Saturday, August 06, 2016

Asheboro Crit

Today I raced the 60 minute Asheboro Crit on a four turn, fast course, that included a 20 second hill. The pace started off fast like it always does with these crits, and I just floated around in the top 10-15 riders. After about 15 minutes of racing the bell rang for a prime, and Matt Moosa of Finish Strong let me have it. On the next lap there was a sprint prime, so I kept on the gas was able to take the sprint prime as well. Since the course was so fast it was difficult to get a break to roll, but I will always keep trying until the end. The next significant break had 7-8 riders up the road, and I bridged to it, drove the pace, and was able to take yet another prime. Ben Renkema of Finish Strong and Alder Martz of Attaque Team Gusto countered this move, so I had to follow. It included 7 riders, and all the teams at the race were represented. That made the winning move happen. Not everyone was willing to work, but I tried driving the pace the best I could. Alder was doing a lot of work as well. There were more primes and sprint primes, and the riders in the break were happy to let me have them. With 4 laps to go I did a seated surge over the hill and got a small gap. I just drove it from there, and my gap grew throughout the next laps.  I was able to take my first win of the year, and it feels good to finally get that win. I also hold on to the All About the Pipes sprint jersey heading into the final stage of the Crossroads Cycling Classic in Salisbury, NC tomorrow.

Statesville Crit

Last night I raced a one hour crit in downtown Statesville, NC on a fun L-shaped course. Attacks started flying from the gun with Charlie Hough of Hincapie launching immediately. The fast speed kept up, and I kept myself in the top 10-15 riders in order to keep momentum and save energy. After about 15 minutes of racing Ben Renkema, Matt Moosa (both Finish Strong), Charlie Hough, and another rider got a big gap. I sat around for a few laps as they dangled and let a couple guys bring it back. However, when it was apparent they would be unable to close the gap I went to the front of the peloton and dragged it back. Then I attacked once we got there. There were more ebs and flows within the peloton, and Moosa got away with Fabio Calabria of Novo Nordisk. The bell rang for a points prime while I was in terrible position. A crash occurred the previous lap, and riders were coming out of the pit. The peloton sat up heading into the line, so I took advantage of the chaos to take third place points. I eventually ended up bridging to Moosa and Calabria. When I got there they wouldn't drive the pace like I could on my own, so I just kept pulling lap after lap. Alder Martz of Attaque Team Gusto began to come across. When he got close I accelerated because if I was dragging two guys I'd take the omnium lead potentially and at minimum claim third place on the day. However, my efforts were futile, and Alder made it to our group. The other guys started working when he got there, but Alder's presence spelled the end of our break as Finish Strong did not like Alder up the road. As soon as we were caught there was a final points prime, so I sat on the front driving the pace and claimed first. Then there was a cash prime the next lap for 50 bucks that Alder pipped me for. With about 9 laps to go Ben Renkema got the fastest bike change ever (because free laps expired at 10 to go), and the field sat up while one rider got cash (in the form of some primes) and the glory of riding solo off the front of the peloton. When Ben returned Finish Strong started doing a leadout, but it was a little dangerous because it wasn't quite fast enough, and we were bunching up behind them. There was a gambler's prime with one lat to go, so I hijacked the Finish Strong train and launched a big attack to claim the prime and tried to keep it up to the line for the win with my legs searing with pain. A few guys passed me in the final turn. Then guys kept passing me because for some reason it isn't possible to sprint for a minute and a half, so I came across the line in 13th place. I am happy I took that gambler prime, and tried to go for the win the way I did. It is good to shoot for the stars even if you don't quite make it sometimes. It was a really fun race, and I look forward to the crit this afternoon in Asheboro, NC.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Mocksville Crit

Last night I raced the Crossroads Cycling Classic Mocksville crit. We raced for 60 minutes on a fast, 4 turn course, that was downhill between turns 1 and 2 and uphill between turns 2 and 3. It was possible to pedal through turns 2,3, and 4, so there was no way I saw a break making it to the line today. I started at the back of the field, which was terrible as it always is because the pace started off relentless from the gun. Attacks were flying left and right keeping the speed super high. It also didn't help that I didn't know the turns very well, so the whiplash at the back was terrible compared to in the first 10 wheels or so of the peloton. After about 15 minutes of racing, the pace slowed, so I made my way to the front and attacked. Even if breaks seem illogical I still have to try. There was an All About the Pipes Sprint Prime, and only 1 rider came by me at the line. The fast course made it so the motivated field could easily claw back breaks. However, any time there was a lull I would attack. The pace was fast for the mid-race All About the Pipes Sprint, so I countered that sprint. This put me into a move with Alder Martz of Attaque Team Gusto and about four other riders. Alder and I were driving it, but Johnny Mitchell of Finish Strong was sitting on. The other riders could not drive it quite so hard, so the field caught us. After that catch there was another lull, so I punched it again and drove it with Justin Meade of Finish Strong on my wheel, unwilling to work. I figured second was better than whatever place I would come in the field sprint, so I just kept driving the pace. If the gap to the field shrunk I would drive the pace harder. I ended up taking the final All About the Pipes Sprint Prime. With 4 laps to go Alder Martz and Ben Renkema of Finish Strong caught us, and I told myself "Oh no" because Alder and Ben both smoke me in sprints. Alder would work hard, and Ben would mostly sit on. I attacked with 2 laps to go but got no gap. I always tried to sit in the back from here. Going into turn 3 on the last lap, I left a big gap, so I could take the turn hard and use momentum to pass everyone. When you can't put the big watts, you have to try to find a way somehow. My tactic didn't work as Ben had too much power and chopped me, causing me to brake hard in the final turn. Alder flew by me out of the final turn with me taking third. I also ended up taking the lead in the All About the Pipes Sprint Competition after the first night. Tonight we race a 6-turn course in Downtown Statesville.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hendersonville Crit

Yesterday I raced the Hendersonville Historic 7th Avenue Crit in Hendersonville, North Carolina. This tight flat and half mile course featured 2 90 degree turns from the start with the second turn being tight and into a little false flat uphill and a false flat downhill into the fast final 2 turns, which could be taken as one turn. Finish Strong had 7 riders represented at the race, and Mac Brennan of Hincapie was there as well. I was not the strongest crit rider at the race, so I was looking at them to control the 50 minute race. I started about 20-30 riders back because I figured people would mark me and I would waste matches by attacking early. For the first 15 minutes I just sat in and let other riders burn their own matches covering attacks. This meant Parker Kyzer of Finish Strong sailed off the front and out of sight with a roughly 30 second maximum advantage. It soon became clear for me we were no longer racing for the win and Mac Brennan of Hincapie was setting pace at the front. I began to help him by switching off one to two lap pulls and Parker gradually crept back into sight. I noticed that turn two was faster and easier in first wheel, so I decided to stay at the front from here on out. Finish Strong would place three riders between Mac and me sometimes to disrupt the chase, but I had my eye on the prize. I kept telling myself "I am racing for the win" and didn't let the small distractions get me sidetracked. We finally pulled Parker back with about 15 laps to go and gaps started opening as I was at the front. Throughout this chaos I found myself off the front of the group with Chris Uberti and Johnny Mitchell of Finish Strong. The gap was small at first, so I drove it to get away from the peloton. They wouldn't work with me because they had Ben Renkema, the best sprinter in the race, sitting back in the bunch. I felt good and figured I was at minimum getting a podium if we stayed away. Another thing I told myself was that I was putting in a good threshold workout. These thoughts helped me drive the pace for pretty much the remainder of the race as our gap back to the field grew larger and larger. With about 6 laps to go Johnny jumped and I was on that move like glue. With about 2 or 2.5 laps to go Chris put in a heroic attack that I clawed back at 1.5 laps to go. From here I launched my final surge for the line, sprinting out of every turn. Chris whizzed by me with about 50 meters to go, so I ended up taking a hard-fought second place. I am pleased with my ride and would like to congratulate Chris and Finish Strong on racing smart and taking the win. Thanks Crosstown Velo for putting on a great event. Next up for me is the Crossroads Cycling Classic in the Greensboro/ Winston Salem area of North Carolina.