Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Merco Weekend

Results: Elite 3
Merco Crit: 25th of 120/ 36 laps/ 29 miles/ T-1:00
Mecro Road Race: 16th of 120/ 3laps/ 72 miles/ T-2.47
What a weekend. This is always a big deal and teams and riders come from all over and out of state for the NRC opener in Merced. I was looking to do well this weekend. My fitness seemed good and I was feeling ready to race. I had missed the tune up races leading up to this event and honestly was not sure how well I would go.

In the crit for the Elite 3 race we had 6 guys in the field. I was hoping for some payback from last year when I missed out on the "W" by half a wheel. umph. Ya... well, that didn't happen. with a 120 person field it was total chaos. Guys were chopping wheels all over the place and I did a pretty good job of staying up front. Marc, Steve and Scott all had a dig on the front but none could really stay up there, only a few of my teammates, Channing and Raymond, were able to stay on the bubble and with 4 laps to go, into the last turn a guys runs up the inside, touches another rider and crashes right in front of me. Thanks to my Ninja like reflexes I managed to not crash and somehow nobody rammed me from behind. I did however have to come to almost a complete halt (didn't want to run over the guys head) and when I looked up the finish straight the pack was already into turn 1. Oh man I thought my race was over, Steve who was caught up in the crash was yelling for me to get on his wheel but I had already launched the sprint to catch the group and was off. To my surprise I caught back on within the lap and now with 3 to go I was trying to move up anywhere I could. guys were all over the place and nobody was willing/ or able to string things out so I had to fight my way through. On 2 to go, a guy rolled his tubular and crashed exiting the chicane and I was watching my chances of a good finish slip away and just wanted it to be over at this point. I managed to get up into the top 25 or so into the run in and on the finish straight what do you know 2 guys right in front of me touch and go down. I have a hard time understanding crashes in a straight line. Guys need to learn to handle themselves and there frikk'in bikes. I felt like I let the team down a bit as I was feeling very good and missed out on the sprint. After I learned that Channing got 3rd I felt better but had that hollow feeling of what could have been. We rounded up the troops and went for a nice 30 min cool down ride after the race. Ah well, at least it was a great warm up for the Road race.

The cool down ride after the Crit. It was a beautiful day in Merced for sure.

For the Road Race I did no warm up. the weather was great and I was a headed into uncharted waters so to speak. I did the race last year as a 4 and we only did 2 laps, the 3's do 3 laps and that's 72 miles. I've done this distance and more but not in a proper race. Last year it was strung out pretty well and moving up in the wind was easy. This year no such luck. Shoulder to shoulder riding was par for the course all day and moving around in the pack was hard. I know I was being a bit on the safe side and not to aggressive in the pack and this was getting very frustrating, as I felt really good and we could only get something going team wise a few times. A couple of times we tried to move up when we were together but couldn't get through or if a few guys did start to move up, clowns would move over, not looking and breakup our lineup. I just don't understand the thinking of these guys. If a team it lining it up I would let them go, and jump on the train. Not jump in and break it up. Idiots....

Anyway, things wind down to the final lap and I was starting to feel a little crampy and Steve came through big with some extra Acclerade and gels. Man that saved me, the twingy feelings subsided before the rollers and I was good to go. The pack was still all over the place but the final time over the rollers you could see guys starting to crack. I kept my rpm's up and felt OK and got ready for the final run into the finish. After the downhill left-hander the road tilted up and the attacks were coming fast. I thought the pace would stay high and I might get up to the front but alas, no..... guys started sitting up, bunching up and I was again caught in the quagmire that was a very messy Elite 3 field. At this point I had Marc next to me and we could see Channing and Raymond 2-3 rows ahead and I commented that we need to get up now or never. Marc somehow found a hole and got going while I was still stuck and watching him sprint up and away, past Channing and Raymond. Once on the final short hill guys were now cracking bad and I was able to get past a bunch and sprint up to Channing. I yelled at him to go with 200 meters left but he was cooked so I launched what I had left and ended up 16th. For all the mayhem and carnage, I feel OK about it. I felt I could have done better and was ready to attack at 1Km to go but could not go anywhere. In retrospect I should have just blown by Channing instead of getting on his wheel, oh well... these are the things you learn while racing. In the top 20 we had 3 guys (Marc, Channing, Me) and Raymond finished in 21st. In the finish line photo you can see all of us and the first place guy (Tora, who I've battle with in the past) all together. Real close. For the 3's squad it was the first time we rode together and I think once we get a few more races under our belts we should be able to get some fine results. Eric H. has upgraded and Jeff E. is ramping up his fitness after along trip abroad so with the addition of these 2 super strong guys we should have a solid squada of 8 guys? Almost sounds too good to be true. We have some other strong guys that are cutting there teeth in the 4's right now and should be moving up shortly. We (Fusion) don't like to pressure guys to upgrade just so they can race with the other 3's. It's always been about learning to race well, as a team if at all possible. Then move up.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have been a bit more aggressive but it was my first race this year and I was kinda playing it safe. This weekend I am signed up for the Velo Girls Crit in Menlo Park for the E3 and Masters 1/2/3. I'm hoping for a good result as I feel totally recovered from the weekend and ready for more lunchervals!

The guys hanging out after the crit.


Blogger isaiasjob said...


Sounds like your fitness is good, but tactics a bit rusty since this was your first race of the year and all! You are crazy fit. You'll be on the podium in the next couple races. I'm sure of it. Nice work hommie!

It's comforting to hear that moving around in the pack was difficult in the 3's as well. This was only my second 4 race (snelling was #1) and it was way harder to move around in the pack this weekend. It was tight, shoulder to shoulder, almost the entire race. Although, I'm slowly getting better at moving around in the pack, but it's still unnerving!

Blogger velogirl said...

heya! thanks for coming to our race this weekend! I hope you have great success.


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