Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Little Bit Nervous

Alright, I'll admit, I'm a tad nervous about this weekend's races.  I've made the decision to race primarily 123 races this year in preparation for the World Police Fire Games at the end of June.  It seems to me, though, that in the past few years, everyone has gotten so fast.

Today is the Shamrock Crit in VA Beach followed by the rescheduled Snowball Crit in Chesapeake.

Here's hoping I don't end up on "You Got Dropped".

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Richmond International Raceway Cat 3 Crit 2015 Race Report and Pictures

The 2015 racing season is definitely underway. I have always loved racing this raceway crit. In the past, when it was a Cat 3/4 race, there were 100 entries. We don't get to ride those numbers very often. This year, like last, it was a stand alone Cat 3. Tim Shockley and myself made the drive up.  On the way we talked about our plans and goals for the race.  We decided to see what we could do to really mix it up.  We planned on spending the first 10 laps or so getting comfortable and moving around the field. After that we would look for a break, ideally 5-6 riders. We were not going to spend much energy simply chasing down attacks since it was only the two of us in a field of over 40.  

The race began:  

It really wasn't bad.  The wind was tough and at times pretty tricky in turn 2 and the back straight away.  Within the first 6-minutes, a break formed with 5 riders.  It looked good, and I thought to myself it was the break Tim and I talked about.  However, it was early...very early.  No one told them because that break survived with four riders who ended up lapping the field (which later actually caused a problem).

Tim and I worked at the front, doing our share but also looking for a second break.  This race is funny, the finish is tricky because it's so wide across.  You can be 5 feet from first place and be 20th. We were sticking to the goal of getting a break going.  A few attempts happened:

None of them stuck.  The final three laps I decided to get on Tim's wheel.  No real thought of a lead out, but he was riding well at the front and I thought it would be a good place to be.

It was a good place. Despite a few racers blatantly going below the yellow line to advance their position (hint: red jersey from Cutaway) Tim did a great job holding position and legally advancing us up.  Then, for some reason, two of the four break away riders tangled up behind me.  One went down and crashed into my rear wheel. I dint go down, but this is what I saw:

Tire was flat and I couldn't ride it anymore. I got off the bike and walked to the finish line to avoid a DNF. 

Unfortunately it was more than a flat tire:

The rider who went down ended up ripping the valve stem off and pulling a spoke from the rim.  I guess it could have been worse. No frame damage, no body damage, the rim is replaceable. Tim and were planning to double up and do the 123 race as well, but I didn't have a spare wheel so we hit the road.

Thank you to the promoters, this was again another great event.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

William and Mary Road Race- Cat 3 Race Report

I'm a little late on reporting this race but here it goes.  Mike Tamayo and myself made the short trip to Williamsburg to race the Cat 3 William and Mary Road Race Winter Classic.  We both discussed our goals and race plan on the drive up and they were pretty simple.
  1. Stay up right.  Regain confidence riding in a pack (no pack riding for me during the winter).
  2. Be able to keep an eye on the race.  Know who is up the road and what teams are represented.
  3. Mix it up in the pack sprint.
Basically I was using this race as a skills training.  I am pretty confident with my fitness level but I did do a lot of base building since I needed to reestablish my endurance after the last several years of dealing with my back issue.  Therefore I haven't really had the chance to work on high level efforts and I was not confident with being able to survive in a break.

Things were going exactly how I had thought they would.  First time up the KOA hill a rider from Careytown went up the road.  We didn't go hard up the hill and he just rode off the front.  Josh Moore and a VT rider followed.  No problem, if they wanted to exhaust themselves for the next 35 miles, go ahead.  However, the VT rider was dropped and the other two stayed out.  Within a lap they had 2:00 on the field.  As much as I wanted to chase, and Mike even asked if I was planning on it, I wanted to stick with my initial plan.  Not all races have to be about the results.  Sometimes you need to just ride some of them in order to race others.

At times the race did open up, gaps were created and we got strung out.  I was able to sit in, ride at the front when I needed to and keep an eye on the activity, close gaps as they formed and rode what I thought was smart riding.  Mike was able to do the same, I did feel the need to be on the front a little more than me in the final lap.  Especially when a small group got off the front after the final turn before entering the park.  The rest of the race seemed content to let it go, so was I.

In the final stretch I figured I would work to stay near the front and sprint, even if it was for 7th place.  I was on the outside as the picture above shows.  I'm not really sure what I was thinking but as I attempted to go around, the rider in front also was moving up.  I ran out of road and the grass was really wet and soft.  I went from near the front to the back instantly and just rode in, no sprint.

Overall it was a good race, good way to start the season.  Now I'm ready for Richmond Raceway.