Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Morning Coach: American Pride Crit and Sprint into Spring Crit

Its been a little while since I have blogged.  I could point to many excuses but I think the item to blame most is my new iPhone.  The iPhone has kept me off my computer a lot and thus less chance to write on my blog.

A lot has occurred since the Richmond Raceway Crit.  I got hurt and so have been fighting a nagging injury.  This injury has reduced the amount of time I can train and at the level I can train at.  It seems to have zapped a fair amount of my power.  I didn't want to give up racing and relied on just experience to get me through some of these races.  Competing at the Roanoke Twilight race and Meadows Farm race required power and speed, neither of which I was able to produce.

After two consecutive drops, I needed a mental win.  My injury is improving and my training was getting better.  I was still very nervous entering into this weekends racing.  If I didn't do well, it could effect me the rest of the season.

American Pride Crit on Saturday, May 14th at Todd Stadium
I have always liked this course and it always brings good racing.  The forecast of rain may have kept people away, but the rain held out and the Cat 3 race had 20 or more participants.

Photo by Dan Gibson
Myself, Mike Tamayo and Jon Gray lined up representing the Virginia Beach Wheelmen.  The race played out pretty predictable, a few attacks that were chased down followed by a few more attacks.  Two back to back primes prompted a break of two riders, Byran Hoy and Kevin Horvath.  The Virginia Beach Wheelmen gave an effort to pull them in.  Kevin dropped from the break and as he was caught, I pulled off the front to find no one willing or able to pull through.  The pack sat up and Bryan road away with the victory and left everyone else fighting for second place.

There was a little confusion.  Two of Bryan's teammates had dropped from the pack and had been lapped.  At one point most of us in the field thought that one of those riders was Byran being pulled back in.  There was even rumors going on that the riders had dropped from the pack to help Bryan in the break.  I did not see any of that and I even asked my wife who was watching the race if she had seen it and she did not (of course she also said after the race "oh, was that the last lap").  The officials didn't see it, so I assume the rumors were just that, rumors.

Photo by Dan Gibson
Fast forward to the final lap.  I feel my strength lies in lead outs.  My team has racers that can sprint well but since Jon Nisbet, our primary sprinter is a Cat 2, sometimes my leadouts results in simply high placing for our team and not necessarily a win.  My top finishes have been from leading the pack out whether or not one of my teammates come around.  I guess that has been my "safe" finish.  The bell lap I was on the wheel of Mike Tamayo when I saw on opening.  I rode past him and told him to get on my wheel.  I made a shot for hole through the gate in turn number one and found myself on Terry Turners wheel in second position.  My thought was that I didn't know if my teammates were on my wheel or not but me being in the front would give the best shot a high finish.  If I stayed on Terry's wheel, I felt he would slow down the pace because he can sprint and someone else would attack.  So I got on the front and led out the sprint for the last lap.  I was first out of the final turn but didn't have it in my to finish my sprint.  My teammates were not on my wheel.  We finished with me in 5th place and John and Mike in 9 and 10th place.

Here comes the Monday Coach.  Since I didn't here from my teammate that he was on my wheel, I should have assumed he was not.  Instead of just leading out the pack, I should have attacked and tried to get some separation.  If it didn't work, I would have been in no worse position than I was, right?  Also, I hate the fact that we let a rider just ride away from the pack, we should have organized and brought him back.  These are all things I say sitting at the computer, but my legs and lungs dictated my decision on race day. 

Sprint into Spring.  Sunday, May 15th at Fort Lee
On Sunday John Gray and myself represented the Virginia Beach Wheelmen at Fort Lee in the Cat 3-4 Race.  We were both pretty active.  I had it in my mind to try and get in a break for this race.  John rode very well on the front of the race the whole time and covered a lot of attacks.  Nothing worked although I thought I was in a few that had potential.  So I will fast forward to the final few laps.  Once again a double prime with just 5 and 4 to go sparked a little activity.  A Richmond Velo rider took off and everyone just watched.  Since Richmond Velo had the majority of the racers, I knew they were not going to chase.  Then Terry Turner attacked.  Still everyone watched.  Terry caught and dropped the Richmond rider.  With two laps to go I decided I needed to bring him back.  I chased him down and caught him before the bell lap.  However, I fried my legs so I told John he was on his own.  The sprint didn't play out for us and John finished in the pack as I rolled in at the back of the pack.  We raced well but didn't finish well.

The Monday Coach in me is pissed about this one.  I absolutely should have attacked and bridged up to Terry.  I obviously had the fire power to catch him.  I kicked it a little out of the turn but I didn't attack.  Would I we have been caught, or would the pack had reacted?  I don't know, and if they had, the results would have been no different.  It boiled down to again doing the "safe" finish.  I chased a flier down to give my teammate the best chance of a win.  It seems though that maybe I am using sacrifices for the team to get away from putting myself on the line.  I have to get into my head that I want the win more than I fear the loss.