Monthly Archives: July 2012

GCGP Day 3 – Oxford Hills Road Race

Pro/1/2 Oxford Road Race podium (L-R Brian Toone, Oscar Clark, David Guttenplan)

Podium! I ended up second after a long 70 mile breakaway from the gun. I was tired of missing the early move so I decided to initiate the first attack by attacking as soon as the race started. David Guttenplan (United Healthcare / 707) followed me across the top of the feedzone hill, and Dave Gearhart (Team Mission Source) bridged up to us before the start of the first downhill section. Dave really drilled the pace, and we got into one of the best rotations for a three-man breakaway group I’ve ever been in. The course was constantly rolling except for a couple long gradual false flat type climbs (1-3% gradient). Lots of turns, too, so we were quickly out of sight and had a 3 minute gap by the end of the first of seven 10 mile laps.

By the end of the second lap, we had a 3.5 minute gap. Our gap started to come down on the third lap, and by the middle of the fourth lap, Oscar Clark (UHC/707) and Alexey Schmidt (Team Type 1) had bridged across to us. They gave our break new life, and we started flying again. Oscar was clearly the strongest, and with one lap to go he hit it hard through the start/finish getting a gap. Nobody was able to chase (including myself), and that was how the race was won – with 10 miles to go! Alexey was saving up for the finish and didn’t chase either – so for a while it was just me, Dave, and Alexey pulling with David sitting on since he had a teammate up the road. I thought Alexey might be struggling a bit so I attacked hard on the second hill after the KOM hill. Unfortunately, Alexey had no problem covering the move. So that put me in the unenviable position of having to pull for the next mile or so because we didn’t know what the time gap was to the field behind us.

Eventually, we were told that the gap to the chase group behind was more than 4 minutes with about 5 miles left in the race. So I stopped pulling hard, and basically Dave, Alexey, and I did a soft rotation. I had already worked it out that I was going to attack at the bottom of the 1K to go hill when I looked back from one of my pulls and I had a 50 meter gap! So I drilled it hard with less than 2 miles to the finish. There was one more short uphill followed by a righthand turn and a long downhill, so I hit it really really hard on the uphill to make sure I had enough of a gap not to get caught on the long downhill. Still, by the bottom of the hill at the 1K to go sign, the rest of the break was no more than 5 seconds behind. I hit it hard again on the hill thinking that my only shot at staying away was to extend my gap on the hill. I had nothing left by the top, but the chase had given up as they were starting to cat/mouse for the sprint so I was able to cruise in the final 300 meters from the top of the hill to the finish.

Dave Gearhart, who raced super strong all day, led out the sprint only getting passed right at the line by both David and Alexey. Oscar had a time gap of more than two minutes by the end of the race. Major kudos and thanks to Robb Pressley who gave me a ice cold bottle in the feedzone every lap after the first one for a total of 8 bottles including the two I started with. It was hot!

GCGP Day 2 – Gwinnett Civic Center Criterium

Tough race tonight. Team Type 1 again played it perfectly taking 1st and 2nd with Dan Holt and Alexey Schmidt. Here is how it played out. There was an early break that got a good gap, but I think it was missing TT1 so I was pretty sure it would all come back together, which it did.

Then it gets a little fuzzy but Dan made it into the next move along with Stephen Hirsch (UHC/707) and one other guy (maybe Tim Henry from Litespeed/BMW). This move quickly got a good gap until Mike Stone (Hincapie Devo) went to the front and started to bring it back pretty much single handed. After three or four hard laps he sat up and no one else took up the chase. The gap to the break quickly ballooned to close to a minute – in fact I figured we were going to get lapped.

But then the attacking started. Primary instigators were Mike and myself, but there was also a guy with a black kit and national champ markings on his sleeves (from a different country) who attacked several times. We could never get enough separation in a chase group to escape the field.

Then at the perfect moment when an attack was coming back, Alexey rolled off the front of our group with one other rider. It was a thing of beauty to watch as nobody could respond quick enough. There was a chase again led by Mike but the gap was too big. The break must have been getting tired b/c the two quickly crossed the gap to the leaders making a lead group of six.

The gap from our field to the leaders had come way down to only 15 seconds, but then it was only three laps to go. I found myself on Oneal Samuels wheel, a great sprinter from UHC/707, with two to go and followed him to the very front of the field by one to go. Another rider came around and led out the sprint, but Oneal hopped onto his wheel with me still attached to his wheel. And that is how we finished in the field sprint coming around the other rider by the line. It was only good for tenth in the race, though, as two other riders must have been b/t us and the break of six.

My power meter is still broken, so now power data from the race – but I can tell you it was hard!