Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A few cherished moments

And into the hall of memories of 2007 I go.....

-Mid-Ohio Grand Prix I race up in the Cat3/4 race, my first race in forever. Remembering how I used to race crits (not well) I am aggressive from the get go, bridge to breaks that look good and am near the front on the last lap and take 10th.

-At RATL on Team Snake Bite we had Gary Burkholder in the breakaway with Noah, and two Stark Velo riders. The gap is somewhere between 30 to 45 seconds (maybe more?) and the race is coming to an end. We decide I am less likely to be marked then John Ehrlinger as he's won one and been 2nd already so off I go up the climb really hard, no one tries to go with me and I close the gap solo and then take 3rd out of the 5 man break in the sprint. Better timing and it could have been a Snake Bite 1-2 as Gary wins the sprint with a LONG sprint!! What a feeling and boy did I go all out.

-Again at RATL I watched in amusement as a rider attempted a breakaway up the climb, but due to the gear he chose he was sprinting like a mad man, bike swaying back and forth, arms flexing, face contorted in the effort and he wasnt going any faster then the peloton!!

-My first Time Trial in 17 years at Presque Isle and I am on my Cannondale with clip-ons. Mike Vannuci gave me an interim set-up and I am going 27 to 30mph on the out. I get 5th out of 170 or so and win my age group. What a feeliing of freedom to rip along at that speed again.

-Chippewa Creek as a Cat.4. I remember this course from doing club races on it back in the day, but who cut off the last mile of the climb? I swear it was a lot steeper and went on a lot longer. Snake Bite had a good team race, controlling the pace and trying to make it hard. Pete Scacheri and I pushed the pace on the climb and I tried a solo breakaway (to my demise), but I still took 3rd.

-I decided to Cat. up early (after Chippewa Creek) and got my Cat.3 license so I could do Cat1-3 races instead of Cat3/4.

-At the Team Lake Effect hilly Hinckly Time Trial I go out too hard on lap one and swear I am going to die the whole lap 2. I have never wanted to stop pedaling so much in my life. I am rewarded with 2nd place overall that day for the pain (and some cash to spend at Bike Authority).

-State Time Trial. Nearly 40k (37.9km) and I lose my 40-44 age group by 1 lousy second. 23.5 mile Time Trials are insanely hard both mentally and physically and this course never let you get in a rhythm. This reminds me that everything and every second counts in a race against he clock. I get 10th overall too.

-In the blisteringly hot and hilly Cat.3 State Road race I have a great race tactically and make the winning break of 3!! I only go hard once and that was to make the break away, but I dehydrate with no one to hand up bottles and not taking enough with me at the start and I bonk in the breakaway!! I struggle to finish and get 5th after getting passed by 2 guys. I was probably the last finisher too-almost everyone else abandoned.

-At one particular Westlake A race Tom Frueh and Paul Martin have made a gap. In the chase group are guys like Jeff Braumberger, Rudy, Tris, Dave Chernosky. I am taking monster 29mph pulls and closing the gap to PM and TF, but alas no one else is pulling through as hard to close the gap. In the sprint I know I need to be no lower then 3rd to be top 5, but Rudy gets me before the line and I am 6th. But it was a big day for me as I was really strong with strong riders. Some guys said I could upgrade to Cat.2 this season with a race like that (cat 4 to 2 in one summer). I am still a cat.3.

-ZOAR was a wet and cold race this year. I got dropped every lap on the climb and every lap I stuck it in the 53-11 and chased the front group down. A lot of guys should have thanked me that day. I got off the front group on the last lap with Batke and Quinlan way up ahead. After being solo for a few miles I am slow again up the climb and get caught near the top. If I could have stayed away just over the top I really had a shot at soloing in for 3rd I thought. I contested the wet and fast bunch sprint which was crazy and exhilarating and got 8th overall.

-I go to the TOP Time Trial in August to try and snag a 19 minute solo run. Anything 19 minute would have been fine. I find on warm-up the course isnt as fast as a previous time I was there with Thom winning a 2-man TT in 19:45, but I will go all out, especially up the hilly 2nd half. Its quite humid so humid air isn't fast. I roll across the line and see 19 flash by and think Ive just gone from 19 to 20 minutes (lack of oxygen to the brain!!), but in fact I set a new course record at 19:05. My first and only course record!! It felt great then and still does as I type this.

-Team work is what it was about at the Summit Freewheelers Fall Challenge. After being aggressive early and being in the small front group, I get dropped out of the break when Dan Quinlan ramps it up on the climb and my legs are screaming and wont respond. The rest of the race saw Snake Bite team mate John Ehrlinger yelling and encouraging and orchestrating the peloton to chase, chase and chase for two laps. We lose time and the lead group loses time due to cars, but some solid pulls by different riders and John and I and we actually make contact with the strong breakaway group (Quinlan, Batke, Tris, Evans, etc.). Almost unheard of in Cat1-3 racing, at least in Ohio. I try a solo from about 1.5km to go, but I go pop up the last roller and roll slowly in for 10th.

-I time trial like mad all late summer to prepare for Presque Isle. I go to Jim Behrens Thursday night time trials to try different pacing strategies as well as test new positions on the bike to get more speed. Then I go to Presque Isle feeling cocky and ready to go and I miss my start by a minute and 9 seconds(I was real early like top 10)!! I am instructed to just go and with a borrowed Zipp dimpled disc wheel from Bike Authority I want to make the best of my equipment, but I find myself getting and losing motivation the whole run. Its cross windy and so its hard both on the out and in and theres no ripping along at 30mph, instead its a hard 23 to 28mph all the way. It feels like pedaling in mollasses all the way, but I still end up 9th overall with the added time, but my real time put me 4th overall, 2 seconds and possibly less out of 3rd!! A nice improvement over the spring PI TT and a good way to close out the TT season.

-The rest has recently been blogged about and thats cyclocross. I am now on a cyclevation till December 27th. No riding for 16 days?? I honestly am scared about one thing at this point. Weight gain!! How sad, next thing I'll start worrying about how I look in jeans and asking things like "Do these lycra shorts make my butt look big?" Yikes!! Well, no worries, I am off to have a couple Belgian style Ales tonight!!


Scott said...

Thanks for the great blog reports from 2007. Living out west I'm glad to see so many bloggers in OH that I'll be able to keep up with the scene out there next year even though I won't be able to race with you guys.

Ray Huang said...

Hey Scott-please keep in touch about the racing out west and any epic rides!! I'll keep checking your blog.