Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The cat 5 report

Now that I’m catching up on my sleep, I can reflect on the Cat 5 race with more objectivity.
Once again, I think the Cat 5 STC should be more than proud of themselves during the road race. We were fortunate enough to have some crazy strong riders, some really good domestics and a lunatic out front from the start of the race. Our tactics had to be re-adjusted early in the race and everyone played an active role.

The plan was to protect our two strongest riders, James and Ian. Ian being very close to being upgraded. However, after the first corner, Derek (I think by accident) was 200 meters up the road when two guys bridged up to him. I originally thought we would roll them up but they began to pull away and no one else was willing to chase. We let them go.

Soon enough it was obvious that they were making a strong attempt to stay away so we passed the word around the STC guys to slow the pack down. The Niklas guys knew what we were doing and gave us the evil eye but did not make any attempt to bridge up. Slowly but surely the lead group pulled further and further ahead. On the third lap, after the wind had picked up, Darcy was pulling the group along at a Sunday afternoon pace. He pulled off to let someone else take a pull and the pack slowed down even further. Wow! We could not have been going any slower.

Meantime, James was itching to go. “Can we catch ‘em now?” No. “Now?” No.
On the last lap Stephen, in the wheel car, gave us the split. We were well over 2 minutes behind and it was time to re-organize. The new plan was to move James and Ian to the front before the corner heading south. Brad (the incredible hulk) said he had some legs left that he could lead the two out at the corner. Me and the rest of the gang would attempt to hold the pack back.

The corner came and off they went. And so did the rest of the pack. The group was being stretch out but it didn’t shatter like I hoped. Brad was cooked when I caught him and was disappointed that the lead out didn’t work. But, James, Ian and the RMCC guy kept the pace.

Finally, ‘poing’ the pack snapped. I heard popping and clouds of smoke formed behind me as guys slowly disintegrated. My engine was starting to smoke too, but a little pep talk with myself and with the incredible hulk we began working our butts off to keep up. Brad, Rainier and I now had visions of catching the three up group and we would have a strong STC finish. Alas, we could not catch on but we tried valiantly.

Our man Derek in the lead group had come apart on the south leg. After, he told me he was so cooked he could barely keep going. It was a big effort on his part to stay away from the very start of the race; well done.

Back to the last km. Brad dropped his chain but managed to get it back on. I thought I flatted and pulled off (later determined that the tire was fine. It must have been my huge powerful quads that pulled the wheel out of the drop outs;). The race was over for me.

In the end the team effort was excellent. We had 4 guys in the top 10. Ian gets moved up and some big points for James and Derek.

Some notes:
The young Juventus guys rode really strong. I was impressed by their staying power. A little sketchy here and there but they improved as the race went on.
RMCC guy (Shane) deserves credit for doing lots-o-work at the front. Sorry dude, we were unwilling to help.
Andrew! Congratulations! Glad to see you moving up.


James T Curran said...

Excellent team work guys, in particular thanks to Tom for the game plan, it would have been a scattered every-man-for-himself without his sound advice and know-how. Also, there should be some recognition of that horse of a rider, #136 from Team Niklas, Carlos Bonilla, I think. He did more than his fair share of work in both the crit and the RR.
Hope to see some of you for the Highwood ride on Sunday?

Reinier said...

Great report Tom, and excellent show of leadership before and during the race.
I was commenting to a fellow STer later that this was the first race of the year where I felt like I was part of a team again. We seemed to have a lot more of that last year, when you raced more often :-)

Congrats on your amazing Time Trial performance in the gale-force winds, followed by some inspirational pulls during the last painful 10k of the road race. Sorry I couldn't pull you up that last hill - you deserved it!

DarcyG said...

Yes, it was great teamwork. I'd like to give a shout-out to Brent T. Brent admitted upfront that we wasn't going to be one of the strong men on Sunday, but he served the team well pacing both men and Brice back up to the group after we fell off. That's a quality teammate.

wattsi74 said...

I can't thank everybody enough for working as they did. I agree with James that Carlos deserves all of our respect for pushing hard into a wind against which us puny humans were otherwise inept. Alas, when I saw the Niklas guys slip into their small chain rings on the last hill, I knew we had them. Also, very glad to see Derek hang on for 7th. Lastly, if you are doing Lethbridge Darcy, I hope there is way to get you your last 4 advancement points.

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