Saturday, May 10, 2008

RATL #4-Fast and Fun One!!

The last RATL A race was another stacked field. 44 racers from every team up here and some UPMC guys in there baby blues and a Summa rider (Jane Evely) who was fast at Westlake on Tuesday. My Torelli/Team Columbus teammates Batke and Tris were also there.

The cool and sunny race started out really fast. Cameron Jackson drilled it out of the lot and we flew up the climb the first two laps at 31mph. This high speed kept up and some breaks were being tossed off here and there. Some with varying degrees of threat and some covered by me, Tris and Batke. But one thing seemed certain, nothing was staying away for long. My only attempt at a break was to bridge up to some riders up the hill (I think an Inferno was away and Weeks went after it and I went after him). But a quarter of the way up the hill I thought I was closing fast on Weeks when Texas Roadhouse's Kirk Albers shoots by, crap must have been 5mphh faster than me. Just sick.

So mid-way through the fast race I am playing the caboose and look at my watch. 27 minutes in so i start to move up. Awhile later I decide its about time to watch lap cards and its 8 to go. With 6 to go I am near the front and Andy Clarke of RGF goes up the road solo. He was in the break Tuesday at Westlake so I go after him and when I come up I go in front and try and take a good hard pull so he knows I am not just there to suck wheels. We rotate and there is a gap, but Andy doesnt seem interested in a break with me till Batke comes up and yells "lets go."

So now were working and I am psyched. I am in the one break that looks like it might stick because weve got RGF, two Torelli's and Shawn Adams from Team Lake Effect is on too. YEEESSSS!! Of course it doesnt mean anything if it doesnt have Texas Roadhouse who also had Paul Martin in his National Road Championship jersey. Well as luck would have it they make the break too and do not pull the pack to us. We keep rolling and I take a pull out of the parking lot, but almost get dropped up the hill. I drill it past scoring staring at Paul's wheel and I just go till I am back on. WHEW-close one.

This continues till the bell lap. We have also now had a UPMC, my buddy Jeremy Grimm (RGF) and Jim Baldesare (Inferno)and my other teammate Tris Hopkins bridge up too. The last two laps get a bit crazy so I hope i get it right chronologically, but man was it exciting (at least from where I was sitting). Okay so Albers attacks and Batke is quick to counter. They roll off down the road. Now I am on the front and I am not jumping because I honestly feel great today, but I dont feel that great. Sitting to my left is Baldesare and sitting to my right is Grimm (two of the best sprinters around). And Paul Martin is trying to get Grimm to bridge. But hes not budging and neither is Jim. Then PM puts in one of his famous attacks on the other side of the road and goes after Albers and Batke by himself. No one reacts right away, not even the sprinters. Maybe everyone is feeling hosed!!

The UPMC takes a dig through the parking lot and Shawn also takes a dig. I get on both of there wheels, but I dont come around either and just slow as they slow. I am tempted to go for broke and try and bridge to PM, but my race is basically over because I cannot help bring sprinters to Batke who has a top 3 in the bag. Not that I had the legs to bring anyone up to PM, Batke and Albers!!

I look back a bunch because I do not want to get absorbed by the field, but I dont want to pull either. In retrospect I now wish I had worked with Shawn and the UPMC guy to stay away form the field or launched after PM and tried to hold his wheel... Darn, makes sense now!! But even when we got absorbed and Stefan Kadar jumped I sat there stuck to my saddle and just tried to stay at the front for the field sprint. So I probably had nothing left!!

Inferno lined up a few guys to the right over the bridge and RGF lined up 3 guys on the left. I couldnt get to the right so I took the left line and when they sprinted I sprinted, but as expected I wasnt very strong or fast, only sprinting a measly 711 watts, but I did hit the line at 32mph for an exciting, but not top 6 finish that I wanted. A lot of guys blew by me in the sprint, but I suppose none of them were in a break with the leg ripping off dudes I was with for 5 laps.

I had 26.9mph ave speed for the race too, but some guys said we went even faster. Thats fast for that course.

But I dare not complain!! After only 22 months of riding a bike I have either been very lucky or very observant to be making the right breaks with all Cat.1's and 2's this season. Many of those guys have raced for years if not decades. And I think as a team mate I am doing my job covering breaks, setting up later attacks and such stuff. Its been a great 3 RATL races I competed in and I thank the Summit Freewheelers and there staff for everything. See you all next season!!

Edit: Clarke, Batke and Albers broke away from us and Paul Martin bridged solo for a 4 up sprint. Batke got 3rd.