Thursday, February 12, 2009

2008 Road Season Revisited

Please I ask you to stop reading now. This blog has been an amazing release for me. I dont want to get too negative but sometimes I think all this blathering on about my races and what I am thinking about and doing is no more than a smokescreen for something deeper or problematic in my psyche. I mean if your happy with who you are, truly at ease then you dont need a blog to brag about or talk about yourself right?

But regardless of the deeper meaning to why I have a blog I still find it very enjoyable and maybe even calming to think about a race and then to break it down to smaller elements and finally to wwrite about them. Brent taught me while he was my coach to think of three things you did good in a race and three things you could do better then let it go.

But i do a lot more than think of three things good or bad. I can dissect a race down to minutes if I am not happy with how I did or if I made a mistake. Writing about the event passed should then be where I "let it go", but for me its maybe just the beginning, but it does help. And sometimes it is the end.

So unless you want to hear me talk about 2008 all over again you can link over to any of the more interesting people's blogs that I read as well. But I think it will be positive and it certainly will be fun for me to write and I hope re-read about again in a few years.

The racing started at Malabar Farms. This was my first race with Tris and Brian. I was worried about my form as I had torn my mcl and didnt train much for a month. Brian's form was indeed strong as he soloed away form us early and Tris and I defended and chased down everything. What i recall the most from the race was feigning some strength on the long climb by setting what i hoped was a uncrackable pace each lap (but I was on ym max in actuality). That was untill Paul Martin flew by dancing on his pedals and super high cadence (think Lance attacking in the Tours) and left all of us gawking at each other as he bridged up to Brian and eventually soloed in for first.

Next came the RATL races. I did 3 of them and they were all fast and painful. LIke no races I hd been in before. Fast like a flat crit, but rolling up the finish hill at attack pace every lap. In the first RATL I tried to go in a break with Kirk Albers and some RGF guys and I was ridden right off the back of the break going at a sustained wattage like I had never done before. but I made the winning break in week 3 and in week 4 created the move that finally split the race. I got absorbed in the end, but Brian went on for a top 3. My lagging and not working anymore helped to solidify the last move, though it was quite an unpopular move at the time and cost me a good finish position myself.
Race for Alex
I also upgraded to cat.2 then celebrated by soloing away at the Race for Alex Masters race on lap 2 and won my first road race in probably 20 years. Tris took 2nd in the race too. We went on and raced the cat.2-3 race right after wards and Tris took another top 3.

The next week at Mill creek I followed up attacks from Brian and Tris and again formed the winning break early. The things I remembered from that race were how smoking hot it was and how much I wanted the race to be over. We formed that break so early in the race and somehow it stuck. It was miserable and I felt like I was racing in a pizza oven's conveyor belt, not a road.

At the State TT I did not reach my goal of a top 5, but I won my age division and was not too far out of a top 5. That race started out really hard, but got faster and faster as it went on. I averaged over 28mph the last half of the 38k.

This lead to Nationals!! Wow I finally went to Nationals, but this time not as a young college rider as I had dreamed back then, but a Master!! The day before warming up and then race morning could not have been more opposite. The wind had picked up and was blowing completely the other way. It was raining and cold to boot. A rider who was either warming up or had no business at Nationals (sorry) slowed up a tractor trailer with me behind for close to a minute only a mile into the race. But even with this delay I hit the 3mile mark in 6 minutes and made the turn around again at over 28mph. The time I lost would not have affected my position in my AG. But the head wind home was severe and my ave speed on the way home dropped to 26mph. But i can say that it was the single best time trial I ever rode and I am proud of that. I only got 15th in my age group, but 46th overall.

Back to road racing. We went to Shreve and again had a great team race. Andys Burns may forever be remembered as the guy who blew the race apart before it was 3 miles in. Basically the race was over almost before it started for most of the field. I had to bridge solo to a chase group to finally make the selection that already contained Batke and Tris. A true game of cat and mouse ensued and when Tris attacked and Matt Weeks of team Lake Effect bridged we finally let it go and settled into some easy riding with 1.5 laps to go. Coming into the last half of a lap I attacked, then Batke, then I went again through the 90 degree set of corners and got away for a solo ride in for 3rd. I sort of drifted off the front then drilled it out of both 90 degree corners. The run to the finish was thrilling, paranoid and so painful. But it was worth it, even for third.

At ZOAR Brian again showed how strong he is by attacking early and riding his break companion off of his wheel. Two more bridged up and Brian and Thom Dominic rode the last guy out of the break. On the last lap as we went down a roller the pace from chasing for so long relented just a bit and I used the next roller to attack really hard and built about a 20 sec gap leading to the stair step climb. Dan Quinlan lit up the field up the climb reducing my gap to seconds and Jeff Braumberger of Inferno was first to come across. We tried fruitlessly to stay away down the descent, but were caught. It was a fun attack, but I think I wont try it again next year, unless someone comes with me...hint, hint!!
orrville-R. Sroka
At Orrville I spent almost the entire race watching the front of the field as a large break containing Tris floated in front. Dave Chernosky was the only rider whom I didnt and couldnt follow or chase down and he made it to the break. But eventually we got so close I jumped across to try and drill the break away again. But the field came together and up the only climb on the course amazingly Rudy Sroka and Tris went again and no one jumped. So at the top I bridged across and we worked hard to break away. Out of the last corner I was third wheel and attacked when I noticed Tris and Rudy watching each other. Both guys exhausted from being in a break all day left me lucky and so happy to get win #2.

I then started to run as I wanted to do a biathlon by my house solo. I did a 5k race and then the JCB Biathlon. I finished the run in about 20th which was great and then had a slow start to the bike. I was catching everyone, but sadly (and I do mean that) Rudy got off course (easy to do at the turnaround) and I went past as he wound his way back on course. I caught the last guy on Shaker by Brainard road and from there just kept hammering because I felt so good.

At the Ohio State Masters Race I attacked some early, but mostly chased down Chris Riccardi who was attacking every few miles it seemed. Off of one of Chris's attacks Tris went and he and Erik Lesco of Stark Velo rode away from the field and out of sight in no time. Once they were away I tried attack after attack after attack, but I could get no where. Then when the right move went I didnt know the players in the Masters field and let two guys go that had the ability to stay away had I gone. Though I was so marked that day i couldnt make a move. My poor tactics aside Tris won out of the 2-man break!

And finally onto the new Elves and More Charity Greenford Road Race. Not the greatest attendance, but like Shreve, it just needs word of mouth. If this race is on in 2009, MAKE it!! The course is tougher than it looks and has a great finish. A long, low grade straight run to the finish line. The race was pretty crazy with attacks coming pretty often and counters just as quickly. It was after one attack that a break formed and in it was a tall Cat.1 from PA (Jake Lifson)that was just tearing my legs off with every pull. Sadly I was on his wheel the entire race and our paceline never changed. Again it was hot and a pretty long race too. You could tell from everyone's faces that everyone had some sort of pain going on. Everyone it seemed but the guy from PA. I had mentioned to Brian that I was done with two to go so dont be behind me if I pop!! But the relentless pace line finally slowed after the start finish on the last lap. We all hit one last gell and I got the pace line going again. About halfway around I decided to shoot my last bullet and started to rip it up this really long grade. I figured I'd go maybe a few hundred feet then pop and try my best to come in before the field. My plan was simply to kill every ones legs leaving Brian to spring away at his leisure. But when I turned around not only was I by myself, but the guys were tiny. Now I was in a spot. I was dead, but with such a big gap I had t try so I just rode (and untypically for me) with my Powertap and just held a wattage and high cadence all the way to the line. I was pretty far from the finish too with rollers and some short steep climbs left. Like at Shreve soloing in was so painful, paranoid (I was sure I was going to get caught and kept looking back) and so thrilling. Brian also jumped away at the end and took 2nd.

I wont bother with the cross season as I feel like I just finished blogging about those races. But that was my truly amazing summer of 2008.

No comments: