Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CAT 5 - 4 ever

The Jason Lapierre event was a fun Road Race for us lowly cat 5ers. Before I begin, I want to put out some thanks to a bunch of guys who did a lot of work at the front. There were a few gentlemen from the Nilkas Group that did yo-mans work at the front. Jeff from Rundle Mountain, Smiling Carl from Speed theory and a handful of others kept taking it on the chin for the rest of us.

The race started of very slowly. For the first couple of minutes I thought that we were in a neutral zone for some reason but once I learned that there was no neutral zone, it was time to ‘giddy-up’.
Depending on where you were in the pack, it seemed like we either going very slow or very fast. At the front, the surges would come on with regularity and I had to put the hammer down, but if I was in the pack, a surge just meant my HR had to go up a few beats.

It was very difficult to make any sort of break away stick. The flat course with a large bunch of riders at roughly the same level of fitness meant breaking away would take a Herculean effort. Some tried valiantly. I tried on a couple of occasions to sneak up the side and launch off the front either by myself or with a team mate. Usually someone would see me lurking and would latch on before I made the front, or the front guys would hammer up quickly and haul the pack with them. It was fun but they took their toll.

There were a few really hard attempts made by others. Alan O. made an impressive, albeit suicidal, attack near the turn around immediately after an attack that caused some good pain and suffering around the interchange. I imagine I wasn’t the only one feeling the hurt. Jeff from Rundle Mountain and a few others made some attempts to shake us loose on the home stretch but the pack would not let anyone go no matter what. There were a few dicey moments when the pack would shift violently to one side of the road then to the other. I thought I was going to be taken out (or take someone out) on a few occasions. I hope I didn’t cause any scary moments for anyone.

The finish was interesting in that we start cranking up the pace quite some distance from the finish line. As the group started to splinter, my only thought was to get back up towards the front before the final sprint. I was concentrating on NOT doing anything stupid, like say take out half the pack by hitting someone’s wheel when all of a sudden we were 20 meters from the finish line. We were at full speed but I still had some horse left in the tank. It was all but too late to make use of whatever I had left in my legs when I crossed the finish line.

12th place is not anything to write home about but I know I have it in me for top 10 or better.

It seems that every race I learn something about racing and about myself. The camaraderie between riders sure makes it fun and I get to meet some interesting people. I’m way more capable than I ever thought I was so look out next year; I’m gunning for number 1! (but, can I stay in Cat 5 forever?)


[Editor: The first photo is of Handsome Rob winning the Cat4 JayLap RR and moving to Cat3 !! The second is of Paul's win in the Cat5 event.]


Darcy G said...

I think ST can claim the only stage race all year where the crit had more elevation gain than the road race. Needless to say, I didn't have the legs on Sunday. Great show by Paul to pull out the win. I can't say I contributed much to the cause.

Thomas said...

Nice throw Rob!

Steve P said...

It certainly was an awesome race. Tom, where did you get that awesome pic?
(EDIT: spelling)

Trev said...

I emailed Jeff Davis, the dude handling the Finish-Lynx camera. That is the official finish shot of the Cat4 RR. When Rob told me he won it by half a wheel, I knew I had to track it down!


Fergus said...

To be the guy who lost it by half a wheel, that pic will haunt me until next season! Fantastic race though... thanks for the quality event!

Lockie said...

Great way to cap off the season, big guy! Got to be stoked about that.

Kailee said...

It was an awesome race weekend!! Congrats to everybody for doing so well! And a big thanks to all the volunteers and organizers who worked so hard to put on such an amazing event. It's been a great year of racing and I can't wait until the next season begins :)


M said...

Wow...sound like I missed some good action this weekend while I was in Kelowna.

Nice finish Rob!

RobLukacs said...


Are you close to moving up to Cat 3? It was a great finish! Next season we can struggle with the 3's and do bike throws across the line for last place.

And thanks everyone for the comments, definitely stoked about moving up with a win. Some hill climbs or a weight loss diet will be in order

Peter said...

A bit more color on the Cat 5 race...

The start of the second lap is when I thought the first real sustained attempt to break up the pack started. Carl initiated it and did most of the work. A few other ST guys were in the mix up front, along with (I think) guys from ERTC and RMCC. We drove the pace hard for at least a kilometre, which splintered the field. A chase pack apparently formed and the dropped riders caught back on when we slowed to catch our breath.

The final few kilometres were interesting. Several guys tried to attack off the front, which seemed like the wrong strategy to me. Nobody could bust lose, and the field stayed largely intact. Coasting along somewhere mid pack, I saw the finish fast approaching. With about 500 metres to go, I found myself in an unusual position--in contention in the closing kilometre of a road race. That was exciting.

I decided it wasn't exciting enough, however, and moreover, I was anxious about a Cat 5 field sprint into the funnel-like finish. So I decided to have some fun and attack from mid-pack. I launched over to the left and galloped off, or tried to. In an ideal world, I would have taken everyone by surprise, gapped the field and solo'd to victory. But as everyone knows, we don't live in an ideal world. I think it was the guy from Synergy, Murphy, who saw my move and jumped on my wheel. Others caught on and with about 300 metres to go I could see it was over for me. I briefly slowed and contemplated waiting for a countermove, but after a few seconds decided that was no fun.

So I accepted the role of sacrificial lamb, put my head down and drove on. Luckily, it turned out that my attack served as a perfect leadout for Paul Rosenberg, who was on Murphy's wheel. With ~100 metres to go, Murphy moved out of my slipstream and started to go by. Then just as we flew under the Metis overpass, Paul let out a murderous howl (actually, given that it marked my passing, more like a banshee scream) that echoed off the concrete overhead, put on the afterburners to go past me and Murphy, and took the win hands down.

At this point my legs were cooked and a bunch of guys went by me in the last 10 or 20 metres. I finished 9th. A satisfactory result, given that my muscles were still sore from my insane TT experiment, and I was smarting from a crash in the crit (in which I slapped my melon on the tarmac and shed skin on my shoulder and hip).

Best finish ever for me. Great to see Paul take the victory. Well done.

Fergus said...

Hey Rob,

2nd place was enough for me to go to cat3 so I'll see ya there! Definitely going to get a bit harder... Come on down to Vancouver for Spring Series next year and see the sea of dEVo green!

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