Race Day Reports

B4K Stage Race

Comments from Mark
Crit – I felt strong and able to hang with the front group.  I led for brief periods but tried to stay behind someone for the most part.  Got my inside line taken away from me at the final turn by the lead rider, had to tap my brakes and then got outsprinted to finish 7th.

Road race – 3 laps of 9 miles each.  About 600-700 feet elevation in the first few miles on a 2% grade with a 8% kicker at the end.  First lap I felt really strong and after getting to the summit I felt so good that I thought that might be the place to attack on the last lap since after that there was about a 4 mile fast negative grade to the finish.  Second lap the pace quickened but still felt comfortable.  Last lap was all I could do to hang on at the climb and actually got gapped by about 10 meters with the front riders just before the summit.  Caught back up over the next 100 meters and was in a fast tight group the rest of the way to the final turn and straight away to the finish line.  I didn’t want to be in first place going around the turn because the final straight was about quarter a mile (perhaps a little longer) and I wanted to ride the wheel of the guy who won the crit.  I came around the corner in second and then watched the guy I was marking make a bit of a move.  I tried to jump his wheel but someone else was tight to him so I ended up front with him side by side and towing others along.  The pace was not all out yet but fast and I was spending what little I had left.  Once the guy to the right of me started his all out sprint I tried to go with him but didn’t have it.  I battling for 2nd/3rd but still a pretty good distance left to sprint.  They guy who attacked and was in a comfortable place to win it had his chain skip on him and pulled a foot out of the pedal, feet down on the pavement and bike all over the place.  I thought he was going down and backed off for a moment.  That is all it took to lose momentum and get passed by a couple of other riders and then mentally in the space of split seconds I think my legs convinced my mind that there was no point in continuing the pain for 5 more seconds. I crossed the line just after Aaron in 11th place.

Time Trial – First one ever contested.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I was last to register and therefor first out of the blocks (except for one jnr rider  who went out 60 seconds before me).  After that the increments were 30 seconds.  My main goals were to catch the guy in front and not get caught from behind (a good general rule in life for a bloke).  I did both and feel that I gave it just about all I had.  I came in 9th place at just under 21 minutes.  The fasted cat 5 was 19:31.

Official results today have me at 9th in the GC.

Lessons learned –
·         I am reminded of rule # 5 and will be doing my best to apply it!!
·         Need to strategize better for the final sprints.  I went to early in both races where it counted
·         Racing is hard but fun!  Reminded of another rule – it never gets easier, you just go faster…

It was fun racing with Dave and Aaron.  I look forward to the next one.

Comments from Aaron
Crit – I followed Mark’s wheel for much of the crit in the front group.  Half way through the second to the last lap I had someone stick their right hood into my thigh; kind of rattled me for a second and I faded to mid-pack.  The narrow lane created for the parking lot crit and endless chicanes and turns made passing difficult, especially now that the speeds had increased for the last lap.  The bunch stretched out through the last lap, but was unable to get back up to Mark.  I came in 14th glad to be upright.  Next time, if at all possible, never fade back further than 5th wheel, especially in the last couple laps.

Road Race – Mark and I were close by each other throughout most of the race, either next to one another in the double pace-line or a few wheels from each other within the top 10 riders.  The pack seemed to be pleased to let yesterday’s crit winner dictate the pace and had him pegged as the man to beat on this event as well.  Attacks were few up until the last lap at the end of the gradual uphill section where the grade rises to 8% for a few hundred yards.  I knew the decisive attack had to come at some point and had anticipated something more substantial sooner, but this was the most logical spot and my plan was to burn all matches in order to stay with it.  The attack caused a big stretch to occur with those left at the front of the race and I was just able to hang onto the back of the 10+ guys that matched the acceleration.  From there on it was largely downhill, and even a lightweight like myself can draft with practically no effort allowing plenty of time to recover.  Coming into the last corner, speeds were high and Mark was second wheel behind the targeted winner.  With 200 meters to go the pace picked up even more with the sprint about to open up in earnest a “V” shape formation formed and I drifted up the middle for a few moments.  I remember thinking how shocked I was to be with the front group in the final sprint and how relatively little effort was needed to hang at these speeds, if you are in the right spot.  Then everything fell apart with a near disaster.  The leader had distanced himself from the rest of us by a few meters with a monster acceleration, but then swerved violently back and forth with one foot coming off his pedal.  The sprinting bunch scattered anticipating a possible crash; one rider crossed in front of me with the rear of his bike fishtailing.  The road was wide leaving plenty of room to maneuver and I was able to avoid plowing into him.  With the leader floundering those with legs still spinning came around him, but the guy was undaunted and I believe still crossed in 5th.  Mark was spent after beginning an early sprint and I rolled up beside him and we crossed together, 10th and 11th.

Individual Time Trial – We rode out to the start of the course, probably 5+ miles, which turned out to be a needed warm up to get the legs working again after the morning’s circuit race.  I was surprised by the number of riders rolling up on their TT bikes with disc wheels, probably better than half.  Some had the aero helmets and I even saw a couple skin suits.  Everyone’s a pro.  The 15k course started out downhill for about half a mile, dropping in and out of a small gully, then a long gradual uphill pitching up a bit to the turn around, then largely downhill/negative grade to the finish.  My eyes were firmly fixed on my power-meter which never dropped below 220, kept it mostly around 260, but peaked up into the 300s several times.  Right near the turn around an older couple in an Oldsmobuick decided to pass me, then stop and turn on their right blinker.  I had to slow down and pause for a few seconds while they figured out their next move.  I was frustrated, but had to let it play out; probably cost me a few seconds.  There was a section of the downhill that was steep enough for me to discover that it was more efficient to tuck in low (il falco) than to push the pedals in my aero-like position, I was shocked to see my speed bump up by about 1 mph.  I came into the last corner a bit hot, and had to tap the breaks just a little, but hammered it to the end.  I was averaging about 28-29 mph through the straight away to the finish,  I questioned Mark thinking this was pretty good, and he set me straight as he was doing about 31-32 mph through the same section.  I finished 15th on this stage.

This was a fantastic event, great to ride with Dave and Mark, and I have so much more respect for the pros.  I was shocked by my overall placing at 12th, very pleased, but I know I could have done better. 

  • Especially during the last couple of laps at crits stay within the top 5, if at all possible, as its near impossible to get around other riders and participate in the fast draft to the finish. 
  • Believe that you can hang with the front group and bury yourself trying. 
  • Keep your wits about you and take advantage of other’s mistakes. 
  • TT bikes are for real and can make a difference, if you have the disposable funds.  No advantage for the uphill, but during the flats and downhill section, I’m sure my time would have improved.
Comments from Dave:
Friday Criterium:
1st lap through penultimate lap: Redline, turn, turn, redline, turn, redline, turn, turn, turn, redline.
Last lap: Tunnel vision, big dogs throw down the hammer, where's my recovery drink?

Saturday Morning Road Race:
1st lap: Get dropped on the climb, join up with stragglers, take some pulls.
2nd lap: Doing all I can to stay with the hairy legged guy on the climb.  These hirsute appendages taunt me like Captain Ahab's lifeless body tethered to the side of the Great White Whale; the corpse arm waving, beckoning me to stay with the hunt, leading my to my ultimate demise.
3rd lap: Surprisingly, renewed life.  Dropped Ahab on the climb, finishing strong.  Should probably save some of this for the TT.

Saturday Afternoon Time Trial:

Hell of the North Salt Lake  4/6/2013

Dave, Aaron, Mark

Aaron robbing a top 10 finish from the guy in black, just before the line:

Mark hammering at the pointy end of the group, contending for a podium finish (Mark later flatted out in the gravel section on the last lap)
Dave, coming in strong to finish a solid #21

RMR Criterium Series  3/30/2013

Aaron and I coming around the front stretch, in the lead group.

Aaron sprinting for #1, just got pipped at the line.

Lotoja Classic  9/7/2012

Dave doing his best Paolo Salvodeli impression


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