Sunday, August 15, 2010

Prov RR: Cat 5 Race Report

The Provincial Road Race Championships were held this morning under near-perfect conditions. About 30 Cat 5 racers showed up to challenge each other for medals and bragging rights. Here's my totally biased analysis of how it unfolded:

The first 30-35 kms went out at a relatively leisurely pace. Juventus worked hard at the front, Tom K. and I traded pulls at the front until the south turn, and Scott (?) from Bow Cycle pulled the group up most the false flat after the south turn.

The pace picked up the closer we got to "the hill", and Speed Theory was well-represented at the front of the bunch, with five of us in the lead group of about 15 that crested the hill first. I shout out thanks to Darryl P, who dragged me back to the bunch at the top of the climb.

So, it appeared the first selection had been made, but things started falling apart. I'll take some blame for not being vocal enough or doing my share of the work, but we in the lead weren't organized enough to push the pace and break the chase group. To my surprise, the chasers caught us at the south turn, and the group stayed together back up the false flat for what was going to be a bunch sprint for glory.

My legs ran out of juice about 750 metres from the line, so I wasn't about to contest the sprint. (Besides, I have no sprint at all. Ever seen me try to race a crit?) Dale Hildebrand from bicisport timed his move perfectly, and took the win. Reinier had an unfortunate crash before the line, but thankfully was up and walking around back at the hall.

So, overall the ST Cat 5 squad had a good day, in the sense that we all were in the mix right to the end, with our top man rolling in 10th. But, the question is: with five guys in a break of 15, how did we wind up with only one guy in the top 10? Keith B., thoughts? Anyone?

Congrats to Dale for the well-deserved win. Also congrats to Harley B. for his second in Cat 3.

Thanks to bicisport and the ABA for another great event!

Full results are here.



Tom K said...

The story from the back.
I should feel better than I do about the race but currently my demoralization (if that’s a word) still weighs heavy on my soul. I went in thinking I was capable of being in the top 10. Alas, I was not.
As Darcy says, the ride was fairly tame for the first 35km or so. The odd push up a hill here and there and a few guys kept the group moving along at a respectable speed. There were no break away attempts knowing the evil hill was lurking ready to test our lungs, legs, hearts and minds. The rollers up to the crest of the hill were, as expected, hard. The team, and I point out Darryl specifically, did yeoman’s work up front to try and keep the big sprinters from doing to much damage to the rest of us. He pushed the pace prior to the hill so no one would be fresh enough to launch a big attack going north. At the top of the hill I was pleased that; a) I was still with the pack, and b) not completely cooked.

The turn-around was also gentlemen like. It wasn’t until the BIG hill that I began feeling the pain. The group slowly swarmed around me at the halfway point. I was maxed out. Lungs and heart were at full throttle and the lactic acid was beginning to play havoc as it does. I continued to work as hard as my lungs would permit. I was in full wheeze at the top and several hundred feet behind the main pack. Feebly, I pushed on the downhill in full wheeze in attempt to pull them in. If they eased off, I might just be able to do it.
Sadly I could not. Nor could a few of the other fellows.
First there were two of us. I want to say his name is Jim but I might have that wrong. Super nice guy, grey beard, as old or older than me. We pulled in Jay R and then a young fellow (u15) who oddly enough is dating my neighbours daughter (small world eh). We were working hard but not gaining on the main pack. When the wheel car passed us, I lost hope, but Jim was still confident. Before we knew it we were 6 and working like fiends. It was kind of a geriatric group except for two young fellows to make us feel good. It took a while for us to gel but before we knew it we had the rotation working like clockwork. Even young Sam (the u15 guy) was doing his tour up front,
It was a well oiled machine and we were making time. To my amazement, we were really gaining on the main pack. We were within striking distance at the T intersection and we laid it down. We caught them at the turnaround. High 5’s were given, knuckles were exchange, but we still had 14km of that false flat, then the 4km to the finish line. I was cooked, but having come this far, I was not about to throw in the towel. I worked my way up towards the front (note: not at the front… that would have been foolish with the condition my legs were in). We rounded the corner to the finish line. The hammer was thrown down, I put the engine into full throttle, and….nothing. I was cooked. I let the pack go and waved the chase car around me crossing the finish line about a year behind the pack. I was pleased to see several of the guys from the chase pack in the top 10. Good work gentlemen.
I’m pouring myself a tall scotch right now. My ego needs to be nursed back to health.

Jevon Almond said...

haha Tom that is a classic race report. Such a storyteller!

Cat 4 RR

The race felt quite fast (95km in 2hours 30 minutes?). Resting in the main group wasn't an option because of the pace being pushed stretching the group out majority of the race.

The first break was created by Rob Welch pushing the big hill in front thinking just another day rippin peeps legs on hillz he says! & then 3 ertc riders went at the top. Hooper & i were able to latch on to about an 8-10 man group at the top of the hill & we established about 200m on the main group. I thought that we were gonna get away but about 2km later we all bridged back together. Damn it! it can be quite frustrating when you decide to make an effort to bridge & then the group casually reintegrates a few km later.

The pace remained high & a few riders were dropped periodically throughout the race. We almost witnessed a RMCC rider die after the final lap south turn around. The rider in front of him braked & without looking he instinctively swirved into the oncoming lane & was hairs away from being killed by an oncoming car. it was really a miracle today that we weren't one Calgary cyclist short at the end of the day. Thank you cycling gods!

before the turn to the finish the pace went down to about 20-25km for about 750 m as everybody was waiting for someone to attack. Quite nerveracking for sure.

At the east turnoff towards the finish Hooper launched an attack & I jumped on his wheel. Before we crested the hill before the finish another surge went. I tried latching on & was successful enough for the group to pull me towards the finish. As a few riders were dropped we all surged towards the front & the guys who conserved themselves accordingly placed well. Guess we have to learn how to conserve better!? Cudos to Nigel Ellsay who finished 2nd in the sprint even after he attacked for about 5km at the latter part of the race on a solo break. That's animalistic!

congrats to Harley 2nd in Cat 3 thats solid!

Anonymous said...

Cat 4 - Fun race with ST well represented.

Jevon (and Michael/Rick) sorry I couldn't pull a little longer after the turn - I guess I jumped about 2k too soon. Live and learn! haha

Dennis said...

Cat 1/2: As usual, all of the fastest riders in the province show up for a chance at the provincial title. 2.5 laps and you get to do The Hill three times. 120 km in 3 hours.

The race started out leisurely enough. Charles decided things were a bit too leisure and started an early attack - way to go Charles!

The first hill climb unfortunately became a sprint at the top, resulting in a few casualties. Things settled down somewhat until the south turnaround, where I was gapped because I was going around the corner like an old granny. Frank saved the day and time-trialed me back up to the main pack. The second hill climb was a bit tamer, but on the third hill climb another selection was made and Jared and I regrouped with Jesse James Collins, Gideon Krishtalka, Colter Young, Keith Batstone... plus a few others. We managed to keep the lead group in our sights for the remainder of the race. Along the way we also picked up Frank. Lockie managed to stay with the lead group almost to the finish (awesome!) and Jared and I were wheel rims apart in the final sprint... too close to call so we were both awarded 21st place.

Charles said...

Hey guys from Cat 5...great race report!

Sounds like it was a fun race...any of you guys could have won the race!

Im no expert but a few things to consider looking back at the series of events:

1. if the pack stayed together going uphill then a few of the Speed Theory guys should have Hammered on the Crest of the hill and/or going down the backside of the hill (its funny how heard of cyclist set a "fictive goal post" to the top of short hills and forget that tops of hills are the prime spots for attacking)

2.If in a lead pack and you have so many team members move to front and get a double echelon going - short pulls work in a group all Speed Theory to the front (you may want to let a few other team members who want to work) and focus on smooth echanges of short pulls where the slower echelon is on the windward side...(easier said than done but you will build great momentum ESPECIALLY DOWN THOSE LONG DOWNHILL FALSE FLATS-momentum is key!)

3.If you are part of a chase group and you have a bunch of team members in the break - let the others work harder than you :)(take "pretend" pulls) and keep your legs fresh just incase you do catch up - then while all the others are "Roasted" you pass them to be first at the finish line :)

Cheers! CB

Reinier said...

Thanks for the well wishes from everyone at the race. Fortunately neither I nor my ride were seriously hurt in the frantic crash 400m from the finish; only my chance for a medal... oh well, next year.
On the bright side, I now have substantially less skin, so have effectively trimmed a few precious grams off my racing weight for this weekend!

Great points you make Charles. As one of the few to actually try to form a paceline after the "hill" it was quite frustrating to see our break caught by the the stragglers behind us.
In fact, with 8/32 racers being from Speed Theory, we should've been a lot more organized from the start.

Hopefully we can take a page out of Bicisport's book this weekend and win a few races as the host team.

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