Friday, March 23, 2007
I had hoped to have a short team meeting to discuss the race, but time slipped away and we had to try and make our plan during the race. Since we had nine riders we tried to always have somebody represent us in any significant break to put other teams on the defensive. I thought we did a pretty good job of this though we missed a group or two. Since Mike Hernandez has been on fire and winning races like it's going out of style we tried extra hard to make sure that he didn't get away unescorted. As it turned out though for the first 5 laps (of 6) nothing of consequence happened.
Near the beginning of the 6th lap though a group of nine riders slipped away. We had Mick Hellman in the group and though he had been sick earlier in the week he was looking very strong on this day. The problem was that one rider in nine isn't that great of a situation when you have a large strong team like we did. Ideally we would prefer to have two or even three riders in that group of nine, but Mick was the only rider who made the right move.
I pretty quickly decided that we did not want this move to succeed. But I also didn't want to chase my own team mate down! So for a while we gambled that the rest of the field would chase this group down like all of the others that preceded it. But this break had good representation from all of the stronger teams and it wasn't coming back. Finally after talking with Dean, Wyatt, Craig, Jeff and Rob we decided to do a team chase to bring them back. The initial plan was for me Wyatt and Rob to do the bulk of the chasing and leave Craig and Jeff to finish it off over the "KOM" and set up Dean for the sprint. Unfortunately we had lost Ken to a flat earlier in the lap so we only had one true sprinter.
With our concerted chase we were bringing the group back, but it was going to be touch and go. The Safeway guys were infiltrating our chase to slow it down, but we knew what they were doing and it didn't really affect us too much. Going up the KOM we were swarmed by the fresher riders in the group, but immediately after Jeff was able to get back up to Dean to get him up to the front for the sprint. Unfortunately it was just a bit too late. Jeff Paulsen of Safeway jumped out of the group at the last corner with 500 meters to go. Mick gave chase, but Jeff had too much of a gap and won with Mick in second.
In the end, we just waited too long. If we had started chasing sooner we could have had Dean sprinting for the win. Given that chance Dean could quite likely have won the race. But... we hesitated.
On the other hand Mick did great to pull off second so it's not like we can really complain.
Afterwards I rode up to Mick to apologize for chasing him down, but his only response was that he wished we had started sooner! Everybody on the team knows what it takes to win. We know who can sprint, who can climb, who can TT, etc. We all know that we have riders who can win any kind of race and that we need to work to ensure that the rider who can win on that given day is put into the position he needs to be in. We are out here having fun at the races, but we also know that getting into a four rider break and getting fourth is not he goal if we have another option that day. Some days it will all come together and work like at the Merco weekend. And some days it will be "close but no cigar". But anybody who doubts that every rider on this team isn't willing to ride themselves into the ground for their team mates is making a dangerous assumption!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
7th in the 42 mi RR, very disappointed in my legs after the Hillclimb results. Had my Heart rate @ 180 for the first time in 5 years during the hill climb. Topped out around 165 during the RR, & made a serious tactical error by being too conservative & missing a 2 man break the last time up the 0.9 mile 200 foot climb w/ 2+ miles to the finish after the summit.. Also the race was shortened 2 laps 14 miles compared to the last 2 years I won this stage. The field was starting to detonate & everyone else was far more gassed than I realized.
3rd in the final 40 min crit - a great result for me based entirely on field positioning to enter the final turn in 2nd. Steve Strickler took the stage win & the sprint jersey after also winning both hot spot sprints in the RR.
GC: wound uip 5th by time bonus when the winner of the RR Larry Shannon leapfrogged from 5th to into 3rd place on the time bonus. Keith Ketterer was 2nd. National 50+ RR Champion Malcom Hill was ~10th
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Friday, March 9- the Pro men and women were contesting an NRC event so the promoters added a Cat 2 and M35+ stage race too. Thank you CVC for doing so. It’s just that 5000 feet of climbing over 69 miles may have scared some riders away. It was a beautiful course too. Lots of green in the Sierra foothills, lots of sun and warmth. I was looking for three great days of training, helping my teammates and hanging out with them so I thought I had the right perspective coming into the event. The first time up the climb the pace was moderate and I was able to hang, but then the Safeway attacks started coming. Attack, counterattack, repeat as often as possible, until Dan Martin stuck it out there solo. We matched his pace in the chase towards the end of the 1st lap but this effectively took some steam out of Craig and I as we were dropped on the 2nd climb. Up ahead Marco stayed with the chase group (Michael Hernandez from Safeway was up the road with David Worthington from Sinergy). The chase group slowed and that’s when Wyatt and Rob joined back up. Michael won the stage with Dan Martin taking 3rd.
Stage 1 AMD-Discovery
7th- Mick Hellman- 42 seconds down
13th- Rob Anderson- 42 seconds down
18th- Wyatt Weisel- 4:39 down
22nd- Craig Roemer- 5:57 down
23rd- Larry Nolan- 5:57 down
Saturday, March 10- 26.4km individual time trial. There’s not much to write about in a time trial except that this too was a beautiful course. Up along one side of a river (Pine Flat Reservoir), across the bridge and down the other side, finishing up a 1km climb. The only other thing worth writing about was Mick’s time! Fastest by 18 seconds over Michael Hutchinson and 1:51 fastest than Michael Hernandez pushing Mick into the lead of the General Classification.
Stage 2 AMD-Discovery
1st- Mick Hellman- 36:50
7th- Larry Nolan- 39:11
8th- Craig Roemer- 39:26
10th- Wyatt Weisel- 39:49
19th- Rob Anderson- 41:55 (including riding on a flat and changing a wheel)
GC after Stage 2 AMD-Discovery
1st- Mick Hellman- 3:38.13
10th- Rob Anderson- 5’05”
13th- Wyatt Weisel- 6’56”
14th- Larry Nolan- 7’38”
15th- Craig Roemer- 7’51”
Sunday, March 11th- this really was a great stage race but our one complaint was that we raced on Saturday at 8am and then on Sunday at 5pm. Yes, we enjoyed our weekend in Fresno and had some nice rides, but the timing needs to be improved for next year. One of the reasons for our complaint is that it gave us too much time to calculate, think about all the possible outcomes and to worry! Mick was up 18 seconds on Michael Hutchinson (Spine) who had no teammates for the crit and he was up 69 seconds on Michael Hernandez (Safeway) who had 3 strong teammates. We had our assignments. Rob would keep the pace up whenever it dropped, Mick would stick to Michael Hutchinson, I was assigned to Michael Hernandez and Craig and Wyatt would help in every way possible. We anticipated Safeway sending a lowly placed GC rider up the road but we didn’t expect it to happen in the 2nd lap! Dan Martin (Safeway) had flatted in the time trial and had sunk on the GC standings. We knew what was coming next and Michael Hernandez made his move to Dan. I bridged to his wheel. These two were flying around the course and their gap grew every lap. The announcer (Dave) cheered them on and in the end Michael took back his 69 seconds plus some to spare. I came away with the stage win, but it was only consolation after sitting on their wheels for 24 laps. I doubt that I could have beat these two if this was not a stage race GC on the line.
Stage 3- AMD-Discovery
1st- Larry Nolan
7th - Craig Roemer
18th- Mick Hellman (crashed in the last lap)
19th- Wyatt Weisel
21st- Rob Anderson
Final General Classification AMD-Discovery
2nd- Mick Hellman
10th- Rob Anderson
12th- Larry Nolan
13th- Wyatt Weisel
14th- Craig Roemer
Mar 10: 50 min crit. 12th First race of the year for me is always a major challenge re-acclimating to the mental aspects of field positioning. As frequently happens in my advanced age, especially for my first race of the year 2 months after the season started, I pretty much sucked heading into the last turn 200m to the line…
Mar 11: 46 mi rolling RR: 2nd by 6” - caught right on the line. 5 riders over 2 minutes up on the field. Didn’t suck moving through the field on day 2…
GC: 6th, 4 points out of first, due to major lack of confidence / aggression in Saturday’s crit field sprint. Also the one bold move I made across to Thurlow’s break fizzled as Thurlow punctured almost immediately after I bridged alone. Other ~6 riders pretty much sat up & we got caught a lap later. Thurlow was just riding 45+ to help his teammates, & gave them a monster leadout on the final lap before racing the Pro ½ Crit, then placing 3rd in the Pro RR on Sunday.
At least my form should be the best its ever been for the upcoming San Dimas 45+ stage race... Wayne
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
It almost felt like a small junior race with all of us at the front rolling out.
The weather was nice and warm with the sun not exactly shining but breaking through now and again. We started somewhat fast, around 25 to 26 but it really wasn't that hard to hang on considering we had about 120 riders in our group.
The first lap was quick getting sucked along at 28 mph. Just staying in the group saved you like 30% more energy than the guys at the front. There were a couple attempts at a break but since there was no wind with the nice weather, everyone was motivated to chase.
The only excitement in the race was the finish. Only one crash happened, thankfully, and I think everyone calmed way down after like 7 crashes the day before.
Coming up the feed zone hill for Snelling RR with about 3 or 4 KM to go , guys started getting shedded off the back. With two sharp corners right after that, we got strung out a little bit more. I t came back together somewhat before lifting back up. Then we hit the final hill.
Only 40 to 50 dudes were still together for the last hill, which we went up doing 28, so you really just power climbed it. I was on Brian Larsen's wheel moving up on the outside going up the hill, which was a good idea because it was crazy in the middle. I don't think anybody went down but it was totally sketch...again.
At the top of the hill with 400 meters to go I knew I was too far back to contest for the sprint. With 200 to go I tried to come around a few other guys but I had nothing.
I didn't think I would be up there for the finish but even though I had no sprint for the end I still finished in 17th, so I was happy.
Monday, March 5, 2007
When we got there we were told our kits had arrived which was awesome but meant we had to go back to the room and re-dress, ensuring only about 15 minutes of warmup.
We came to the line all looking like a team. Matching shorts and jerseys...cool.
The whistle blew and we were off! First lap Taylor Kuphaltd was off the front by himself. We
figured as mu;ch would happen but the field was big and strong so they dragged him back. A couple of more attacks went off but for the most part the group stayed together.
The biggest part of the race was the crashes. Logan Loader and Davi V. got into it a little from what I heard and Logan went down. Reno's own Joe Trujillo crashed as well but got back up to finish the race. He also went on to do the road race the next day as well as Loader. The whole race was super sketch, and really the only safe place was literally at the front or at the very back where you could see the crash and avoid it.
The race came down to the sprint finish. The last laps were fast but not unbearably fast and mostly it was all about positioning. My sprinter, Ben wasn't there so I was on my own when it came to the line.
Going into the second to last corner the whole group was strung out and the guys who had good positioning looked to be set for the finish. But on the stretch before the last corner there was a huge surge and everyone in the middle of the field were moved up to the front with all the other guys up there.
It turned into one big gallop for the line with a So Cal guy, Justin Williams, taking it ahead of Andy Goessling and Brian Larsen for the win.
Me, on the other hand, I came in a distant 7th. I was pretty content considering my sprinting legs are buried in alot of cold weather and snow but, whatever. The weather was nice (later on in the day), there were lots of spectators, the pro race was great...I had fun.
RR: Dean, Craig, Wyatt, Jeff
Full fields of 120 both days
Kevin, we missed ya and hope your knee heals quickly!!
We like March, his shoes are purple,
He is new and high;
Makes he mud for dog and peddler,
Makes he forest dry;
Knows the adder's tongue his coming,
And begets her spot.
Stands the sun so close and mighty
That our minds are hot.
News is he of all the others; Bold it were to die
With the blue-birds buccaneering
On his British sky.
Emily Dickinson, We Like March
The splendor of March has special significance for AMD-Disco's East-side contingent. An affirmation of the cold Winter toil (those from the Midwest, Northeast, and colder climes... go ahead, roll your eyes, you've earned it), March racing beckons us to forget about the likelihood of yet more snow, and we jump at the opportunity to briefly revel in the warmth and green of the Sierra foothills.
Micah and Fabien arrived at the house as Carlo Luri of Bently Biofuels was topping off my B100 drum in the garage. How I love those biodiesel housecalls! What could be better than keeping fuel at your house and filling up whenever you like? We set off at 4pm for Merced, and after recognizing that we needed to get out on the bike for a bit, stopped in Folsom to get on the American River BP at Auburn-Folsom and Greenback. We rode toward Sac and were struck by the beauty of the American River Corridor. There were fly-fishers pursuing shad in the twilight below Nimbus Dam and a coyote ambling across the path in front of us, and the whole scene was so peaceful that you could easily forget the setting of this slice of splendor- smack between highways 50 and 80, and all the attitudes of subwoofered Escalades and obnoxious Harleys.
After a quick bite at Dos Coyotes (oooohhh how I want one in Reno!) we got back on the road, arriving at the Mo6 in Merced at around 9:45pm. Better late than never! Micah and Fabien suited up at 6am Sat for their 7:30am race, and rolled out to registration where they found Joel with their much-anticipated new clothing. They were giddy. You'll be hearing soon about their 17-18 and Cat. 3 exploits.
The 35+ 1/2/3 crit went off under beautiful, warm conditions at 11am. Dean went head to head with Kenny Williams for one of the first 3 lap $$ primes (can't remember which) and came up barely short. The GIB (grocers in black) were numerous and very active, contesting all primes and frequently attacking. We covered the most promising moves, and when it was clear that efforts would not get more than a few seconds up the road, we focused on optimizing position for the sprint. With 8 to go, a mid-pack crash put a rider down hard, and two laps later the race was stopped in order to immobilize and transport the injured rider. Never heard how he's doing, but we hope it's not serious.
After 15 minutes of sitting idle, Tom Simonson added four laps to the count and restarted us. The pace was manageable and allowed us to set up well within the top 20. With about 8 to go Craig and I started to advance Dean into the top 10, working into fifth wheel by 1.5 to go. On the back straight I moved into third, then second position behind Mike Hernandez, and Dean was right on my wheel. Mike peeled with about 225m to go and I opened it up as best I could... Dean took care of the rest, and I hung on for third behind Brian Bosch, who true to his name did a fine job of drilling it himself.
After a quick breakfast downtown at Cafe Cinema, we were off again toward Snelling Sunday morning. I found myself in the seemingly ungrateful midset of wishing for poor weather... to no avail, as it turned out to be another beautiful Spring day. And a beautiful Spring day of competition on an unselective road course means either unexciting racing, or danger, or frustration- or possibly all three.
Attacks came and went mile after mile, but none of them got far up the road. Without wind, rain, or sufficient distance (three laps for ~75mi), everyone was simply too fresh and eager to chase. About halfway down Cox Ferry road on the last lap, a moto official seemed to briefly neutralize our field, yet there was no explicit announcement nor communication as to the rationale for doing so. A little later we became aware of the reason- we were gaining fast on the womens 3/4 field; with 10k to go we could see them at the top of the rollers and suspected that there might be a finishing conflict. With 5k to go, the 35+ field was wall to wall across the road and it was nearly impossible to advance. At the top of the last roller with 300m to the line, the main group of women was at the 75-100m mark and the speed differential was sizeable.... I had poor positioning and sat up, while Dean somehow made it through the entanglement and won the race! The scene was mayhem, and the situation could have been managed more wisely by both the riders and the officials. This certainly begets serious discussion at another time and place.
Dean's view of the finish:
"We went past a group of girl at about 2-3k to go, I thought that was "the group". My attention was on Williams wheel as we went through the last 2 turns, up the hill and I saw the 300m sign on the right, at this point I am 5 guys back and starting my jump hoping Jeff is still on my wheel. When I came around Kenny I see all the women and stop pedalling. My momentum rolled me past the bunchup and we know how much worse it would be if the riders in the front just slammed on the brakes. Being in a group with so many guys and it is curb to curb, I was not even looking up the road. All the focus was on the wheels around me. The official should have handled it another way and hopefully next time that person will have learned from their mistakes!"
In spite of the sketchy RR finish, it was a fantastic weekend for the 35+ squad. Back at the car, I was preparing to top off the tank with the 6 gallons of biodiesel I had brought from home. I often get inquiries about the toxicity, economy, and environmental benefits of biodiesel, and so when Craig made these inquiries after the road race, I took a sip and offered same to the team. I smell a tradition in the making. Next time I'll bring the champagne flutes!
Sunday, March 4, 2007
The Road race was a different story. It was the windiest day that I have ever been on the bike and I made it halfway through the 70 mile race when I called it quits because my hand hurt and I had been dropped. It was a good experience to ride with the junior national team, but a mostly unsuccessful race. Hopefully i will be back racing soon because the doc says that I should stay off teh bike for a couple weeks.