Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grant Park Crit

This past Sunday I raced the Grant Park Crit on a 0.8 mile rolling course through Grant Park in Atlanta. The course featured a hill of about 20 seconds, but the hill kept dragging on with a false flat to the finish line. That false flat was a real kick in the pants where all the fireworks happened throughout the race. A thunderstorm rolled through at the end of the cat 3 race, so our start was delayed and the race was shortened from 60 minutes to 45 minutes. The field was the same stacked field that raced on Saturday, so once again I decided to key off the other pros to make my own decisions. The race started off aggressively with attacks from the gun. Holowesko-Citadel rode very smart putting riders in all of the moves. That aggressive riding put Ian Garrison off the front alone about 20 minutes into the race with the other Holowesko- Citadel riders marking all other attempts and disrupting the chase. This caused Garrison's gap to grow to around 20 seconds. Oscar Clark put in a big dig on the false flat with Phil O'Donnell of Axeon countering that move. I decided to counter that one and made a selection of 7 riders happen in pursuit of Garrison. The group included Phil O'Donnell, Charlie Hough and Miguel Bryon of Holowesko- Citadel, Emile Abraham and Willem Kaiser of 706, Brock Mason of Prima Tappa, and myself. Emile, Charlie, and Miguel were sitting on, so only 4 riders in the group were setting pace. I liked my chances more in this split than back in the field, so I decided I would work. Throughout the final 10 laps I put in a few digs frying my legs for the sprint, and Willem was driving the pace for Emile. I was never successful in getting away from my group and crossed the line in 7th place. I wish I could have achieved a higher result, but I left everything I had out on the road. Congratulations to Ian for staying off the front to take the win. Miguel Bryon and Phil O'Donnell rounded out the podium for second and third respectively. I really enjoyed these two races, and I look forward to the River Gorge Omnium next weekend in Chattanooga.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

East Atlanta Village Crit

Last night I raced the East Atlanta Village Crit on a short and fast course. There were a lot of hitters at the race including Oscar Clark, Miguel Bryon, and a few other Holowesko-Citadel riders, Ty Magner of UHC, Emile Abraham of 706, and Phil O'Donnell of Axeon. My plan was to key off those riders to make decisions throughout the race. I didn't get a good starting position, so I had to fight through the field as the pace started off fast from the gun. Shortly after I made it to the front Oscar was off the front alone, and Miguel was blocking. After Miguel covered a move from Phil, I just went for it. I quickly had a gap, so I bridged up to Oscar within a couple laps. As soon as I caught Oscar I went to the front and drove the pace. I'd drive the pace for 2-3 laps, and he would drive the pace for one lap or so. If he wouldn't pull through after a lap I wouldn't stop driving because you have to keep the pace high if you want to stay away from a charging peloton. Our gap was remained at 15 seconds for a while, so I knew I could not get off the gas. After 6-10 laps with the gap at 15 seconds we finally crushed the spirits of the peloton, and our advantage ballooned to 22 seconds. Shortly after this we could see the back of the field, so we knew we would take a lap. As soon as we lapped up we went straight to the front of the group, but there was a group of 6 riders at 10-15 seconds. I did not want them to take a lap too. Miguel Bryon and Ty Magner were sometimes setting pace to keep that group in check. However, they were not going fast enough, so I would work often to keep the group closer. If the group had more than 15 seconds they would be out of sight and would have potentially lapped up. I did not want to contest with 6 more riders for a placing, so I just kept setting a hard pace on the front. I think I pulled for the final 30 laps of that race. I knew I was shooting myself in the foot to contest the win, but to me 2nd was a better option than sprinting with 6 more riders. To add to the chaos rain began in the final 10-15 laps. With a few laps to go Oscar and Ty came around me to set up a leadout, and I couldn't pass them due to the heavy pace I was setting all race. I was aware this would happen when I was setting that pace, but like I said earlier I kept those 6 riders in check, and they were caught by the lead riders in the peloton in the finale. Oscar ended up taking the win with me taking second, and Miguel Bryon won the sprint for third.