Monday, February 27, 2017

Spring Series Hendersonville Crit

The final stage of the Spring Series was a 60 minute four turn crit in downtown Hendersonville. Palmetto State Medical Elite Cycling Team fielded a strong team of Ben Renkema, Matt Moosa, Parker Kyzer, Justin Meade, Chris Meacham, and myself. We had Matt in second overall trailing Ben Wolfe of Jelly Belly by two points. We thought our best opportunity would be to neutralize the field and have a field sprint.

              Riding the front of the Hendersonville Crit. 
Thanks Shane Orr for the photo.

Immediately at the start of the race Ben Wolfe attacked. I quickly made my way to the front, and helped to peg back this move with Chris Meacham. Shortly after, Parker joined Meacham and me. From this point on Meacham, Parker, and I just set a steady tempo. Riders would go up the road, but we would claw everything back. Within the final ten laps of the race no riders were attacking as we set pace on the front. With 5 laps to go we had it lined out with Moosa on our wheels. Things were really looking great. With 1.5 laps to go Wolfe laid down a vicious attack. I immediately pulled off because I could not respond after setting pace all day, and Parker and the rest of the team began to chase. There was a moment's hesitation, and that was enough for Wolfe to take the win and the overall in the spring series with Moosa taking second in the race and in the Spring Series.

 Final podium from the Hincapie Spring Series (left to right: Matt Moosa, Ben Wolfe, Brendan Rhim)

It was a little tough to swallow the loss after yesterday's race. However, we learned a lot from our loss. Even though we were upset at first the start of the year has been very good for our team. We won three races of the 6 we have started, and we have podiumed in every race we have started. We will sort out our kinks, and will be winning some more races shortly. Next weekend we will race Tour of the Southern Highland Stage Race in Woodstock, GA. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hincapie Spring Series Weekend 3 Donaldson

Yesterday was the final Donaldson Center Circuit Race of the Greenville Spring Series. It was a 56 mile race with stronger winds than I have ever experienced out at Donaldson. Palmetto State Medical fielded a team of Justin Meade, Parker Kyzer, Matt Moosa, Ben Renkema, Chris Meacham, and myself. The plan for the day was win the race but to help Moosa win the overall.

The race started off fast from the gun with Mac Brennan of Holowesko launching an attack in the tailwind start. It is smart to attack in tailwinds because draft doesn't help very much in tailwinds. That attack strung out the field for the first few miles, but Parker, Meacham, and Meade were able to neutralize this attack. After this we worked well throughout the crosswind section and to neutralize other attacks. Once again Mac attacked, and he stayed out there for a lap as Parker, Meade, Meacham, and I helped to neutralize him. After we brought Mac back we regrouped to try to get our other teammates up with us to help neutralize the field for Moose. Shortly after Mac was brought back Brendan Rhim attacked with Ian Garrison of Axeon. Parker, Justin, and I shortly got on the front to keep this attack at bay. We also had help from Meacham and Ben at times. We kept the gap to  around 15-20 seconds for a while, but Mac attacked at one point screwing up our chase. This cracked Meade and made the gap grow to around 30 seconds, but Parker and I quickly resumed our pace up front minimizing the damage. We just kept chugging along and keeping the gap close for Moose. We also reduced the size of the peloton to about 8 riders with all this pulling through the crosswinds. With about 16 miles to go in a crosswind Ben Wolfe of Jelly Belly attacked, and this obliterated what could be called the field, and this was also the end of me and Parker. We did our jobs and were proud of ourselves. I tried to keep going and kept the peloton at around 20 seconds for a while but I never came back to them. I still hung on for 9th place, and that shows how obliterated the field was. Up front Ben was able to make the split of 6 guys with Moose. These 6 riders ended up catching Rhim and Ian, but Rhim was on a really strong day and took the win. Moose was able to take third place.

Parker and me crushing the peloton

This race was a really great show of teamwork. We had a job to do, which was the hardest job, and we got it done. We didn't when the race, but Moose now sits only two points behind Ben Wolfe in the omnium. Today we have a criterium in Hendersonville and will do our best get the win and the omnium win.