Glad you could join me...

... thoughts and stories accounted by me as accurate as I deem possible. Sit back, tilt a pint and enjoy the journey.

Patterson & Humphrey

Friday, April 30, 2010

Spartanburg, SC - Friday Night Crit

Stacked field in Spartanburg tonight.  There were even some top mastes riders out of Florida on the start line.  CM had 4 guys counted for... CB, RJ, KJ and myself.  Ready to roll...

Out of the shoot a few guys tried to get some separation.   Three guys with some space.  I bridge up with a bullet only to have it brought back shortly.   Okay.  Try again, so after recovering a few guys create some space... Thomas Smith (dude works his arse off), Cleve Blackwell, a POA guy, Sean Waddell and myself.   The POA guy is blowing quickly and Waddell won't work (imagine that) and of course the other two get up the road never to be seen again (mistake #1), well until they freaking lap the field.  Congrats to Cleve for the win, but Thomas is more deserving as an absolute workhorse. 

So Waddell and I exchange words (who hasn't with this guy) and finally sit up and wait for a four man break coming to us, including two of my teammates... CB and RJ.   We jump on the break and again Waddell does nothing, so I get in the back only to see Phillip Elliott come across to my wheel.  His FL results show he is a strong rider, so (mistake # 2), I let a gap open up to (a) either make him work hard to close it OR (b) what actually happened, he didn't, and bye-bye and back to the pack we go.  I took Phillip out and myself, but there go my boys chasing 1 & 2.   No such luck, but the five do stay away for CM to claim 3rd and 7th.

And in the pack, a few flurries of attacks and some good hard work by Steve Sperry, but the big boys were gone for the night.  I knew there were several guys aiming for 8th since it paid 10 deep.  And some guy who calls himself "the hurricane" was there waiting.  Bell lap and the frenzy begins.  A guy goes, KJ jumps to him and it is single file.  I dive deep into the 3rd turn to create a route to KJ's wheel - perfect.   Never goes to plan does it?   The first guy dies and fades quickly, KJ is able to come around and out of no where this "hurricane" does in fact live up to his billing.  Hurricane 8th, KJ 9th, Fader 10th and I sneak in for 11th.  Not bad, entire team in top 11.  I know, we can do better, but you try to stay encouraged in this sport and live to race another day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday, April 27th

All for nothing... Tuesday nights are big in the bike racing community of Charlotte.  If you race, you are a fixture at Orr Road, an industrial park in North Charlotte where a make shift crit is set up and has been for years.   It is like the water cooler, we all come together from all areas, suburbs and surrounding communities and catch up, talk about the weekend and test each other out.   

Well, tonight was iffy because the threat of rain, but all indications lead about 30 of us to Orr Road where cones were kindly alredy set up and we were ready to go.   As soon as we make the journey from the Dowd YMCA on Morehead to Orr Road, the rain starts.  Around here you never know how long it will last and how it will effect the ride... I mean race.  Of course the rain never stopped and after about 5 laps in 50 degree temperature with accompaing cold rain, it was getting a little out of hand.

We decided to head back early and cut our losses.  It absolutely poured on the way back, but even the old cliche "once your wet your wet" just does't do justice to a cold continued downpour.   Made it back to Uptown and heading back to South Charlotte (home), frozen and thinking hard about some hot chocolate and chicken noodle soup, but not together.   Door to door... 41 miles and lots of character building.

Tour de Moore, Southern Pines, April 24th

Carolina Masters started with a 7 man squad for the Masters 40+ race.   We started our attacks from the start, but the terrain and desire of the field did not allow anything to get away.   The first few miles were fast and furious.   Finally, I was able to start the first move along with Vandy from MOB.  He said he wouldn't be of much help, but I needed his team represented, so we could take the pressure off our teams for as long as the field would allow us the room to dangle.  Then Carolina Flyers sent Rick Maset off to bridge, followed by my teammate, Derek Powers.  The four of us started our hour together, but the burden always seemed to be on us to drive it.   Rick worked hard and Vandy took his obligatory pulls.  We never got more than 30 seconds off the front, but were allowed our freedom for an entire lap, as we were pulled back at the top of the hill on the finish, where I attacked again, but only in vain, as a small but dangerous group of riders assembled for the last lap fireworks. 

I kept throwing attacks and watching attacks being thrown just to see who was playing and how quickly they were being covered and who had some gas in the tank.  I certainly didn't feel like I had much after that first lap breakaway, but wanted to give the team all I had and keep the pressure off of them.  No one was getting away.  Everybody was in cover mode.

And then on a hill Patterson launches - OUCH!  Mark Jellous goes after him and I know Mark is strong and will get across.  He is a savvy racer, works well with others and is just a super nice guy.   So, there goes Carolina Masters and MOB up the road.  Well, I know who is left out at that point... Carolina Flyers.  I know who their guy is, so I am right there watching Matt Botting like a hawk and sure enough there he goes.  Free ride for me until we both realize that Matt bit off a little more than he wanted to chew as Patterson and Jellous are further up the road than we thought.   He was fading and we were alone, so I came around and worked with him to bridge across.  We made it and Patterson was waiting with orders to pick it up.  Jellous was still trying to recover by the solo bridge.   And then here comes Charlie Brown solo and Aaron Frahm, who ended up doing nothing, but pissing off MOB and Carolina Flyers by attacking out of a move that would have had both teams represented by two.   Chris Thomas and Rick Creed missed out and can thank Aaron for that.

So, the break gets somewhat organized with 5 out of the 6 (remember, Frahm does nothing), but Carolina Masters has 3 guys and it is obvious that we are controlling this move.   A few miles up the road Patterson goes again.   And then Charlie blasts off leaving me for another free ride from Matt and Mark.  M & M claw Charlie back only because Charlie sees Patterson coming back and decides to save the effort for later.  Once Charlie and Patterson finally make it back, I launch solo and get some distance, but not enough to be out of sight on those long straight open roads.  I have about 15 seconds and am going nowhere fast.  After a couple of miles and only 5 miles from the finish, Patterson comes across to me and picks me up.  The two of us finish together with about 30 seconds or so.   Charlie gets a free ride and some energy to take 3rd and Matt and Mark fight it out for the last two money spots.  Matt takes 4th and Mark 5th.  Effort well done by both.   Aaron unfortunately took 6th and the field sprint up the the 1K hill to the finish allowed our rested guys to take 7th, 8th and 9th.   Awesome teamwork and great results!

And nothing better than free/cold Fat Tire beer afterwards to celebrate and congreagate with friends and competitors.   Excellent weather, good course and well organized by the Sandhills Cycling Club.  Thanks!