of my overgeared sprint. With 25 meters to go, I finally looked around and saw no one and was able to celebrate in grand style!! Rist's monster lead out provided such a separation from the field that he even held onto 3rd place!

Finish of Cat 3 Arsenal Crit
(Photo Credit: Bob Wellmon)
Arsenal Crit, Cat 3: 1st
Another solo adventure against 30 guys I had never race against. It was fun little 8 corner flat crit in the semi-abandoned Philly Navy Yard. I got into a group of 6 fairly early on and we just started rolling. There were 3 guys from the same team (Shirks Racing) and this worried me but they were all pulling through nicely. It was clear with half the race to go that we weren't going to get caught. I didn't do anymore work than anybody else and started planning for the eventual attack onslaught from the stacked team. Well it happened with 10 to go, a Shirks guy took off and the other two teammates look at us and shrugged. I eventually bridged up solo with a sneaky dig and quickly started working with the guy off the front. We stayed away and during the final couple of corners I couldn't get the Shirks guy to come around. Well it was a tailwind sprint and from the final corner it was about 250-300 meters so I figured I could gas it right out of the corner and hopefully get a little separation. Plan worked to perfection and I had a couple bike length lead at the finish. And my wife and kids got to see the victory salute!

Arsenal Crit, Cat 1/2/3: 7th
Made the second group that got off the front and barely rolled in alive out of the 3 man group I was in. Managed 7th, not to bad.

Lost River Classic, Cat 3/4: 5th
Can you say mountains, good night! Lesson learned, shouldn't have hesitated. Felt okay on the climbs and they were definitely climbs. One was 1.5km and the other was 1km and the rest was rolling. Pete Warner had told me to watch Matias from Snapple prior to the race. Well he got away solo with 2 laps to go and I grew a little concerned. Then coming into the final lap, Ben Frederick and Matt Phillips (didn't know him at the time but by looking at him, should have known he was climber) took off and the alarm bells started to go off in my head. I didn't react but should have. We staged a late rally to claw back the 3 but it was too little too late. I gunned it at 1km to go on the finish hill and Ian Spivack came with. We rotated a couple times and then he had more than me at the end. On the GamJams note, luckily Dan Netzer blew a literal head gasket and finished way down and I was able to climb back into the GamJams lead.

Liberty Crit, Cat 3/4: 3rd
Huge field of Philly riders. I just sat in. 3 guys got away with 5 laps to go and things were looking promising for them. The pack started eating back some of their time and they were only a few seconds ahead with 300 meters to go. I was positioned about perfectly and shot out the left hand side and started a drag race with another sprinter. Well he got the best of me but we were able to catch 2 of the 3 guys that were off the front. I made a huge bike throw at the end that made the difference.

Shenandoah TT, Cat 3: 2nd
This just hurt. Went out too hard, settled down and finished strong. Only missed winning by 20 seconds. Dan Netzer won this and as a result the GamJams leaders jersey went back on his back.

Showdown at Shenandoah Speedway
This was just plain fun. I love racing track style events. Managed to win the combined miss and out!

Page Valley RR, Cat 3: 4th
Damn Netzer (finished 3rd) came around me in the final 100 meters to pad his lead in GamJams! One guy had soloed in and Ben Frederick left no doubt that he can climb and finished 2nd. I will say Paul Rades made this race hurt bad with some hard digs up the climbs. He would just set a fierce tempo that would make most cry for mercy.

Ben Frederick towing me up the finish climb at Luray Crit
(Photo Credit: Team Traveller)
Luray Crit, Cat 3: 2nd
I needed to beat Netzer here to regain GamJams. This was a beast of a crit course with a little ring wall up to the finish line every lap and we had to do a bunch of laps. First half of the race Rist and I just covered little things. I was feeling pretty comfortable going up the hill and then gaping folks on the windy backside descent section. I got a little impatient half way through the race and gunned it up the hill and got some breathing room. I was off for a couple laps and starting to feel the hill a bit. I looked behind me and saw a lone rider that looked to be Ben Frederick (hell of a climber). We hooked up and immediately started working together. He was a beast and pulled almost everytime up the hill. I started to fade with 5 to go and told Ben the race was his and that I would pull through when I could. He took off with a lap to go and easily won the race. I rolled in with 2nd place and Netzer finished 3rd. That was just enough to put me back in the GamJams lead by a mere 1 point.

... to be contined.

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