Sunday, September 10, 2006

Giro Di San Francisco

Date: 9/4/05
Course: 1 mile+ Criterium course with a “dogleg” and small hill.
Category: Elite 3
Teammates: Channing, Jeff, Steve,
Field: 90
Placing: 24th

Ahh… the Giro, This was the third time in 4 years for me. Once as a 5, then 4, now 3. This race means a lot to me. It’s my hometown event. With Channing in such good form the smart money really was on him. I knew that in the grand scheme of things my form wouldn’t be as good as it could have been, due to me taking a 5+ week break after the 4th of July Crit in Davis.

I raced a few weeks ago at Suisun in support of Channing (he won) and I finished in 14th. I figured I would try to do the same thing here at the Giro. I planned to stay at the front, in the wind if necessary, to string things out and stay away from the squirrels.

Although my race wasn’t until 2:10 I was there early in the morning and got to watch Eric nearly win the Masters 4/5 and Scott and Tim finish in the top 10 in the 4/5’s. Some good showings for the team already had me pretty fired up and looking forward to getting on with it.

I lined up dead center and on the front line. Excellent! I looked back and saw a big field, not to worry though, because when you’re in a Crit and doing well, your only racing the top 20. We take off quickly and I got a great start. Foot right in, turning over the pedals, changing gears and I was 3rd wheel into the first turn. Really right where I wanted to be. I kept up the pace and stayed in the top 7-10 for quite awhile. I felt good and even though I was in the wind here and there I was paying close attention to where Jeff, Steve and Channing were. Jeff, Raymond and Channing were right up there as well and I thought, “ things look good”. At one point going up the small hill, I heard a crash and had a sinking feeling one of our boys was in the carnage (I found out later is was Steve) he managed to bunny hop over some jerky and continue on. For only racing a few times this year, he always pulls a rabbit out of his hat. After the crash and taking a free lap he was able to get back into the race and finish in the pack, “awesome” best describes it.

So we’re on lap 7 to go and I feel like I need to sit in a lap and take a breather. Now the plan goes all to hell. I got swarmed on the main straight and went from 15 to 35 in a split second. The swarming was now in full effect and I was put on the defensive. I had to sprint all over the place to move up 5- 10 places only to loose it again with the swarming. No teams were taking charge at the front and I was in a rip current of fools trying to get free and back into the top 15.

Now we are 3 laps to go and I know I’m in danger of being out of the top 10 as I was way to far back. I could see Channing and Jeff up ahead and basically sprinted out the last 2 laps until the final time up the hill and my legs shut down. It was like someone pulled my plug and I could only watch as the field strung out down the hill for the final time. About half way down the hill the power came back on and I did the best I could to move up and get into sprint position. We came off the final turn and I had a decent sprint and powered to the line passing a lot of guys. I had been in 40th place onto the finish straight and sprinted my way into 24th. Ouch! With a terrible top speed of only 35mph. Bummer…

I felt much better after finding out Channing finished 5th. I know I’m getting stronger every week and the 54T chain ring was feeling really good. My avg Hr was lower than last year with a bit faster avg speed (26+ mph) I was caught out in a bad moment and these things happen.

The Team had a really good weekend and I want to say you guy’s rock! If the late season run we have been having is any indicator for next year, we will have a very good team next year.

Thanks to all who showed up and gave support and/ or helped Steve out with the Accelerade booth. When I am having a “good” race I can hear and see you guys on the sidelines yelling and it does really make a difference. Thank you all!

Well…… this last Sat was the San Rafael Carreara Crit. I only did the Masters 35+ 1/2/3. Stay tuned for the next episode…

Nick Hanni Fusion Sport VP Director of Men’s Cycling


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