Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cat 5 PLRR Recap

Well Cat 5 had an eventful race and most important of all we showcased our improved bike handling skills and did not crash ourselves or crash anyone else. Hats off guys, your improvement was great.

Our strategy was different this time and I will be bold and say it was successful. Our main goal was to get Clarke and Ale to the finish line to hammer the sprint and they did so placing in the top 10 or very close to it (can't find results yet). Our wildcard play, Joel, hammered an excellent race and I don't think we supported him as much as we could have but he still brought it in third which is stellar. Joel, you're a monster. Darcy gets a huge props for filling the role of captain for the team on the last half of the race and rolling with the main group at the finish.

So the rest of us, what happened? Well, we all did our jobs. Rui and Aryeh were patrolling for the first third of the race. Unfortunately a weird rythym change (brakes on the uphill) on a climb knocked these guys into tough spot. I lost track of Carl but I assume he was powering the mid section of the race with Alan. Carl and Alan are machines, it's frightening. I watched Jay and Joel power up to the front on the descent in the first lap, awesome work Jay. I lost my marbles at the midway point and got dropped on the descent (which is pretty embarassing) but hey, what can you do? I chased David for awhile but then lost contact and hung in there with MikeH to the finish. MikeChui dropped his chain at some point and it was a moment of comedy as nearly everyone yelled at the poor guy to go left and get out of the pack, he caught back on though. AndyH was just behind us I think and he rocked a solid race too. Mark Shand was showing some wicked legs too.

Tactically, the race was ok but I think there are some things we could do differently. I noticed the other teams are bolstering their cat5 ranks. While we outnumbered the other teams we were still out foxed by a break. Those hardcore guys live up to their name. Bici and ERTC were each rolling with 4 or more bodies which is a good thing to note. Also, the fact that a break has worked two races in a row means it's time for us to start working that way as well. Our training rides are going to change as we ramp up the suffering. We had an offer to work with some of the dudes from CrankMasters and I think we dropped the ball there a bit too. Sorry CM, we'll get it right eventually.

I know there are some dissappointed feelings out there in cat 5, don't get too down guys we'll use it as motivation and come back smarter and stronger for Devon.

In case I missed anyone please let me know, my memory sucks sometimes.


Thomas said...

I posted a RESULTS link in the sidebar next to "Pigeon Lake".

Good job guys. To have 1 guy in the top 10 let alone the top 3 is a success.

RobWoolley said...

Whoo, thanks Thomas, I am an idiot and I apparently got DQ'd too.

I only crossed the centerline because of the sketch-case in front of me . . .

Darcy G said...


Thanks for the post. Rob, I suspect the results are tentative, and the ABA folks will be tracking back through the finish camera photos to sort the placings out. I crossed the line with a bici guy, and I'm pretty sure my number was obscured. If you know who you crossed the line with, drop the ABA a note so they know what to look for in the photos.

Great work everyone!

Andy H said...

I got dropped during one of the quick stops on the hill climbs. I was in the wrong gear when the pack accelerated and was not able to get caught up.

I have only raced a hand full of race but this is the first time the stopping was happening on every hill. Does anyone know why it was happening?

For future races what can be done so I/we (the team) don't get caught in it?

Andy H said...


I would like to thank you for the pack training you did. I was only in the pack for about 15 KM however with the surges and stop I felt more comfortable, although still a little timit.

Darcy G said...

Big thanks to David M. for pacing me back to the group after I got dropped on the big descent first lap!

Andy, I'm not sure why the pace was so off and on at the beginning. A lot of other guys were getting pretty vocal about it, too. I do have a suggestion for the next race. At the start line most of the team wound up lining up at the back of the pack. Even with the neutral start it meant we had to work our way up through the group, and we were caught up in all the stopping and starting. I recommend for the next race we try and set up closer to the line at the start.

Chewy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RobWoolley said...

Yeah, Darcy's on the money, we were a bit far back in the pack at the start. Still, I was about 15 wheels in and it was odd. I think there were some rookies that might have been anxious. I don't think my yelling was making them any more relaxed. We'll sort it out.

Chewy said...

Not that I've rr lot, but the pace was weird at the start.

For some reason, the front group turned into a double at the start of the far-end hill. I figure I'll bridge up to the front with a couple guys around me. I was in the middle of changing my gears when the group slow down again and I don't even know how my chain fall.

After my chain dropped (and saw Rob Lucas with his broken chain), I wanted to catch up to the group and at least "race" to the end.

I got close at the bottom of the big climb just as the group was going over it but I couldn't quite catch on in the downhill. I wish Dave was there LOL.

By the start of the 2nd lap, I weren't sure what to do but I figure I'll continue to TT until I drop. At least, I'll get practice for ST ITT.

Even though PLRR turned into a "16km RR + 52Km TT" race for me, it was a great event and workout. My legs is still sore when I ran over lunch.

Chewy said...

Is the ABA results correct...how did the 9th and 10th place finish have 20 minute differences?

Thomas said...

I wouldn't get to caught up in the actual times on the results page, but the placings are probably accurate.

Darcy G said...


Cam at ABA mentioned they should be updating all the placings today. As Thomas, mentioned, don't sweat the times.

Chewy said...

Aww...gotcha. I was starting to get nervous if I was 20+ mins behind the pack.

Joel said...

The placings seem accurate from what I recall of the final group...I know I won the uphill sprint for 3rd and Clarke and Ale were right behind me by mere seconds. Great race guys!! The last 8 or 10km was fast and lots of fun trying to hang in there. I had a great time and can't wait for the next race.

Clarke E said...

Yeah, I wasn't 20 minutes behind that group...considering I was in the group. Maybe they wanted to penalize me for chasing down some cat 6's and then blowing up before the finish line?? LOL, just kidding.

That was a fun race though, and I learned that Joel is a monster on the front, leading the pack for quite a bit and then leading seven guys, including Ale and I, to the finish and still winning the sprint.

I;m really looking forward to the next road race, hopefully Devon. Besides, that annoying guy (just kidding, you're just too fast) from Hardcore will be in Cat 4 now, so we have a chance.

Joel said...

Stefan from Hardcore was clearly the class of the field and a nice guy as well, making it hard to hate him :)

He might be Cat 3 now (?) Clarke so Devon could be your chance to shine.

Chewy said...

I was hoping to see how far back I was from the group to see where my fitness is now and if I could have hung on with you guys to the finish.

I'm out dudes...see u at the crit!

alejandro H said...

Nice work to everyone in Cat 5!! I think we still have some work to do as a team in terms of tactics, but as far as solid dudes we are killing it!!

Nice work on the 3rd plc Joel, after riding w you on 22x I figured you had it in you! Also a shout out to Clarke for putting the hammer down in the last 10-15km with Joel and I, good times!

Clarke E said...

Thanks guys for the shoutouts, but I was just holding onto that pack in the last 10km or so. Ale and Joel looked ultra strong and I was very impressed. I think it's a big victory that we got 3 people in the top 10!

Are you moving up to Cat 4 Joel, or will you still be around to pull us around the races in Cat 5 for at least one more?

Joel said...

Not too sure Clarke. Still waiting for my secret upgrade point decoder ring to figure out the rules. Either way, we should get out for some training soon!!

jmeakin said...

Thanks to the Team for a super effort. Rob and Darcy deserve a thumbs up for giving everyone a mission. I went as hard as I could when called upon and found my limit!!( i do remember trying not to get run over after I blew up. other than that it's a bit of a blur) Next time I'll try and keep a little in the tank so I can stay with the pack til the end. Congrats to Joel, for a great placing. See you all at the TT.

AlanO said...

Great work everyone! Our team did excellent, thanks to the vets for putting a plan together.

Josh said...

Hello ST dudes...

Stefan is out of Cat 5. If I can go top 5 this weekend at your race I'll be out of Cat 5 as well. Fingers crossed, I'm looking forward to it, the starting ramp sounds like fun!

Let's hope someone else realizes that the breakaway strategy is the way to go once both of us are gone.

Two other comments... I think 20 minutes was our deficit to the start of the Cat 1/2 race so it only makes sense that the unofficial results still have a 20 minute offset in the ones that haven't been finalized. Also regarding the start-stop pace during the first half of the lap (I can't comment on later) I think a large portion of it was the fact that people not near the front don't really realize that you are doing 35-40 kph most of the time. Whoever is towing the peloton is working pretty hard and at every moment when they are switching around and drop back to only 30 kph there's a little wave that goes back through the group. A smoother pace requires that the guys up front are co-operating and keeping the effort level high. I was sitting about 12th wheel for the first 20 km and can tell you that the people out front of me were definitely working, I just don't know how much co-operating was going on as rotating out of the wind was mostly just a jumble. That might get better as the season rolls along and Cat 5 gains more experience (or you have to upgrade into cat 4!). The accordion effect is much less when you're closer to the front of the pack, and to be honest 3rd wheel has the best draft of the whole pack, the draft doesn't get better the deeper into the field you go.


Carl Miiller said...

I heard back from the Pigeon Lake guys and aparently my number was obscured so I didn't get a time. I didn't get DQ'd. I mention this because this might be the case for some of our other riders too. Unfortunately, I don't think I finished high enough for points :( (somewhere between 10-15th place looking at the times).

There was alot of surging in the pack this year. I'm surprised (and glad) we didn't crash. I think guys were touching their brakes alot. I spent the first lap at the back of the pack, hoping to save energy, and planned on moving up for the second lap to unleash some "serious hurt". But... I found myself always getting stuck behind guys that were dropping off. I had to hammer my way back to the Paleton several times and emptied my tank a bit too early. By the second lap, someone else was driving and I was tagging along for a lap of suffering. Apparently, I wasn't the only ST guy suffering because I recall seeing alot of "frothing at the mouth" from my mates in black and red.

Sorry for not having the hammer for you guys at the end. This race was a learning experience for me. At least I got a really good workout!


Darcy G said...

Looking at Steve's vids, it appears the finish camera was pretty low to the ground. That's probably why some numbers were obscured.

Sagewood said...

I'd like to give a big shout of Thanks to Mark Shand and Andy Hill. I had a lot of fun riding with you guys .

Mark, I think you could have dropped us anytime. Thanks for sticking it out with us.

Andy, thanks for hauling me through that final couple km's. I was toast!

See you guys at the WNS or on The Ring.

Brian Beaulieu

yep, we read your blog too...

stefan.schreiber said...

Hey Joel, Clarke and all the other guys here!

Thanks! It was a very good race and I enjoyed it (pretty intense though). As Josh mentioned I'm in Cat4 now and kinda sad to leave you guys already. Maybe we can chat more often on race days and I hope the Cat4 reports are as much as good as the Cat5 reports.
Anyway, see a bunch of you on Saturday!

Joel, good luck in Oliver!

Take it easy!


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