Monday, March 01, 2010

February Races 2010

I have not posted on this blog in a very long time, but I am going to start posting again now. A lot has happened since I last posted. I have gotten married to the woman of my dreams Sara, have bought a house, and got a Pug named Soni. I'm still alive and racing and am going to start posting again. Here are all my races so far in 2010.

Deleon Springs Road Race:

The Deleon Springs Road Race was my first race of the year and it was exciting to see where my fitness was after a good offseason. The race was 9 laps on a flat 7 mile course in Deleon Springs. It was very windy and a large field with a good amount of pros showed up. I was very anxious to race because I had not raced in a long time. It was very windy out and the group kept splitting into groups of 10 to 20 riders. I was always able to make the front groups, which was very comforting. With about 4 laps to go I made the final selection of 12 riders. On the last lap people kept attacking and countering but nothing was able to stick. My legs were very cooked by the end. Phil Gaimon ended up leading out the sprint which was won by David Guttenplan. When I started my sprint my legs cramped up immediately and I just pedaled as hard as I could to the line for 11th. I was pretty pleased that I was able to race hard and make the front group.

Swamp Classic Criterium:

The Swamp Classic is a nice and fast 4 cornered crit course in downtown Gainesville. The first two turns are on bricks, but they are safe. Last year I got 5th and was looking to improve on that result. The race rarely finishes in a break, so my plan was to be somewhere between 3rd and 7th place out of the last turn for a good result. The race started out very hard. After a few laps it was clear to me that a move would maybe be able to go clear. I followed moves and ended up in an 9 man group that included Grant Potter, Oscar Henao, Yip Tsang (all Z-motion), Phil Gaimon (Kenda), Andy Crater(Aerocat), David Guttenplan(Mountain Khakis), Bobby Sweeting(Land Rover Orbea), Gavin Manion(Trek Livestrong), and myself. We had a pretty good gap, but the Z-Motion riders weren't working. After this move happened I thought the chance of all breaks making it were over. I was spent and decided to stay in the group for the rest of the race. Then Phil Gaimon attacked with Bobby Sweeting and Yip Tsang. Phil ended up leaving Bobby and Yip and riding the final 30 minutes of the race solo for the win. Z-Motion sat on the front but could not bring Phil back. I stuck to my plan and was about 5th wheel out of the last turn. I started my sprint at what I thought was a good point but got passed by a lot of people. I ended up finishing 11th yet again. It was a good race and I was completely done at the finish. At least I got in some hard training at that race.

Race for Humanity Roace Race:

The San Antonio road race is one of my favorites of the season. This year it was 4 laps on the 17 mile course for a total of 64 miles. The course has a lot of hills, and a break of about 10 usually goes up the road at this one late in the race, so that is what I was waiting for. A large group of about 10 I believe went clear on the first hill. I sat in for most of the first lap. Towards the end of the second lap there were a lot of attacks, so after it was tough I went hard to catch a group of 5. I caught them with another rider and we worked well together. I did not feel so great today but worked nonetheless thinking we would somehow catch the front group. At the start of the 3rd lap Bobby Sweeting (Landrover- Orbea), Joel Chavez, and Victor Lavinsky (Z-motion) bridged up to us. I was happy about this because it was more help and I was not feeling great on the hills. On one of the hills on the back side of the course Bobby launched an attack. I knew this one could take me to the front group and tried with all my might to catch on, but I could not catch Bobby. He was flying. He went clear with Joel and another rider. They ended up catching the front group and Bobby got the win. Meanwhile I kept going backwards and feeling worse. I think every group on the road ended up passing me because I popped hard. This was a fun race even though I felt bad. I found my limits and worked hard.

Race for Humanity Criterium:

Even though I felt bad the day before I felt awesome for one of my favorite crit courses in Florida. This course is 6 turns and runs in the shaped of an L. All the turns are 90 degrees and they go right, right, right, left, right right. There are bricks between turns one and two and it is not unlikely for people to ride on the sidewalk after turn 2. A break usually goes early on this course, so I made sure to get in a good warm-up to be ready to go from the gun. I got a good starting position on the front row as well. Attacks started from the gun, like I expected. After about 6 laps I bridged up to a move of 1 rider that looked like it would stick. Eventually we got brought back. I felt very strong and think I was one of the strongest riders in the race. After I went with that move I kept attacking, attacking, attacking. I would go by myself, with a move, and even sometimes counter myself. I have no idea what I was thinking. I guess I wasn't thinking because I was on a path to self destruction. After about 50 minutes of racing an Aerospace rider crashed and caused a split of about 8 guys to get off the front. If I sat in maybe I could have had the strength to bridge to that group. Even though I had nothing in the tank I tried to go for it. At that moment I popped myself and went to the back of the field, eventually dropping out of the race. The group of 8 stayed clear and the race was won by Andy Crater (Aerocat). I was disappointed at my result, but I was very pleased to feel fast and good for the first time this year. I think I raced, so stupidly because I had not felt that good for about 3 years and just wanted to go. After the race I realized I need to be more patient now that I felt strong.

Wintergarden Circuit Race:

This race was the Orlando Road Club race weekend and this was a new course. I wanted to represent my team well and go for the win. It was a 65 minute long race over a 2 mile circuit race course that had a hill up to the finish. It was very windy and probably favored a breakaway. However, none of the previous races had breakaways, so that worried me a little. Our race started with an attack from the gun, and for some strange reason I had a gut feeling that this move would go. I went with it and the group ended up having 10 riders in it with all the teams represented. In the group were Andy Crater (Aerocat), Alex Defreitas, Victor Herrera (both Z-Motion, Curtis Long, Ken Vita (Pro 1 Bikes) and some other riders who I don't know. Because all teams were represented the peloton sat up and let our group go clear. Our group worked hard together for most of the race. With 4 laps to go attacks started to come and games started to happen. With about 2.5 laps left they were coasting, so I jumped hard. I knew it was a long way out, but it just seemed like this move might work. I immediately got a good gap. The group would get close, then be further away, and it would get close. I just kept pushing with everything I had because if I made it I would win. However, I ended up getting caught with about a mile to go. I just sat on until the finish up the hill because I killed myself to try to get a solo win. I ended up coming across the line in 9th. Curtis Long won the race. I was happy today because I took a risk and almost brought it home. I felt good and was just happy with my race. I looked forward to another chance at the Lake Mary Crit the next day.

Lake Mary Criterium:

The Lake Mary Crit is a fast 70 minute long 3 turn crit, which almost always finishes together. I felt good and was ready to give it my all at the second race of the ORC Race Weekend. My plan was to sit in unless something promising went up the road. Then I planned to bridge to it. The race started off fast, and there were a lot of attacks that did not look promising. My teammate Bryan Lancaster helped me out a lot during the race, shielding me from the wind and bringing a lot of these attacks back. Mid-race a group got clear with David Guttenplan (Mountain Khakis), Andy Crater (Aerocat), and Grant Potter (Z-motion). If this move was not threatening I don't know what is. Curtis Long went off and started to bridge. He is a strong time trialist, and I knew if I could make it to him I could make the junction. I flew past him and had another rider on my wheel. He pulled for the back straight and I finished the effort on the front straight. When I made contact I was dead. It was a very hard effort. I did not pull hard, so I could get my energy back in order to work harder later and not blow myself up. There were still 30 minutes left to race. We worked together well but were caught after a few laps. I came to the conclusion that if this group could not stay off the front then no group could. We had all the strongest riders there and a lot of the teams were represented. I decided to sit in and wait for the sprint. During the last 5 laps I was too far back. I should have been sitting top 10 for the entire last 5 laps. As a result of sitting far back I needed to make a big surge in the last lap or 2 to be sitting about tenth wheel out of the last turn. This wasted a lot of energy I needed for the sprint. As a result a rode home for 11th which was an ok ride. I could have had a better race if I was further up during the entire last 5 laps and if I was maybe about 5th place in the last turn. Because I was 10th I started my sprint early and faded during the last 100 meters and was passed by 3 riders. If I did not make those two errors maybe I could have been top 5 or even on the podium. I raced hard this race, but I definitely need to learn from my mistakes.

Tallahassee Race Weekend:

The Tallahassee race weekend consisted of an 80 minute circuit race on a rolling course, a 2.5 mile time trial on the circuit race course, and a 70 mile road race on an 8 mile loop with 1.5 miles on dirt road. There was also a general classification race for the lowest accumulated time over the 3 events. There were about 40 riders at the race. The Team Type 1 amateur team had 4 or 5 riders there, Mountain Khakis had 3 riders, and other local teams were there.

At the start of the circuit race I did not think a breakaway would go, but after a few laps I realized the race was getting tough and moves were starting to stick. David Guttenplan (Mountain Khakis) was up the road with his teammate Jason Snow. People were trying to bridge and I noticed that they couldn't. Their gap was around 10 to 20 seconds and I thought I could make it up there. I waited for some people to put in some moves for the field to get tired, then I went and made it to the front group. After I made it to the front group we worked together well. Our advantage stayed around 20 seconds for a few laps, then it went up to about 40 seconds at one point. The lap finished up a 200 meter hill and David was riding very strong up it every lap. With about 3 laps to go Team Type 1 was on the front trying to bring us back and the gap was down to about 20 seconds. We were working hard all day, but it was crunch time when the advantage was decreasing. We ended up keeping the gap around 20 seconds for the finish. David sprinted by me at the bottom of the hill to win. I came in second place and was pretty happy with the ride. I worked hard all day and was tired at the end.

The time trial was immediately after the circuit race on the same course as the circuit race. It was pretty straightforward; just go all out for the 2.5 miles. I gave it my all, but did not have my best time trial ever. I finished about 25 seconds behind the winner Yip Tsang (z-motion). It was not a horrible time trial for me and put me 20 seconds behind David Guttenplan and tied on time with Yip going into the road race.

The road race was 9 laps on an 8 mile course for a total of 72 miles. It had a 1.5 mile section of dirt road in the middle of the course. There was a 90 degree turn onto and off of the dirt. Every lap I had fun with those turns sliding around in the dirt and getting a small gap. I wasn't attacking but was just saving energy by going fast through the turns than anyone else. There was also a hill in the middle of the dirt section. The course did not really seem to favor a breakaway. A Mountain Khakis rider and a Team Type 1 rider went away on the hill on the dirt on the first lap. At first their lead was about 30 seconds. The next lap I thought I would try my luck at bridging by going fast into the dirt and maybe catching them. I got a small gap but the field was on me rather quickly, and the two other guys were a bit too far up the road. After this effort I decided I would sit in for a while. They built a lead of about 2 minutes and it hovered around there for a while. I felt ok sitting in, keeping hydrated, eating, and just biding my time. The Mountain Khakis rider got a flat and did not have wheels in the truck I guess. That just left the Type 1 rider off the front with 4 or 5 laps to go. He eventually got swallowed up and the group was together again. We were just riding along and no one seemed to be putting in any solid attacks. The size of our field did dwindle down to about 20-25 riders at this point. I was still waiting for my moment to pounce. With 2.5 laps to go coming off of the dirt I got a rear flat. It took a while to change the flat, so it was gameover for me. I felt good but just never got my moment to go. It is unfortunate but I think some wins are in the near future. It is also unfortunate because the group split into 2 groups of 6 at the end, and I am very positive I could have made the front group. That would have made me the winner of the overall (if I made that group and was still in the race). But that's bike racing. I have been doing it long enough to know that wins are handed to no one, and you are never sure you won until you cross the line first. I will keep fighting to try to make that happen. I race again next weekend in Winter Haven, FL. Maybe my first win can come there?