Monday, February 19, 2007

San Antonio Road Race/ Dade City Crit Weekend

This past Saturday was the San Antonio road race. The Aerospace Engineering Group (AEG)- Toshiba- JetNetwork Pro Cycling Team fielded a strong team of nine riders for the race (Chris Frederick, Bobby Sweeting, Yosvany Falcon, Ivan Franco, Joe Fernandez, Nelson Garcia, Alex Gutierrez, Gabriel Larrea, and myself Winston David). The race was 85 miles long on a 17 mile hilly circuit (5 laps) and was destined to be tough. I was pretty confident going into the race even though I got food poisoning in Belize last weekend. I recovered last week and got in some good training at home also. The race started with attacks from the beginning on the first few rollers. I got myself toward the front of the group to cover some moves. About ten miles in a or six man group got away that included Bobby. This group would be the front group for most of the day. During the next two laps the rest of the team followed any dangerous attacks and Ivan told me to follow Kyle Wamsley (Navigators Insurance) because he is a strong rider and would want to get to the front. A few miles from the start/finish line on the third lap the race got hard and Yosvany, Ivan, and Chris all got in moves that bridged up to Bobby's break. I was up toward the front but managed to miss all of these. For the next lap I just sat in the pack following moves here and there but mostly thinking the race was over for me. Then the race officials told us that the break was disintegrating up the road and we still had a chance. At this news Wamsley went with two other guys and I just watched it go. Then I thought if he caught the front group and I wasn't with him I'd be disappointed at the end. I noticed everyone in the field was tired, so I put in a good effort on one of the hills and bridged up to the three guys. I just sat on when I got there because I already had four teammates up the road and had no reason to work. We caught the second group on the road with about three miles to go. Chris told me that Ivan and Yosvany were up the road with Josh Thorton (Kodak- Gallery/ Sierra Nevada) and Joel Chavez (Preferred Alliance). Ivan was cramping torwards the end he said and came in for third. Yosvany was dangling off the back of Ivan's group and got fourth. Josh Thorton won the race and Joel was second. My group seemed to be not so aggressive and just waiting for the sprint for fifth place. I just waited and waited toward the front of the group and went with probably 300 meeters to go which was a little early considering the headwind. I got passed by a lot of people and came in 15th. Bobby and Chris were both in front of me. It was a pretty good day considering the team got 5 guys in the top 15.Sunday was the Dade City crit. It is about a 1k course with six that is shaped like an L. From the start/ finish line there are three right hand turns, a left, and two more rights. Between turns one and two there are bricks, and there is a slight rise between turns two and three. It is a tough technical course. The AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork Pro Cycling Team fielded seven riders at this race(Bobby Sweeting, Chris Frederick, Gabriel Larrea, Nelson Garcia, Yosvany Falcon, Ivan Franco, and myself Winston David). Joe broke his crank early in the road race on Saturday, and Alex had to go home. The race was 80 minutes plus five laps. This race was fast from the gun, and I had a bad start position. By the time I got to the front which was about three laps in, the break of six riders had already gone up the road. The move was good for our team because we had Bobby and Chris in it. The other riders in the break were Josh Thorton (Kodak Gallery/ Sierra Nevada), Chris Scott (Locos), Rudy Robaina (Cycle Science), and Joel Chavez (Preferred Alliance). These guys quickly built a lead of thirty seconds on the peloton. Attacks were coming every lap and Yosvany, Ivan, and I were covering all of them. The break lapped the field about forty minutes in. Ivan and I immediately went to the front to set a fast pace for the group so attacks wouldn't come. It was a very tough forty minutes for me, but I knew that Chris could sprint better than all the other guys in the break and he would come through with the win. With about three laps to go I couldn't really stay toward the front because the pace was getting faster for the sprint. Ivan was drilling it at the front. Bobby was behind me and wanted me to drag him to the front, so he could get a good placement. For the next two laps I sat in the wind trying to help Bobby to the front. With about one lap to go we were in about sixth and seventh position. I gave it everything I had and then some on the last lap until the last turn for him. Then I thought I was in a decent place, so I might as well sprint too. I came in thirteenth and Bobby was somewhere around me for fourth. While I was doing all that work on the last lap Yosvany was lighting it up at the front for Chris to get the win. When I came across the line I saw Chris with his arms in the air and knew I did my job well. It brings me great excitement to work so hard for my team and for them to deliver. I think this is the beginning of a very good year for the AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork Pro Cycling Team.