Sunday, May 6, 2012

Velocity Stage Race - Cat 5 Report

What a huge race weekend!

I won't comment on the TT - other than to point out the importance of properly tightening your clip-on aerobars.  It's not very useful when they start to tilt up at 45 degrees... 

From what I have heard about the road race in the past, this year had very little wind - but it didn't make it any easier! There was a lot of competition with 70 people in the field (including the U17 group), and the little bit of wind we did have wasn't enough to break up the field. Nothing exciting happened during the first lap (except for the token combine) as everyone was getting settled in the peloton. A couple of Aerobic Power Haus guys were able to get away on lap 2, staying 200m off the front in a good attack, but the huge pack didn't allow them to stay away and reeled them in by the third lap. At this point there were a lot of people with gas left in the tank which pushed the speed of the race up a bit. Once we turned West (tail wind) I remember nothing but GO GO GO as the peloton surged ahead. It was quite twitchy on the last leg (the west side of the course) when all 70 of us thought we had a chance at the sprint. I think Alan took a pedal to his front wheel and ended up hitting the ditch like a boss, riding it out (!) until the wheel car came by. Reinier and I were trying to move up at this point and avoiding getting boxed in. Once we turned the last corner you could start to hear the carbon humming and it was time to really throw down the burger. Amazingly there was a small opening on the right side of the peleton with 200m to the finish. Somehow, through the leg cramps, gasping like a fish, and with my brain taking a vacation, I popped through this little gap with Reinier on my wheel! He pushed through taking 13th, and I grabbed 14th. It was a HUGE sprint finish (37 riders!), and I hope to see some of the footage!

The Sunday Crit is hosted on an excellent course, and unlike the Cat 4 race I'm glad we had the mindset to have a lap to get our legs into it. About 10 minutes in, a break started to form while into the wind on the back section. At this point I was getting pretty burnt, but I remembered what Godfrey said in the car on the way up: "It's only going to hurt for a minute - so tough it out!", and true enough, it hurt for a minute... and the minute after that... and pretty soon I was looking at the lap counter reading '01' while still hurting (damn you Mike) - BUT, I was in a chase pack and didn't get popped off the back! So here I was, legs screaming, wind blowing my jersey off, winding up my cadence for the sprint, and lo and behold, a small group of guys were looming into my (increasingly dimming) peripheral vision. I HAD to give it a go to catch up, but apparently a day of racing the previous day means that legs have their own agenda :).

All in all, it was a good weekend. No upgrade points for myself, but got some great race experience that I can use for the next event. Kudos to all those who took big pulls and made a solid effort.

Check out the results!

Edit: post a link to any photos you have - it's great to see it from another perspective!
Edit2: Whups, got the RR placing wrong by 1.

5 comments:

AlanO said...

Nice work everyone. Personally a terrible weekend. Late to the TT and a pedal in the wheel to spoil a nice carbon wheel.

Reinier Paauwe said...

It's funny how in retrospect it seemed like we really had a good time, when in fact we were suffering and holding back vomit almost the whole time; not to mention the permanent discoloration of my knuckles, whitened from the crash-marred finale in the cat 5 RR...

Thanks for the comraderie STers! Great job to Dave Holmes podiuming in the Cat 3 crit! Hope that restores some of your confidence that definitely belong among those speed freaks!!

Tom said...

Excellent Race report Stephen. Sounds like a big field to move around in. Sorry I missed the mayhem at the finish line... well, maybe not.

Steve P said...

I won't lie - I was white knuckled for the entire last kilometer... But I'm happy to have held it together in that mess.

Corran said...

Great to meet a lot of you up there. Was a fun weekend even though my conditioning sucked. Look forward to another hit out soon!

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