Saturday, October 03, 2015

Tobago International Cycling Classic Stage 4

Today was the final stage of the Tobago International Cycling Classic. It was a short 800 meter open and fast crit course that we did 60 laps on. We needed to keep Matthieu in the points leader jersey. In order to do that we needed to be aggressive because the race leader was close to Matthieu and a better sprinter. There were points every 5 laps, and they were 4 places deep, so a ton of points were up for grabs on the final day. The race started out fast from the gun. After 20 laps Oliver and I got in a big move of about 8 riders with nobody in contention for Matthieu's jersey. We hit it hard to make this move stick but the peloton reeled us back in. I just kept trying to go in moves from here on out without people in contention. With about 25 laps to go I got away with a group of 4 and worked very hard, but we were caught at the prime with 20 laps to go. After this attack I was dead and was able to cover no more moves. It was super hot and humid, so that made the intensity even more difficult. Near the end of the race some moves went off the front but none of them stuck. A Foundation rider took the win and the PSL rider took the overall win. We are not sure if Matthieu won the points jersey or not. We will figure that out later today or tomorrow after the toughest, craziest race I have ever done. We worked super well together as a team, and our tactics were solid. Whatever the result is we know we did our best. Check in tomorrow to see how the Tour of Tobago went.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Tobago International Cycling Classic Stage 3

Stage 3 of the Tobago International Cycling Classic was a 50 lap crit on a tight 1km circuit next to the beach in the town of Plymouth. There was a goat next to the course, glass, and gravel on the circuit, and there is a 3 foot drop into a sewer if you take turn 1 too hot. The plan for the day was to put Emile and Matthieu into a break. I started in the middle of the field, so I spent the first 8 laps killing myself to make it to the front. I made it there and covered a move. There was a sprint prime with 40 laps to go that Matthieu, a Cocos rider, a Foundation rider, and the yellow jersey of the race went for. I went to the front and slowed the pace through turns 1 and 2. I did this for a few more laps until the break was established. From then I just sat near the front with Emile and just watched as PSL (the yellow jerseys team who I call pumpkin spice latte to myself) set a slow pace to let the four guys get a huge gap. With about 25 laps to go Matthieu and his 3 companions lapped up. At this point I lead Matthieu out to take some sprint points. At this point some chickens entered the circuit. With about 20 laps to go Oliver and Andy came to the front to join Emile, Matthieu, and me. From this point on there were plenty of attacks. Oliver set the pace some with some PSL riders. Then with about 10 laps to go Andy joined in and around now Emile crashed. Dogs entered the circuit around this point, but nobody crashed. With 6 laps to go I joined in with the pace setting and there were still attacks. At this point we did not want to go flat out and blow ourselves up. It is important to save gas for the finale. With 2 to go Andy and Oliver were blown from their work and I started pulling a monster pull. I just went all out. With 1 to go I was hoping someone would come around me but no one did. I kept going all out until about 500 meters to go and finally someone passed me. When Matthieu passed I stopped totally. He ended up 4th in the sprint and took the lead in the sprint competition. It was a successful day for us. Tomorrow the classic finishes with a crit in Scarborough. We will defend his jersey there. Hopefully there are no chickens, goats, or dogs on the course...

Rest Day and Beach Party

 Yesterday was the rest day for the Tobago International Cycling Classic. We did a recovery ride with some Swedish and Danish riders in the morning along the coast, and we stopped along the beach at one point during the ride. It was a fun and relaxing ride.

Later in the day was the beach party. I got to ride on a jet ski with Andy. We also ate some doubles (fried bread with chick peas, cilantro, and some sauce). Those doubles are delicious! Today and tomorrow we race criteriums. Matthieu is tied for first place in the sprint classification. Hopefully we can help Matthieu seal the points classification and help Emile move up in the overall for the classic.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tobago International Cycling Classic Stage 2

Stage 2 of the Tobago International Cycling Classic was 4 laps on a hilly and technical 25km loop that started and finished at Turtle Beach. This stage is a really fun one and one I came in second last year. I looked forward to it today a lot. The biggest climb on the circuit came in about 3km into the loop, so it was important to start at the front and be at the front on the start of the climb. I employed these tactics, and Reid, Matthieu, and me made it over the climb in the front group of 20-25 riders. However, when I got to the top of the climb I felt like my rear tire was low on pressure, so I took the descent super slow and dropped off the back. That was the end of my race. When I rolled through the start finish line Reid was there. After 2 laps of the race our whole team was dropped and Oliver was the only one still in the race. The race was ripped to shreds, and a Venezuelan rider won by 2-3 minutes over a few riders. Oliver was our only rider to finish in 20th place. Tomorrow we have a rest day and beach party. The final two days of the classic are crits, and on Sunday we race the UCI race. Hopefully we can help Emile get a win in one or both the crits!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Arrival to Tobago and Stage 1

Yesterday I had a crazy travel day. I traveled with the junior I coach Reid Richesin. We were initially flying to Houston, then to Port of Spain, Triniday, then to Tobago. I arrived to GSP airport an hour early for my flight, and the United Airlines employees would not let Reid's bags go through to the flight. They bumped Reid to a flight that went through Chicago to Houston. I arrived to my flight to Houston ten minutes before it was supposed to leave and the door was shut. Then I was bumped to that Chicago flight as well. Reid showed up through security about 2 minutes before the Chicago flight and we both made that flight. I was on standby in Chicago and made it through on the flight to Houston. From there all the flights went smoothly, and we arrived in Tobago at our scheduled time.

This morning we slept well and went to the beach for 10 minutes before the race. The hotel is literally right on the beach. It is awesome! Today the stage today was a relatively flat 110km race where we did 10 laps on a circuit. It had a small hill that was't too steep and about 3 minutes long on the back of the course. The plan for the race was for our team to be aggressive and get in the break. This is the stage I won last year going into a break 15km in with one other rider. Over the first few laps we were aggressive. Matthieu, Oliver, and I made it into a bunch of moves. After 3 laps Oliver got into a promising move of 4 that was reeled back in after a lap. With 4 laps to go Matthieu got into a move with 2 other guys. He flew up the hill that time! This put us in a promising position late in the race. Leading into 2 laps to go the team that came second in the Classic last year lit the pace. I was distanced in a second group, but it looked like it would come back together. A little after this I front flatted, and it took about 3 minutes to change since the child locks were on in our team car. Also before the race the race director said if you draft a team car you will get disqualified. This means if you flat it is game over, so my day was done with 2 laps to go. Within the closing laps Matthieu's group was reeled back in and the race finished in a bunch sprint. Emile came in 6th or 7th place. Matthieu got a bunch of intermediate sprints and is leading the Sprint King competition.Tomorrow is a tough 4 lap 100 km circuit race with some big hills. It will be a fun one. Hopefully we can keep Matthieu's lead in the sprint competition and win the stage. I am bummed about the flat because I felt good today.