Thursday, May 14, 2009

Greenbelt & Italy

Quick thoughts:

1. Artist: Mos Def; Song: "Brooklyn" ... good stuff.
2. I saw a guy today who had the same bike/size that I do...that thing looked enormous. I should be a basketball player and not a cyclist...proportionally not right. I guess it makes for a good wheel to draft on.

Greenbelt #1:

Two things that became clear yesterday. First thing, Cat 1's and Cat 2's suffer just like the rest of us. Granted, they don't suffer quite as much as we do, but they do...and seeing that up close is good. That leads into number two, it is MUCH easier to race and not have to chase...being in the break or having a teammate in the break is a lot cooler than having to go to the front and try to keep the pace high to catch the guys up the road. I think thats what makes these guys 1's and 2's...they're smart about their racing. Put in the effort up front to make the break and you don't have to kill yourself trying to pull the break back after it is established. With about 5 to go I thought for sure that the break was gone. I put in a big effort for a lap to try to drag us back to the group and Win was sitting on my wheel (he had a boy in the break) and wasn't pulling through. (side note: The cool part of the 1/2/3 races I've done is that blocking is slightly different...there isn't as much pulling through and then sitting up; more just sitting on and not pulling through...I feel like that's more honorable. Anyway, we were sitting pretty around tenth (me, followed by Brandon, with Brig and Scott in tow) with 1 to go and ABRT swarmed around us. I started to panic a little as we were boxed in, but it opened up right before the bottom of the hill to the finish. Lead us out, Brandon battled for 5th, I rolled in for 8th (but it was pretty much shut down by it wasn't a true earned top 10).

Lessons learned:
1. Make the makes it easier on yourself and your teammates.
2. Know the finish to races and be patient in the run in...openings will happen.

It was a lot of fun. I hope to make more of them later this year.


We are going. We're staying in Lucca for stage 13 of the Giro. I'm debating taking the DC flag with me and waving that thing like a crazy mofo...even though there aint nobody from DC in the race. 10 days. It's going to be a good time.

Cheers and good luck in racing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fort Ritchie..and stuff.

3rd in the Cat III race.

Short story: made the break with Win (DCVelo - 1st), Gregg (Coppi - 2nd), and Steven (ABRT - 4th). We worked well together. The three of them seemed to be suffering less than I was during the break (even though they did more work than I did). With one to go, Win made the winning move on the little riser going into the turn 2. I followed Steven, who chased but didn't make it across. I gave it a go and was closing slowly, but didn't have it in the tank to go all the way...resorted to trying to out kick Gregg, who was on my wheel, for second but didn't pull it off. Podium and a prime (6 pack of Rockstar Energy drink...the guava is the best, but does weird things to your stomach if there is no food in there with it). Those guys are riding really well and it was cool to be in the break with them. Looking back, I should have gone with Win when he did. I knew that would be were the race would be won, but waited for Steven to react as opposed to going on instinct. Costly mistake. Win was the strongest on the day though, so it seemed right that he won.

Now about being in the break. How much does it suck not to make the break? I was thinking about that some yesterday and today and I got to realizing that it shuts down all your teammates from "racing". If you got someone up the road, your role switches to "cover the front", "block a little" (just not enough to really be annoying), "go with guys who try to bridge across", and essentially be a royal pain in the @ss for all the teams that didn't make the break...but you don't really get to "race" for the win. I compare Ft. Ritchie (which I went into with the intention of going up the road) to Carl Dolan (which we had the strategy of keeping it together to give Brandon a shot at winning the sprint) and I got to say that I enjoyed Dolan better. I wonder how it would work out if you combined the two into one...say as an example:

You save your sprinter and lead out guy for the finish. Everybody else tries to go up the road individually and establish a break with the other "strong" men of the peloton. Once the group has been established for a couple of laps/miles they sit on, killing the vibe of the break, and let the pack catch back up. Once the leaders are caught, you send another guy up the road to repeat the same actions until all the "strong" guys have been tuckered out...leaving the odds better at the finish for your leadout/sprinter duo. Dirty tactics? Sloppy racing? I'd have to defer to those who have been in the game longer to know what the ethics on that kind of strategy would be. Personally, I think it would be pretty cool to orchestrate and pull it off. Seems like it would work too in theory.

Next race is going to be the CSC (or whatever they're calling it now) 1/2/3 after 10 days in Italy with Kari. One of the many highlights of this trip is going to be catching stage 13 of the Giro as it rolls through Lucca (we're staying there for 2 days). I'll try to take pictures, but the Italian wine and food might get in the way. :)


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Country road...take me home...

to the place...I belong...WEST VIRGINIA!!!!

Last weekend:

Friday: 40 to 50 miles, Saturday: 77 miles, Sunday: 50ish miles ... < begin sarcasm > with just a little bit or "hills". < end sarcasm >

The team went out to Jay's Raw Talent Ranch out in good 'ole Mathias, West Virginia last weekend and it was awesome. Epic would be a word for the rides. Saturday's death march was the hardest ride I've ever done. At one point, I was rolling along in the 27 down an unfinished highway (large loose gravel/stones) on a ridge overlooking some of the most beautiful scenery I've seen in a long time. Jay of course looks over at us and smiles and says, "This is what is all about boys..". I reply with a "!!".

I'd put a lot of money on Jay vs. MABRA when it comes to going uphill...that guy has a motor and the ability to suffer past the realm of realization of any of us. One Stupid Wow.

I could go on and on about how great the barn is and how the roads out there are the perfect setting for cycling. But everyone that goes says that. If you haven't gone, go. Just do it and you'll thank me later.

We did a lap of the Lost River Classic. That race is going to demolish the unprepared. My guess is that the first two laps will leave half the field off the back in any category outside of the men's 1/2/3. We talked strategy about it and there are some pretty good ways to win that race. The finish is going to be wild. The climbers are definitely going to have an advantage out there, but those who have the balls to descend like a kamikaze are going to make up some serious ground as well (and maybe pull of the win if they're there at the end). I'm pretty excited about it.

No races for me this weekend (me and the wife are celebrating one year of marriage bliss), but Fort Ritchie next weekend is going to be something....I won't say anything this time, but it's going to be fun.