I decided to do just one race at the 30th Annual Berkeley Criterium. The nature of the course being technical, a bit bumpy, and having some climbing in it made me shy away from 2 races back to back.
I didn’t get the greatest start position and my first thoughts after the gun was “Some of you guys need to either get Speedplay pedals or start at the back.” :-)
I got to the front after a few laps. There were lots of attacks early on and there appeared to be a pattern.
Dirk attacked a lot. Mikes Bikes seemed to be getting guys into breaks, but I guess not liking the combination as the guy tended to not work and their guys behind tended to block for them. Specialized was working for Jeromy to win the Premier series and Craig Roemer was his policeman. He wasn’t letting anything without Jeromy go and he wasn’t interested in working in a break without Jeromy. Mike Sayers was aggressive as always.
I saw people doing dumb stuff and though I had the guy in front of me skid out in turn 4 one lap and scared the crap out of me, nothing bad happened and nobody that I saw went down. But all the more reason to get up near the front and stay there.
BTW, raise your hand if this has happened to you. You get up to the front and you pick a side/line, let’s say the right side. Then shortly after you get there the guy at the front of the side/line you picked sits up nobody goes around him and you get bogged down while the guys on the other side/line go around and now you’re back in 35th position again and get to start all over like Sisyphus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus Yeah, I see a lot of hands. Kind of like how you pick the faster lane on the freeway only to have it slow down while the lane you were in speeds past. :-)
Anyway, cutting to the chase we were active in the race. Jason was active, Dean was in one move and lurking near the front the whole race. I was active, but nothing was sticking for much more than a lap or two. Late in the race Jason got away for a few laps, but nobody joined him and he was brought back with 4 or 5 to go. Dirk countered and got a slight gap. With 4 to go I went into control the race for our sprinters mode and spent most of a lap on the front bringing Dirk back. A couple of guys went around me and when I looked back we had a gap. I’m not sure why as I hadn’t attacked and I KNOW that I wasn’t riding so hard that nobody could hang. I think somebody must have been a little tired and sat up and more or less said “somebody else do this”, or somebody (maybe Craig) sat up to let the gap open because of who they had up front.
The group consisted of myself, Mike Sayers, Jeromy, Scott Broomstead (all registered 35+) and Dirk and Dan Shore (registered 45+). With Jason and Dean behind I didn’t drive the group. With Specialized, Mikes Bikes and Folsom Bike represented, the pool of potential chasers was small and our little gap was holding. Between turns 1 and 2 just after seeing 2 laps to go Mike Sayers attacked. I saw him go and was in position to try and follow but didn’t. For this I have much regret. After the fact it is easy to second guess why I didn’t go. The two biggest reasons were that I had just make a 1 lap effort to close down Dirk and was tired, and I wanted somebody else to do it. Of course nobody did. I wanted to make the same move on the last lap but when we got there the opportunity didn’t present itself. This is where I made my second mistake. We came around turn 2 and I wanted to move up. I started to, but got a bit passive and didn’t fight for a better spot and ended up where I started which was behind Dirk, Jeromy, Scott, and Dan. Through turns 3 and 4 and we sprinted out of the final corner. I was closing on Dan, but ran out of time and finished 6th across the line and 4th in the 35+.
1. I should have gone with Mike. Even in the worse case I would have finished in the same spot, last in our group and 4th in the 35’s. In the best case I might have latched onto the winning move. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Yeah I was hurting, but that is why that kind of move works, because EVERYBODY is hurting and the guy who wins does so because he ignores it and lets everybody else give up. I know this, but when it counted, I was weak.
2. San Rafael is more or less a race for the final corner. Yeah, somebody like Dean can probably come around a few guys, but for somebody like me it’s hard as the sprint it too short to get up to speed. And what that really means is that it’s a sprint for turn 3. And what that means is that coming out of turn 2 is when I should have gone hard. The best case would have had move quickly moving into 2nd and then sprinting around before turn 3 and then holding my lead to the line or getting taken by 1 or two guys. In the worst case I might have had to drag race all the way to turn 3 and then continue to the line. Similar result and in either case a higher finish would have been the end result.
3. Even though I first did this race in 1988(!) and I’ve done it many times I should have taken the time to think about the finish. Had I taken the time to think it through I would have known to make the big effort half way through the last lap as opposed to trying to weigh the best option in the fog of oxygen debt.
All in all though it was a fun race, but I wish I could have a “do over”.
This past weekend was the national championship mtn bike marathon nationals in Sun Valley, ID. This is a superb and demanding 20 mile course we complete 2x. I raced here last year, finished 3rd and had a blast, which put it on my short list of target races for 2014.
Preparation for the race this year was moving along smoothly until I got sick 2 weeks ago. Whatever, I was still going to race even if I wasn’t in top condition though I thought I’d be okay.
The race starts harmlessly with a 2.5 mile bike path roll-out that leads to a 15min fire road climb. I settled in nicely and didn’t think I went too deep as we finished the climb and started the 40min singletrack traverse/climb to the top of the course. This is where things started going south. I couldn’t sustain any power on the singletrack. I got passed by a couple guys and felt so poorly that I stopped pedaling and thought about pulling over. Not good. I settled in and tried to gather it in but was only going about half as fast as I should have been. Miraculously nobody else passed me before I started the descent.
I started the descent in about 7th place and felt horrible. I did what I could and made sure to not crash but after the descent and the small climbs within had dropped out of the top 10. I grabbed my bottle at start/finish and latched on to 3 guys on the bike path to see if I could recover. I drank the entire bottle in 5 min and had some food as we started the climb.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but didn’t want to quit so I just focused on the wheel in front. Well, I started feeling better, not sure why but I did. I had another feed coming near the top of the climb and had dropped the guys I followed on the bike path. On the long singletrack climb I passed another guy and tried to maintain power.
I started the final descent in about 9th position but I wasn’t sure. The second time down was much better than the first and I ended up passing 3 guys in my category before the final section of singletrack – I thought I might salvage a podium spot so I kept the gas on. Well, I ended up sixth. My time was 7min slower than last year and somehow rode a faster second lap than first (that’s how bad the first was). I am disappointed but still had a great time.
Thanks to Wilson and Erin for the bike loan.
Next up – Cascade!
E2/3 race report:
The team went out in force to race the NCNCA TT/TTT Championships in Sattley, just north of Truckee. Here are the results:
Brian Choi won the 40-44 individual TT
Dan won the 45-49 individual TT and set a new national record with his time of ~48:28. He broke Kent Bostick’s old record of 49:57 by almost 1:30!
Kevin won the 50-54 individual TT
Kevin, Dan, Jason Walker and Chris Lyman won the TTT – Pro category
Scott Kingston won the TTT – Open 1234 Category (with 2 non FB riders)
Gus and Angie Platis won the Tandem Elite Mixed category
Riders: Dan Bryant, Jason Walker, Chris Lyman and Jason Boynton.
4 stages 3 days scored as am omnium. Dan loves that…
Stage one. Diamond valley course. 5 laps. We figured that we could do pretty well. Hot and a little windy. The race started pretty fast, a few guys tried to get away but nothing could really stick or get a big gap. On lap 3 of 5 we decided to go hard in the little crosswind section. I went to the front just before in the headwind and kept it hard as we entered the crosswind. As luck would have it 4 of us had a pretty good gap and so we pushed it. Walker and a couple other guys bridged up and we picked up Brannon Daly and another and we were 9. Dan was able to bridge up solo and we had 10. Walker, Dan and myself 4 or 5 thirsty bears and a couple of others. It took a while to get coordinate but eventually we got everyone working and built a pretty good gap. On the final lap, dan hit the two climbs hard; softened the field on the first and then blew the field up on the second. He got a small gap with Brennan, I then bridged up to Phil Haynes of TB and walker followed on the downhill. We caught Dan and Brennan and we were 3 on 2. We took turns attacking and Dan finally got away with about 5k and held it for the win. Behind walker and I sat on Phil’s wheel until about 400m to go. Walker attacked first and Brennan followed. I was on his wheel and when Jason slowed I went and ended up 2nd and JW held Brennan off for 3rd. 1-2-3.
Stage two. Awesome circuit race at the beautiful fernley raceway. Tons of fast turns and wide open. Super hot and super windy.
The race was fast and hard. A few early moves couldn’t stay away in the brutal headwind start-finish section. Hans of TB got a little gap about halfway through and after the S-F Brennan bridged up with me on his wheel. We where able to build a minute+ gap and held it to the finish. I was 1 vs 2 and got impatient at the finish thinking we might get caught when we were almost track standing coming to the line and ended up leading Brennan out and he came around me for the win. Behind Walker won the field sprint for 4th and Dan showing that he can sprint go 6th.
Stage three. Diamond valley TT.
Not much to say but 1-2-3 again. Of course Dan won at around 19:30, I was second at 19:55 and Chris showing he recovering from his injuries came in third at 20:00. Walker finished well enough to maintain 3rd overall, but by only 1 point over Brennan and a couple more to Phil.
Stage four. Downtown Minden crit.
Goal was to make sure Walker finished ahead of Brennan. Thirsty bear was super active as was Roemer and Dirk. Chris and I killed ourselves to keep it together and we came to the line in perfect position. Roemer, Walker, Richard Steele, me, and Daly was behind. Walker took the win with Steele second and me third. Dan finished safely but too far back and Walker jumped him for 2nd overall.
When all was said we went 1-2-3 overall: JB, JW, DB with Chris riding like a champ and doing all that was needed to keep the overall as it was.
Next up Cascade.