Monday, July 25, 2016

Newton Circuit Race

The Newton Circuit Race was the final stage of the 2016 Georgia Cycling Gran Prix. It took place on a 2 mile half uphill and half down hill circuit that only had two turns. It was a false flat uphill drag from the final turn to the line. The race was supposed to be 2 hours in duration, but since it was 97 degrees the race promoter and officials decided to be easy on us and make the race 90 minutes long. I was sitting in 5th overall heading into the final stage only a couple points out of third with the possibility to move up to second overall. I would have to get into a big break with none of the riders sitting in 4th to 2nd in that break. As the race started I settled in and let riders attack. No one in contention seemed to be marking any moves, so I did not want to make the first move and begin wasting bullets. Some large moves went up the road, and it took a lot of patience for me to not go in them. Brock Mason of Prima Tappa put in a bold ride to go solo very early in the race, and Dillon Swaim of Prima Tappa also began to be aggressive and made a split. That one was dangerous, so I bridged when it got close dragging the whole field. This is when the fireworks began . After we caught that split Oleg Tanovitsky of the Lupus amateur team and race leader began to put in some massive 20 second accelerations. Lactic acid was pouring from my eyes with his attacks. Oleg is such a motor. After a couple laps of this I countered and just went with it. I made a split of 8 riders, and riders would catch me and drop off, but I just kept driving the pace hard. Finally after 2 laps we got separation from the field, and I just kept driving the pace. I was the only rider in the top 5 to make this split, so this was my time to gain position. The other riders in the break helped me by pulling through, and we ended up making it to the line. On the final lap I sat on, and started sprinting with 200 meters to go, but 4 riders came around me and I ended 5th. That moved me up to third overall for the week, and that was about the most I could have hoped to move up heading into the final stage. I really had a fun week at the Georgia Cycling Grand Prix and would like to thank Tim Molyneaux and Topview Sports for putting on the great event. I'd also like to congratulate Oleg for taking the overall win and killing it all week long. He really is a beast, and you could not meet a nicer guy. Next week I'll be racing a crit in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Oxford Hills Road Race, East Newton TT, and East Newton Circuit Race

The Oxford Hills Road Race took place on a 10 mile circuit that we completed 6 times. The course was rolling but did not feature any significant hill. I was attentive at the start for KOM points the second time up the longest hill of the course. 2 riders went up the road to take the first 2 points spots, and I was pipped over the top for third place. There was a 3 place points bonus the third time over the finish line, and a break of 4 riders was established. No teams were chasing, and I thought people were feeling the heat. The toughest part of the course was at the start, so at the start of the 4th lap I began attacking, and we caught the break. After we caught this move Oleg countered hard and no one was able to follow. He just motored along and took the win. On the 5th lap I was able to make it into a move of 5 riders and drove the pace to get a gap on the charging field. The gap grew and we were not going to be caught by the field, so for the final 3 kilometers I did no work. I opened my sprint with 200 meters to go, but was still beaten by everyone. I played it as smart as I could but just didn't have a good sprint. Congratulations to Oleg on taking the win.

The East Newton TT took place over a 7 mile rolling course. It started off slightly downhill, so I took it a little easier than normal for the first 3 miles. The last 4 miles had a lot of uphill drags, so I saved energy to punch it on the uphill portions. I paced it well and set a time of 14:31. I had the fastest time of the day, but I was given second place. There's a first time for everything! There was a rule that riders on road bikes have 1 minute deducted from their time. Brock Mason had a time of 15:10 on the road bike, so he ended up with a time of 14:10. He had a great ride and by no means do I want to take anything away from that. All podium spots except for me (2nd place) were rides from riders on road bikes, so I think the road bike was the right call over the 7 mile course.

The East Newton Circuit Race took place on the same rolling course as the TT. We did 8 laps for a total of 56 miles. It didn't seem like a course that was favorable for breakaways. From the gun Oleg set a blistering pace but everyone was on his wheel. Brock Mason and other riders put in big attacks, but it seemed the field wanted to weld it together. At the start of the second lap the group let 4 riders slip away. Then a cat and mouse game began where riders would attack and random riders from the field would chase. This meant the speed in the group was not steady while the break could keep rolling off the front and maintain their gap. This continued throughout the whole race, so the break stayed away to the line. There was a turn 200 meters or so before the line, so it was a mad dash to that turn for the sprint. I ended up taking 14th place and sit in 5th in the omnium heading into the final stage today.