Monday, May 7, 2012

Richmond International Raceway Cat 3/4 Race

I have really enjoyed this race for the simple fact that we tend to have large fields.  In the past 2 years we have had 100+ in the Cat 3/4 race, this year was smaller but still had 60+ riders start the race.  Of those 60+, two of them were from Virginia Beach Wheelmen.  With only two of us we know we would not be able to 'control' the race, but we still really wanted to race aggressively.

John Gray and myself got in a good warm up:

Photo taken and enhanced by Dan Gibson.
We lined up ready to go, and we needed to be ready:
Photo taken by Dan Gibson

This seems to be a hard course to get away on, but I didn't want to rely on history, so if it looked good, and we missed it, I was going to chase it down.  Right off the bat, Jake King and a rider from Richmond Velo Sports took off and got a little gap.  Jake is always dangerous off the front and since Richmond had like 15 riders in the race, I figured they could shut things down if needed.  I chased it down.  The chase down told me my legs were feeling pretty good.

I'm not in the best shape yet, but John has been having a stellar year so far.  The thought was this, if we missed a break that need to come back, I could chase it down before it got too far out.   If the pack did not go with me and I caught them, one of two things could happen.  If I felt good, join them.  If I didn't think I could stay in the break, then I would slow them down and break them up.  John then kept an eye out and attacked to join or establish breaks in the hope to get him away. 

With just a handful of laps to go, a small break was up the road.  It was close enough that we should be able to catch them on the run into the finish, but far enough away that if we didn't make the move they could slip away.  With 2 laps to go I decided I needed to attack to chase them down.  The pack would either come with me and give John a chance to sprint for the win, or I could join them and sprint for the win myself.  As I approached, two of the three riders gave up, but the third, Kristian from Fat Frogs, kept going.  I was catching him, but it was taking a lot out of me.  As we rounded the first embankment on to the back straight away the pack caught us.  John was near the front and as the pack slightly slowed, he attacked.  It was a good move to try and go for the win.  The pack reacted and I was unable to get back into the top 10 riders so decided to just sit up.  It was a good move on my part considering the riders that went down in the second embankment.  John's move put him in great position, but it was a little too long and he was swallowed at the line but still managed a 10th place finish.  I came across, safely, in 47th place.

Our moves didn't pan out in a win this week but we were proud of our racing.  I have told John that you must want the win more than you fear the loss.  Of 60+ riders in that field, even the non sprinters think they have a chance to win or place high if it finishes in a field sprint.  That is why a lot of times the fly away move with a couple laps to go will tend to work, because no one wants to sacrifice themselves to catch that late move, even when they have teammates.  For us, a win by one is a win by all of us.  No one on our team has a problem with sacrificing for the team.  We know that sometimes, if you want the win you have to go for the win and not just settle for a field finish.  That is what we did this weekend.  Both John and I made our moves to win the race, it just didn't happen, but we can hold our heads high.
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