Monday, April 20, 2009

Element 6

So, I can't really say where the past month and a half has gone, that sucks. All I know is I turned 34 last month and life didn't come to an end, got six more years for that. I do know that I can now race Master's in 'cross this season. Finally got the team bike built up, it's a bit on the heavy side but it's just a crit bike. I have to say though, after putting in 8hrs in a weekend, I remember why I switched to carbon almost 10 years ago. I promptly rebuilt the Madone with a SRAM Red group, I think that group could lighten up a Wal-Mart Huffy.
Maddy has been keeping us plenty busy. Between exploring and learning all kinds of new words it's hard to keep up with how fast she's growing and learning. She did give us a new experience a few weeks ago. One Friday night we all ventured out for Pho. As usual, Maddy scarfs down an insane amount of food, she can regularly out eat Gina. About a half hour into dinner she's doing her usual boredom thing and throwing herself over the side of the high chair. All of a sudden she spits up some food. We take her out of the chair to get her cleaned up and no sooner is she sitting in my lap and the rest of her dinner comes up on me, nice. Besides that she's doing a great job of keeping us sick, just got back from the pediatrician, another ear infection.

My sinuses have been on and off all winter, I was doing fine until last weekend when I decided last minute to hike up to Lancaster and do Mt. Joy. This would be my second 1/2/3 road race, after a dismal effort at Jeff Cup and having to bail on Walkersville becasue I was sick if figured I needed a long hard workout. I knew it was doomed from the start because the rain that was suppose to have passed through by morning was still pounding us here and all the way up 83. I knew the course and felt it wasn't hard enough that I shouldn't be able to at least finish this race and get a good workout in. By the start the rain was letting up but then the wind had really picked up. I blindly ignored the 25-30mph gust description on the weather report hoping for the best but this would ultimately be the deciding factor. Around the start of lap 3 we made the first right turn after the start finish which consisted of small stair step climb. It also happened to be the place where the wind was the worst, a 30+mph head/crosswind that simply ripped the pack into shreds. The group was strung out on the opposite side of the road, gaps opening and everyone fighting for a wheel. For some reason fear of the ref actually enforcing the yellow line rule made me get out of line and over to the right where I had to burn a few matches to stay in contact with the main group before cresting the top of the climb. I managed to last a few more laps before my inattentiveness cost me and I found myself chasing desperately on the long fast decent after the main climb as some huge guy I was using for a wind break opened up a significant gap. The field was strung out single file so I knew they were rolling so I put my head down and drilled it. I made contact just before a small rise before the 1k to go mark but I was out of matches and the pack accelerated just as I latched on. Dangling about 500m off the back I tried to get on Tom Soloday's wheel who had flatted and was chasing back on but to no avail. I rode another lap in earnest then called it a day as I was starting to notice how cold and wet I was.

Fast forward a few weeks. Still sick and not really training, just riding my bike from time to time. I skipped the Syn-Fit crit, just wasn't in the mood to drive an hour and a half for a pancake flat crit in some industrial park by Dulles airport. Anyway, Gina cashed in some chips and went shopping with some friends while Maddy and I spent the morning together. Before hitting yoga we had a snack at Bean Hollow.

Yesterday was Carl Dolan, I like this race, especially since it's close to my house. The team was figuring out what the plan, a couple of guys were up for not letting it come down to a sprint finish but I couldn't remember ever seen a race won the in a break. The course is fairly wide open and difficult to get out of site. First race was the 3/4 in the morning so I got up early, rode Cafe Bagel for some breakfast and headed off to the race. The guy at Cafe Bagel asked if I was carrying extra wheels on my backpack in case I flatted, I thought that was funny. I told him no, they were my race wheels.

I didn't realize it, but the last time we really raced together was back in February at one of the last Tradezone races. Kyle decided to save his legs for the 1/2/3 race later so it was just Stephen, HEFs 1 and 2, Lance and myself. The 3/4 race started off pretty fast, we kept attacking off the front in hopes of getting something going but nothing ever stuck. So plan B was to just make the pace hard enough to make the so called "Sprinter" teams work more than they want to. This is pretty easy for us since everyone is willing to go ride hard and leave everything on the course. I can't say I see that from other teams out there, everyone is out for themselves I guess.
Me on lap 3 heading into the climb
Stephen trying an early flyer and taking a preme
Hef2 on one of his several attempts to go off the front and get something started
Hef1Lance looking pretty and smiling for the camera (yes, it was the donuts causing your rear tire to feel flat)
Fast forward to the last few laps, a few last ditch efforts to get off the front by some guys who sat in all race but nothing is sticking. I lost contact with Hef2 and Stephen but figured they were near the front. I was sitting about fifth wheel with two NCVC, a Bike Dr. and a R1V guy. My job was to disrupt and organization at the front and keep the pace high going into the couple hundred meters. As we make the last turn towards the finsh, the Bike Dr and R1V guy sit up and look around allowing the two NCVC guys get a gap down the hill as the pace temporarily slowed. I swing around and drill it knowing I'll get swarmed if I don't go now. I catch the two NCVC guys at the base of the climb and go right around them. At that point all I can do it keep drilling it so I stand with about 400m to go and give it whatever was left in the tank. I see Stephen coming over my left side so I figure my day was done so I just sat up and watched as Stephen destroyed the field for the second day in a row.
Stephen sealing the deal two days in a row

After a shower, some food and a little rest I decided to jump in the 1/2/3 race later in the day. The beautiful sunny weather we had in the morning turned to grey, overcast skies with the threat of rain and much cooler temps. I was just using this race for training and everyone we had in it had already raced once so no real expectation for the team either. A small break got off the front on the first couple of laps, I didn't know who was represented so I made a jump to a chase group in the hopes of bridging up to it. As the chase wittled down to three of us, with an LSV and an IM rider I later realized why we never closed the several second gap, they had teammates in the break. Oh well, back to being pack fodder. 8 more laps and I realize my legs are starting to cramp so rather than make things worse and risk have to take an extra day or two of rest from the dehydration I just decided to cut bait with about 4 to go and spectate. Like I said, I've never seen this race won in a break, that is until yesterday. The 4 man break consisted of two LSV (one of which was Rick Norton), Mark Warno (IM) and Josh Frick (DC Velo). With two to go Warno was dropped at the base of the climb leaving Frick in a two on one situation. In cycling this is not good. In an impressive effort, Frick won in what ended up being a two up sprint after Rick must have given his all to attack and force Frick to counter. Nice job.

1 comment:

Stephen Wahl said...

Excellent writeup Chris. We were all working in the 1/2/3 race as well. Like you said, with Kelly, IM and DCV in the break, there was little hope of bridging up to it. I bet things would have been a lot different if Harley had their full squad, and if Haymarket had been there.