Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Race Report: Myles Standish Road Race Cat 3 Race 2010

CB had largely boycotted Battenkill, though our cat 3 teammate, Ryan O’Hara podiumed without the help of teammates. While Ryan was riding to glory, the rest of the CB cat 3’s were attempting to dominate the Myles Standish. We showed up with 4 rested and ready riders: Spaits, GG Bavolar and CB new jack Dave Montes.

I was not meant to get into a big break. My job was to cover the early moves and then sit and rest up in case there was a field sprint. We assumed that one of my stronger teammates would counter the early moves and get into a promising move later on. The race was only 24 miles long, so we assumed that the pace would be plenty fast.

The course is a rolling 2ish mile loop with a short punchy “climb” about midway through. The course is mostly glass smooth with mellow corners requiring no braking. There is a fast downhill left hander into the official’s area. On the final lap, riders were directed to a dedicated finishing area that forks off to the right at the bottom of the fast left hand descent.

My job was to cover Paul Curley. Curley and the Gearworks/Spinarts team were favorites, since they had 5-6 strong riders and decades of experience.

Off the starting line, Svelte’s Mike Sabatini and I created a two man break, which Sabs pushed with some seriously intense riding. The field chased us down quickly despite Sabs’s effort.

Upon reintegrating with the peloton, I quickly found Curley and sat on his wheel. Within minutes, a Gearworks rider attacked and I marked it (honestly I can’t remember that it was Curley, but it may have been Borello). The break quickly coalesced into 5 of us: Luke Fortini, Gary Aspnes (Benidorm), Borello (Gearworks), Curley (Gearworks) and myself. We were out of sight of the field within a couple of laps, which was surprising.

From the getgo, Benidorm did most of the work, taking long, hard pulls, Fortini and I took pulls and sat in when tired, while Gearworks mostly sat in. Curley took slow pulls, was slow to pull through and generally disruptive. Borello mostly tailgunned, taking occasional pulls.

Before the race, I had heard that Gearworks would be working to set Greg Vigneaux up for the win. Gearworks clearly didn’t want the break to succeed. Aspnes, Fortini and I decided to rotate pulls without Gearworks. I dropped back a few times to cajole Curley and Borello into working. Knowing that the shrewd, often cutthroat Gearworks riders had 40% of a 5 man break was disconcerting enough, the fact that they weren’t working was downright upsetting.

At one point, I told my breakmates that I wouldn’t work anymore unless Gearworks also refused. I was tired. I am not very fit. Furthermore, I hadn’t planned on getting into a successful break…in fact I even thought of joining Gearworks in sitting in order to bring the break back in order to allow Spaits to get into a more promising move. As it stood, tired and unfit as I was and forced to work hard, I knew that my chances of actually winning were thin.

I wasn’t getting gapped on the 45 second climb, but I was feeling it. I made sure that I came into the climb 2nd wheel so that I could take my “pull” up the hill, thus controlling the climbing pace, while fulfilling my obligation for taking the pull.

As the lap cards ticked away, I kept looking back, expecting and hoping to see the peloton chasing us down. But it didn’t happen. There were only 25 racers, 5 of them were in the break. At least 7 of the riders in the peloton were teammates with the break. There were no other teams with the manpower to organize a chase, so the chase was lackluster at best.

Once we were within a couple of laps to go I started thinking about the finish and how it would play out. I considered attacking the break, but I was not confident in my ability to hold off the other riders for any amount of time. This left me riding defensively. The question was what/who to cover.

Aspnes attacked at the top of the downhill receiving the bell solo. No one reacted; he got a gap. I sat up. About a quarter of the way through the lap I pulled up next to Curley and said “It is going to humiliating for you if he [Benidorm] wins, with you guys having 2 men in the break…its not mine to chase!” I got on Curley’s wheel as he got out of the saddle to begin the chase.

Fortini sat in thoughout this short chase. Fortini attacked the hill and got a gap. Curley hesitated. Again, I taunted him, truthfully telling him that I was unable to chase Fortini down. Curley rode away from me, making contact with Fortini shortly after the climb. I gapped Borello.

Curley and Fortini caught Aspnes about ½ a mile from the finish. They all hesitated for a minute, jockeying not to lead it out and I dug in to try and catch them. They started working after I had closed about half the distance, 150 meters. I held on for 4th, still far out of the peloton’s sight.

Benidorm led the 3up sprint. Curley jumped, Fortini was coming around Curley in the right gutter in the last 100 meters. Fortini claims that Curley drifted toward the curb illegally, thus shutting Fortini out. Fortini (2nd) protested with the officials. Curley 1st, Aspnes 3rd. I wasn’t close enough to see it, so I won’t venture an opinion.

Back in the peloton, Vigneaux was apparently chomping at the bit to break away. Team mates had to talk him down a number of times, explaining that it would be poor form to chase his own team mates break if he brought others with him.

Vigneuax eventually got away solo, finishing 6th.

As for my thoughts on my performance and that of my team mates: we played it as well as we could. While I was not supposed to be the winning break guy, I was. I wish that one of my stronger teammates had been there instead of me. The lesson that I learned: If you get in break, you need to be prepared for it to go the distance. If you plan on sitting in on it and causing it to be brought back, do it early and decisively.

While I needled the guy throughout the race, it was a pleasure to watch Curley play his hand well. He feigned weakness at every opportunity, while likely the strongest rider there. As I have stated before, you can learn a lot from Mr. Curley.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your a pussy. Keep wishing for stronger men to take your place, boy.