Monday, May 16, 2011

Velocity CAT 4 Report

Race 1 Time Trial - Saturday Morning Time Trial

We all gathered in the parking area to the recreational park to start warming up. The sun was out, the mosquitoes were out and the wind was blowing at a pretty steady 30-40km crosswind from the west.

The Cat4’s consisted of Mike Hoang, David Holmes, Larry Welsh and myself (Slayer Dan). We were all pretty eager to get on the road and the conditions were setup pretty good for me. A rolling course with strong crosswind favors riders that can generate raw power.

We all hit the course within a few minutes of each other and set pretty fast times. David had an excellent time of 14:11, slotting into 4th place, I was 14:13 slotting into 5th place. With bugs crushed into my teeth and spit foam spattered all over my TT helmet, I was very happy with my effort. The top 10 riders were separated by less then 15 seconds! My personal goal was to ride the TT like a tour prologue and go ballistic.

David and I were super happy with our times and slotting into the top 5. We had established great momentum for the upcoming races and looked to create some kind of strategy for the criterium race later that day.

Race 2 Criterium – Saturday Alberta Research Park

Steve Waters and I were first on the scene to pre-ride the criterium course. Steve must have taken good notes on our “Introduction to Speed Theory and Racing Meeting” we had in the spring. Steve was clearly not distracted and well prepared for his race with all the proper gear, including the correct brake pads. We got our bikes out and hit the course. It was very gusty on the course with wind blowing hard between the buildings on the east side of the course. I had a wheel change and took off the deep dish front for the regular wheel.

The Cat 4 plan was to ride safe and move me up the field near the end and sprint it out. Larry, David and Mike are great crit riders and wanted to help me with my confidence in that race. The race started out really fast with many groups moving to the front. ERTC was patrolling the front of the group, sending guys off on solo attempts. I was in the back third of the group for the first few laps, keeping my eyes on Larry and David. I was able to move up the group and stay in the middle. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the signs for laps but could not get my brain to work at this point. The gas pedal was down all the way and the winds made it hard to take your eyes off the course for a second.

The entire Cat 4 team secured positions in the top 20 riders and rode smart to stay upright and safe. Mike and I found Larry and we all progressed up the line to get into better spots. I was not paying attention and did not hear the last bell, when we hit the last corner, Larry setup the perfect leadout for me and we blasted by several riders on the last climb to the finish. We were a bit late though. I finished 15th, Larry got 16th. I wish I had been more attentive to the signage though, when I crossed the line, I had so much left in the tank. With my criterium experience, I was pretty happy that we all made it across with no crashes. We hung around the course to watch the later categories ride and enjoy the sun, it got windier as the day went on. The Cat 1-2 and Cat 3 races were even gustier then ours, kudos to those strong dudes.

Race 3 – Road Race

The weather report for the day was not good. Clear skies-good, warm-good, howling wind-bad. Howling like your mom catching your brother stealing someone’s car bad. I can’t remember ever riding a training ride in conditions like that. The plan for the day was to try and stay together, hit the last corner, put a 4-man echelon line together and lead me out for a sprint. On lap 1, it was chaos trying to get the group together to move through the wind safely. People getting stuck in the gutter, passing on the wrong side, and blocking like crazy. A small group went off the front with ERTC, Rundle Mountain sending guys off. Immediately, David and I went to the front to organize an echelon. Lots of yelling taking place, finger pointing at gaps and rode side riding lessons going on. Junior riders in the way, not rolling through and typical players blocking. My role was to be at the front as little as possible. Actually, as it was texted to me by Harley, I was not supposed to be near the front, EVER! Typical ABA race, no one wants to work, sit in and wheel suck for 89.5 km. David and I closed that gap with help from Nicklas Ryan with little help from the field. On laps 2 and 3, much of the same, me on the front or 3rd rider, too much time in the wind and getting gassed.

The race plan was still in play and heading into lap 4, a small group of 4 broke away. At this point, I could only watch. I had dipped into the reserves too many times and wanted someone else to chase down. Bicisport refused to work. I think the exact words were “Why would we do any work.” Well, I have heard that story from those guys before. They were protecting a junior rider all day and didn’t take a single pull, and tried eating a power bar with his elbows resting on his handlebars. I’m not sure who coaches that type of riding, especially with conditions as bad as they were yesterday with crosswind. A few expletives directed at him changed his position in a hurry!

We were getting to the 3rd last turn when the race leader Jevon attacked. I wanted to at least mark him to protect my GC position. Instantly, David, Larry and Mike and I were together and hammering. We made the turn west and it was on, like original 6 Boston vs. Montreal on. We were pounding after Jevon. Nicklas Ryan, the Bicisport not taking a pull junior in tow, came with us. We had two RMCC boys with us and it was all out effort. We shattered the field at that turn. David and I did some monster pulls to bring back RMCC and they were just ahead of us. The tailwind was so strong, our echelon was perfect and we were making gains. With the final turn in sight, we had our plan taking shape.

We hit the last corner, the overall race leader had crashed, the RMCC boys exploded, and Mike was setting us up with our lead out train in place. The head wind finish was brutal. Our pace plummeted and it was fierce. Mike was a beast yesterday. He rotated threw and took some big pulls. With 300 meters to go, David hit his limit and set it up perfect for Ryan, Bicijunior and I. At 150, Ryan went and in the final meters, the junior came around me. It was awesome. I got third in that group. I had nothing left and all the time in the wind took its toll. We put a plan in place and executed it perfectly. It wasn’t for the race win but we protected our GC positions, rode really hard, and doled out some serious pain. We put on a pretty solid display yesterday of smart tactical riding with a very disorganized peleton. I am very surprised that were able to respond as we did in the final 10km with how much time we spent in the wind. Power metal and power riding baby!!!!

At the end, talking with Nicklas Ryan, it was great to see that have built another ally in the peleton with a team that is willing to work with us and get the peleton moving and racing. They rode pretty well and worked with us, helped out when we needed it. It would be nice if they would reward us with our efforts and drop back a spot at the finish ;)

I am so proud of how the Cat4 guys rode yesterday and how they put their race ambitions aside and supported me through the day. I am very thankful for the work you all did for me and I hope to pay you all back in the next race. It was awesome. Not sure how the race results ended up, they have not been posted yet, David was 3rd and I was 4th going into the RR for GC. With the race leader crashing, who knows where we ended up.

Great racing this weekend guys and lets keep it going.

I’m really looking forward to reading the Cat 5 report and the women’s race, I heard some of the stories at the meal and there were some good laughs. Way to go Speed Theory!

Slayer Dan


Wan said...

whatever..... typical ST report blah blah blah need a tissue

mhoang9 said...

Good writeup Dan. Congrats to you and Dave, both super strong. Was fun riding and learning from Larry, thanks!

DS: I'll try to pick up my roof rack from you in the next few days!

gnicholson said...

Funny race report.

FYI, racing is not about working together to move the peleton forward cohesively. If you don't like wheel suckers, then ATTACK.
It isn't a training ride with a nice pretty pace line. It's a RACE. While racing, the other teams are your enemy. We're not there to help you get to the finish line.

I was the recipient of a verbal assault from someone from ST on the first lap for not pulling through to do some work at the front fast enough. Laughable!

Dani said...

"It isn't a training ride with a nice pretty pace line. It's a RACE. While racing, the other teams are your enemy. We're not there to help you get to the finish line."

People have tried explaining this to the ST team for years. They continue to tell everyone else how to race while they are finishing mid pack. Laughable indeed!

eric_1352 said...

Totally agreed. Road racing is not a saturday group ride. There is no need for anyone to work together if they aren't willing to. Harping on U17's (bicijunior is a U17), for not racing with your victory in mind is nothing to get upset over. I was also the recipient of some harsh speed theory BS... If you want to try and control the race, you won't ever win it. Race, don't control.

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