Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wente Vineyards Classic weekend.....

Saturday 4/26
Wente Classic Road Race
Elite 3/ 66 miles=5 laps/ *T 02:52
Field 100/ 34th place
Teammates: Josh, Marc, Raymond

After 5 weeks of mostly mtb races I was feeling strong but really needed a R&R week. I have done the RR @ Wente before but in the 4's, 2 yrs ago! This time it would be an extra lap and a very large and competitive 3's field to contend with. Coming off a rest week, I knew this would be a tough challenge but was willing to do the best I could. My cardio/endurance is good but I was worried about losing my legs before the end. I planned to do what I could to help out my teammates if in a position to do so.
Well.. first lap, no problems. Second lap still OK. On the third lap a large break of around 12-15 guys were getting away on the backside of the course and nobody was chasing. I spoke to Marc and he felt as I did, that something needed to be done. So he took off to close it down. Only one guy went with him. I was near the front and felt good so I decided bridge to Marc and help out. I caught on to the break right as we headed down onto the long windy start straight. Pheww!
From there things get a little fuzzy. The pace picked up somewhat and I focused on staying with the front group. 3rd time up the climb and I was a bit more tired but still felt ok. Scotty was doing a fine job of water boy and I reloaded.
On the 4th lap things started to thin out and I stayed with the surges and had to close a lot of small gaps as riders popped, also while passing other race traffic. It was then after looking around and not seeing any teammates that I realized I was alone in the group. As we hit the climb for the 4th time I was starting to feel my legs a bit and I couldn't shift into my 25t cog, crap... Stuck in the 23! I could have used that last cog.....
I get over the climb, I'm in with the lead group and actually feel good. Legs were feeling a bit suspect but I thought I would make it to the finish. As we wrap up the last lap and head onto the final climb I was hit with the realization I might finish with the lead group! This would be a huge improvement for me. If my legs would let me I had a good chance at a high placing. As I looked around guys were tired, I still felt good although my legs started to seize up :( with about 1.5 km to go they locked up and I had to stop and walk a bit. I was soooo pissed! I got back on my bike, rode until half-way up the steepest climb---had to stop again, walk, re-mount and speed to the finish.
Not a pretty finish, but I finished. what I took away from this race was some confidence that my climbing prowess is coming back and that IMHO I read/ rode the race well. I was placed right where I needed to be for the finale. The crit was the next day and figured I would feel better after this beat down. Damm rest week....

Sunday 4/27 Wente Classic Criterium

Elite 3/ 50 min Field 100~/ 74th place Teammates: Scott, Tyron, Josh

This course is a super wide open Nascar type deal. I have raced here once before. I like the course for the most part. Although Botts Dotts seem to be in all the wrong places. This would be the first time racing a crit with Josh and Tryon since they both upgraded and I was looking forward to it.

I was active in the race and felt good. Legs were not 100% recovered from the road race but OK. Scott and Josh were in the mix as well and things were going well. Once the 5 to go card was shown there was a slowdown, then a fast lap. then 3 to go. This is where my lack of crit racing surfaced.

I really mis-cued the last 2 laps and got boxed in. It didn't help that guys were all over the place trying to find holes to go through as the pack slowed and spread across the entire road! I was OK and willing to just drill it fr whatever place but could not get through like many others. After 2 guys almost swept my front wheel I threw in the towel and coasted across the line in the rears.

ah crits, I like the speed but I need a few more to get my timing back. On a positive note I felt good after the beat down on Sat. Best of all, after a mid-race flat, my teammate Andy won his race in the 4's right after our race with Hendrick in the top 10 and James not far behind. Those boys did a fine job.

It was great to be flying the Fusion colors again and I'm fired up for Cats Hill this weekend. Off to do hill repeats and then massage!

Ride the big ring, it's your friend.


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