Another HOT weekend of racing … temps in the mid 90s, racing midday both days, and small fields meant two races of survival this weekend. I got 3rd in the road race on Saturday and finished 4th today in the criterium. See details and heartrate data below.
Saturday Road Race – Dacula, GA
Small field maybe 20-25 guys. Locos had the strongest team presence with 5 riders. Mike Lanham was the sole representative for Warp9. Joey Rosskopf was the only Jittery Joe’s rider. There were several Pacesetter Steel riders and several Iron Data guys, a few more independents or sole reps from various teams. With 10 laps of a 7 mile course in the heat, the pace started out fairly slow. There were a few short-lived attacks, but everything came back together until an Iron Data rider and a Locos rider rolled slowly off the front. After they had the gap, they picked up their pace and we dropped ours. I was waiting for other riders to show their hand and start a chase, but then I noticed that the Locos rider had fallen behind and was coming back to the group. Locos came to the front and picked up the pace and also launched a few attacks which were covered.
By the end of the second lap, we took one of the hills at a hard pace and before you can say “fry an egg on the road”, there were only six of us left at the front. Two Locos riders including Casey Magner, a Pacesetter rider, Mike Lanham, Joey Rosskopf, and me. We worked together very well although we were going pretty slow in the heat. At one point during the race, it felt like a high Zone 3 or low Zone 4 exertion, but I looked down at my heart rate and saw that it was in Zone 5!!! During the time we were working together, the Iron Data rider continued to extend his lead all the way up to nearly 3 minutes. Then it came down to 2:45 with 4 laps to go and 2:30 with 3 laps to go. Then with 2 laps to go, we saw him standing on the side of the road. I’m still not sure whether he had a mechanical or biomechanical (cramps) but he just watched us go by. We stayed together the rest of that lap. About halfway through the last lap, Mike rolled off the front at a moderate pace and everybody looked to me to chase him down. I wasn’t going to chase him down with two Locos riders in our break. On the first of the finishing hills, I put in an attack to try to bridge across, but I couldn’t get a gap. On the next hill, Casey put in a very long sustained attack that I thought might bring us back to Mike but it was too late. Mike rolled in strong to take the win.
I misjudged the finish which came 150 meters after the last corner and attacked way too early — maybe 350 meters before the last corner. It was a nice tailwind/sidewind and then tailwind for the finishing sprint so even after making this mistake I thought I could hold it by flying through the corner — it almost worked — everyone else was dropped, but Joey was able to grab my wheel and come around in the last 25 meters. So that was the podium … Mike Lanham, Joey Rosskopf, and me.
- Early attacking and covering
- The attack that stuck
- The finishing sprint
Sunday Criterium – Georgia Gwinett College
This race was a mixed parking lot / road criterium that was a blast to ride even with a 180 turn. It even had an orange cone chicane laid out through the parking lot! I was aggressive early, attacking halfway through the first lap before the chicane and getting a small gap that barely lasted through the start line. I attacked again at a different spot on the second lap, but couldn’t get a gap. Then on the third lap, the announcer called a prime for a free entry into a stage of the Gwinnett Bikefest. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do that race in July, but I thought I could use the prime as a launching point for another attack. I ended up winning the prime by launching my attack with just barely enough room to spare to catch the one rider who had been going for the prime. Bonus!
I had a good gap, but Locos was watching me closely and worked to bring it back together. Then there was a series of attacks and counter attacks with wild swings in the pace. This was definitely the hardest section of the race. Towards the end, Casey Magner slipped away, and I hesitated — hoping one of the other riders would chase because I was pretty tired. Instead, Ty Magner (Casey’s brother) put in a perfect attack to bridge up to his brother. Mike Lanham attacked a couple times and I attacked a couple times, but neither of us could get a gap. Meanwhile, another rider slid off the front without a response from Locos who had their eyes on Mike and I. It looked liked it was “game over” once the third rider made it up to the break and there was nobody left to do any work in the small peloton. Jan Koler (Mellow Mushroom) attacked during this time and got away and started to make the bridge over to the break.
I knew that my only hope of getting away was to counterattack something strong. My opportunity came when Mike Lanham put a strong attack on the second half of the course. I had slid to the back of the group, partly out of frustration, and partly wanting to watch things unfold and try to time my attack right. It worked perfectly because a small gap opened up a few riders in front of me and as those riders accelerated to close the gap, I was going even faster than the attackers at the front at the exact moment that Lanham ended his attack since he hadn’t gotten a gap. I used that momentum to launch my attack and got away cleanly with a 5-10 second gap almost immediately. By the end of the next lap, I had extended it to 15 seconds where it stayed for the next three or four laps as I chased hard to join forces with Jan Koler who was still chasing the leaders. Once I made it up to Jan who had slowed to wait for me once he saw that I had a good gap on the group, we worked together very well and started to close on the leaders. Each lap of the course, we could see that we were making up time on the leaders and extending our lead on the chasing pack. But unfortunately we ran out of laps and ended up about 15-20 seconds behind by the end. Jan graciously agreed to let me have fourth since I needed the points for the overall competition. Thank you Jan!!!
- Lap 1 attack
- Lap 2 attack
- Lap 3 covering an attack
- Lap 4 attack/winning a prime
- Hard section, covering attacks, the winning break established itself by the end of this section
- Covering an attack
- Launching my counterattack to try to catch the leaders
- Jan and I realizing that the leaders were playing cat/mouse with two laps to go, so we drilled it again to see if we could catch them