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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Soaker Ride - May 31st

I'd like to recognize this day and it's significance... Memorial Day... a day many take for granted, but one to stop and realize how many men and women have fought and are still fighting for our freedom and safety around this world so that we can take pleasure in doing the things that we do in our everyday lives. God bless those countrymen for all they do and for those that lay to rest in honor of our great nation. Happy Memorial Day!

Cyclists are allergic to rain, but more from the need to keep the equipment clean and their shoes dry. If we think it might rain, we break out the rain bike, rain shoes, rain everything. Today was suppose to be nice in the a.m., showers in the p.m. Boy was that forecast further from the truth. And meteorologists get paid for this type of prediction.

Started out at 8a with a few local guys for a 2 hour ride. Easy pace, just spinning the legs and enjoying the holiday. Lead by RGrier, we did some sightseeing of some old JReavis routes that are too busy these days and not well maintained for bikes. Nice change of pace though and kept the showers away until we started down the backside of Dam Road. It looked like we were heading right into the eye of the storm (remember, we are cyclists and not necessarily known for our intellect), but we wanted a piece of Dam Road (a nice little climb close by and always splits the group on local rides). We got absolutely drenched going up Dam Road and back through Fort Mill. As a matter of fact, from that point on it rained non-stop. We decided without even a conversation that it was a B line back to the shop. But it was absolutely horrible conditions getting back, with huge puddles everywhere. Brakes weren't working well, road markings were dangerous to get near and we couldn't even see at times from the barrage of rain and splash from passing cars (i think they secretly got a thrill out of splashing those darn cyclists - little did they realize that we were already wet).

What a way to spend your day off and early morning up, but 40 miles later I am sure each of us was glad to be back at home spending Memorial Day with our family in dry clothes. An "A" for effort and an honorary degree in meteorology bestowed to all that finished today. Great job!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Double Up Day - Sat a.m. Nationals & High Point Criterium - May 29th

Started in the saddle at 6:45a, wet roads and hopes to stay dry for the Tour de Fort Mill without getting too beat up by the big local team, who coincidently enough showed up with 11 guys this morning. The ride was actually tame. I threw in a couple of attacks on the hills to get the legs fired up, see who was paying attention and to keep the others on the defensive. Keeping my eyes peeled to MBotting and GStiel. Never know when those motors might go or put you in the pain locker. TFenig got the Doby Bridge sprint - go Tom. And MBotting wasn't feeling it today obviously because he didn't give it a go at Doby Bridge (the most significant hilltop finish on the route - about a 1/2 mile that starts with some elevation, levels off for a while with a slight pitch and then steps up again for the finish). And in the finale, MBotting decided to lead it out and I assume set up GStiel, but everybody got clustered because it almost seemed like nobody was going to jump and start their sprint (it usually starts 300 meters out or so). Today it probably got started 100 meters out. I got caught looking, but not for long, as GStiel and JHunter were the players. It looked as though Gordon had it, but he started fading quickly. Jeff jumped from Gordon's wheel to mine and just couldn't make the pass. Score! And as all Saturday bike rides should end, five of us headed for coffee and bagels in town - RGrier, DKeesler, RSmith, DEngle and myself. Gentlemen they are and great perspective on life. To home and 53 miles later...

Later that day and with the uncertainty of my riding for Sunday and Monday, my lovely wife gave me the green light to race in High Point this evening, so we packed the car and headed up North 1-1/2 hours. It was pouring when we left and was wondering how the weather would hold up in HP.  I have a great wife!
Racing Masters 35+ and never know who will show up. We certainly have some powerhouses in the Masters field in the SouthEast. Unfortunately only 14 guys lined up. Threat of rain, holiday weekend, late start...who knows? 3 teams were in force and some individual contributors mixed in. RJenkins went from the gun with one follower, they came back, The Judge went and took three I believe (i thought all the teams were represented) and that was the move, but they couldn't organize and were brought back. RJ goes again with one and that is the move of the day.  There were a number of vicious attacks in between.  Another attack comes and I go with - guy from Carolina Bicycle (Michael) - that is the second move of the day. The Judge tries like hell to get away, but he is the most marked man in the sport and rightfully so.  Both breaks are working together well and maintained their speed & distance, so there are the top 4 - racing for 5th is everybody else. WBixby gets Ryan at the finish, but Ryan certainly doesn't claim to be a sprinter, but has wicked horsepower so be careful of his ability to TT away from you. Michael and I worked great together until that last lap and all of a sudden we are playing, watching, waiting and get to the final turn and he jumps. I jump immediately not knowing how well he sprints. Lucky for me, I was able to close it down and come past for 3rd - again, no points. Good showing by Carolina Masters... 2nd, 3rd and 6th. On to Lexington BBQ for dinner - wouldn't miss it for the world if I am in the neighborhood.

All in a days work!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Charlotte Nationals - Orr Road - May 25th

Ahh, another night with a slight threat of rain, but this historic weekly event must go on regardless. And the troops come from every direction to take their pain, shock their legs, blow their heart out and feel good afterwards that they gave it a go, again.

How exciting would be if I just wrote the usual suspects showed up, rode around in circles for 50 minutes and called it a night? Okay, not far from the truth, but it is all about those little decisions each person makes during this ride, i mean race, that gives them that thrill of exhilaration and accomplishment, meaning how many folks do they move up on, how many laps do they last, where do they finish, what was their max heartrate, did they take the corners without braking and are their shoulders and wrists relaxed after the ride, did they beat their arch rival, did they do better than last week, did they get yelled at by some elite snob, etc., etc.

Shout out for the guys who put up the cones each week. We use to divide and conquer with volunteers, but not sure who the hero is these days... they deserve "saint" status in the racing community though. There is nothing worse than showing up at Orr Road and see no cones set up. We are such an entitled crowd for what reason I have no idea. Have you ever met a racer that didn't think they were pretty good, if not great and certainly wanted swag for free?

Sometimes it is hard to keep an eye on the race with so many folks out there, who has been lapped, how much distance you give a couple of guys before pulling them back, what moves to go with, at what point on the course you burn that match you have been saving up, etc.

Tonight was no exception. Breaks here and there, but not much sticking. I was in a couple of little moves, but could tell in each that they weren't sticking... either to small, not enough horsepower, a teammate with me (which has stayed away on occasion), not the right teams represented (usually the case), etc. I thought the move of the day was done with The Judge and a pretty substantial group got away and started putting time in on us as I was setting tempo on the front, but several guys saw the same and didn't want it to last so after about 3-4 laps it was pulled back. A few more attacks and nothing doing.

And with about 10 or so to go, The Judge gets away again (who can believe that, right?) with TMiller, Sheehan and DFuller. Some old school horsepower with The Young Buck (TM). Looks solid as long as all are motivated and working together. Seems they were although CVigna, Salsarita's and AMartz were working hard to pull them back. Too many years of experience in that pack.

Not sure how the final flushed out, although I know The Young Buck got away on a little move and won Orr Road - put that on your resume my man and tell USA Cycling to come sanction this baby. I would assume The Judge pulled in second. Sheehan has been doing very well at Orr Road over the last month or so, so no surprise to see him in the mix and reading the move - must have something to do with that secret mountain training. And certainly no surprise to see DFuller up there - crafty veteran and that has a pounce too.

So, we all played our cards for the sprint finish. I knew AMartz was out (young Cat 1 who was taking full lap pulls to bring it back) and probably CVigna (since he was putting in attacks late). Knew my competition was some of the Masters riders (Morgan & Knitche, etc.) Never know when the attack will come with one to go, but it typically is always right before the start/finish with one to go and sure enough there it goes, but it is always too early and short lived. I got to 8th wheel or so and felt pretty good there - just never know who will pop, who will attack and who is on your wheel. I saw some hesitation after the first turn and knew I needed to be to the right in a position to jump on a wheel (never fails). And sure enough DLeatherman jumps. He is pretty strong and hasn't been racing the last few years, so not sure his mojo yet, but I knew enough to find his wheel. I didn't think he would be able to hold it from turn 2 to the finish (there is no way), but figured he was leading one of his Carolina Flyers boys out. They missed his wheel though. I took it thinking he would sit up once he saw me on but he had committed so time to blow it up. It really was the perfect leadout for me, but I figured his guy was on my wheel so when I jumped I dug deep hoping like hell no one could come around. I know Vigna has a lightening 100 meters but I knew he had blown his load already. Digging deep..... Knitche on my wheel.... can he come around.... not this time my man. 5th place on the resume - just kidding.

I enjoy the ride home almost as much visiting with friends, recovering and riding right through Uptown on the way out South. Great time and great weekly event to hang out with the guys and put your body through measurable pain in the process.

Monday, May 24, 2010

DMac Death March Mountain Excursion From Hell - Sunday, May 23rd

Really wanted to continue my mountain training and DMac put together an informal ride from his cabin in Landrum.  Ended up being 13 of us, with local legend and current NRC ranked #5 in the nation, our very own, R Farina.  Joined by ChrisS, Lars, ChrisD, Hardy, Andy, Addy, Meredith, MariAnn, Rachel, David and DMac. 

Started out fine, fairly mellow, warm and talkative bunch.   I felt surprisingly good.  Our first real climb was Hog Pen, about 5-1/2 miles in length - not steep, but just kept coming.  To be honest, Rachel and Robin set tempo for a few miles.  I thought I could help out, came through, started setting tempo and a half mile later popped like a cannon and that was pretty much the story of my day.   It really got no better even though on occasion I thought it would because of the flats and downhills that I could power through.  But at each climb I started with the lead group and always found a place to pop again, usually early on. 

I was so far off the back on the big climbs that I couldn't even see folks in front, which took the pain and frustration out of the mix.   I was able to make my way up, over and the waiting pack was ready to motor on.   I have to say, I couldn't have had better company with Meredith, but not because she is slow, but because she has been off her bike and doing quite a bit of running.  Going back to her roots I see.  And for the record, she coached me up the Green River and Old Camp Indian climbs.  Green River was absolutely brutal with 19 switchbacks, plenty of traffic coming down, dirt, gravel and plenty of debris.

Made it up over Old Camp Indian (barely) and almost home, but knowing full well that Dmac's driveway awaited me (it is a magnificent ending to a tortuous ride including very steep incline and a couple of switchbacks).  The big talker that I am, I was ready for the challenge, of course, until I stopped pedaling from all the freaking cramping and quickly unclipped, lay on my back and knew the day was over with 75 miles.  I didn't mind pushing that freaking Fuji up the driveway.  Day over... my worst mountain ride in ages, but couldn't ask for a more beautiful day to ride my bike and have some of the best company a man can keep.

Saturday Nationals (BikeSouth) & Rafik's Torture Moto Pacing - Saturday, May 22nd

I am not a fan of the local Saturday a.m. BikeSouth ride ... too early, to short and frankly to much squirrelly testosterone. A good mix of racers, strong recreational riders and some pretenders too. In any event, it usually shakes out the cobwebs in the legs, starts the heart through the roof and puts an order to the peloton very quickly. I only go if there is no race, no cookie ride, no mountain opportunity and I am just plain bored. I decided to go this day because of the above mentioned and threat of rain around lunch (Mother Nature delivered right on cue).
I always tell myself to chill, watch moves unfold and enjoy from the pack. Never seems to be the case with so little self control. And anytime there are two or more cyclists, there seems to be a race. We actually got further out than I thought before attacks started flying. At least we got a warm up in. One of the local college kids jumps on the first real hill and the flurries begin.
As much riding as I do out South you would think I know the names of these roads and local highways by now. I know them well, but not by name or number, simply by right or left. We were somewhere in Fort Mill near the US Foodservice distribution facility - flat stretch, great TT section. I jumped on and filed it out for another warmup. I pull over and one of the local bike shop employees jumps (Cat 2) and the college kid goes with (Cat 2) and there forms the break. Do I even need to say that Carolina Flyers missed the move and had over 10 guys there? I guess I do. I was waiting for them to pull it back and they certainly gave effort, but I closed it down (remember, it is my blog and my recollection of how the events occurred) on Doby Bridge.
Once it came back, the pack put it on chill as they always do on that stretch in fear of the Doby Bridge climb. Everybody sits in and recovers and waits and tries like hell to pounce, to cover and to hang on for dear life. Four or 5 guys broke off the front for the sprint. Don't know who picked it up because obviously I wasn't there. I believe the mix was Matt, Marcus and Andrew in some order.

And on 521 back in, the pace seemed chill again because of the threat of the finish and the final sprint. Two guys were allowed to go off the front, one was Jim Andrews who seems to have converted to triathlons and another guy I didn't know, but seemed fairly strong. Those two put a good 1/4 mile on us over that 6 mile stretch. But as usual the final hill produced attacks and four of us got separation and oh yeah, Rafik was out there sagging with his scooter. So, once Andrew, Matt, Marcus and I got separation, Rafik moto paced us to the sprint. We were gaining so fast on that two man breakaway that it was scary and we were coming into the sprint around 40 mph. It was a give me and Marcus gestured for me to take it, knowing I was sitting on waiting as last man.
I turned around to ride back out South with the 8:30 group and Rafik joined in on the scooter. We decided to venture out on our own for some moto pacing - not what I had on the plan, but certainly couldn't hurt (until tomorrow of course) and once in Van Wyck, we started. Rafik killed me and has gotten very good at motor pacing, lines, speed, signaling motorists, reading facial expressions, motivation, etc. I caught myself going down Van Wyck to the brick plant at 49 mph - OUCH! We continued on for 35 miles or so before I had no more. 85 miles later I am home, sweating like a pig from the high humidity and rain coming in. Job done by 11:30a.  Thanks Rafik!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tour of California - Stage 3 - San Francisco to Santa Cruz

Top- Lance , Center- Robin Williams and Bottom- Fabian Cancellera

What a beautiful day to watch the start and finish of Stage 3 of the Tour of California.  The Shack came prepared to defend Levi's reign on this event.  Saxo came with their powerhouse world champion and TdF contender.  Columbia brought their overall leader and the world's fastest man.  Garmin brought a solid team.  Big George came with his BMC boys.  Cervelo, Rabobank, Quickstep, Liquigas and several domestic pro teams.

Cervelo started the day in yellow with Brett Lancaster, but everybody knew the burden was on The Shack and Levi.   There were 2 sprint points and 4 KOMs on the way to Santa Cruz, the last KOM being Bonny Doon where the separation always occurs.   The break consisted of the domestic pro teams looking for sponsorship glory and that little bit of hope they might be a hero after this day.  Five guys got away with a small but always manageable leash.

The Shack and Cervelo started reeling them in before Bonny Doon.  Levi, Mick Rogers and DZ were the only three that cleared and made final separation.  Interesting finish that saw DZ throw his arm out instead of his bike to nip Mick at the line.   Levi had done most of the work, but even as they had claimed as much as a minute and a half on the climb, Liquigas and Cervelo brought it back on the descent to about 10 seconds.

DZ sits in yellow from time bonuses, Mick second and Levi third.  That is the battle of the ToC GC now. 

Great seeing these guys up close and realizing how good they really are in our sport.  Leaving Cali for reality and back to the local cycling scene, but not without a cycling fix by watching some of the top guys in our sport duke it out in California in preparation for the Tour in 6 weeks. 

And great to see two of my favorites although they haven't fared to well in Cali and probably have different strategies than to win... Fabian Cancellara, who has been at top form this year winning the Tour of Oman, the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and of course the famous Tour of Flanders and Perry Roubiax and Jens Voigt.

Who Am I?

I am a 39 year old professional racer who is known for my aggressive nature and determination to shake things up and keep others honest in the peleton.  I ride for one of the top teams in the world.  I don't win many races, but have certainly won my share of big stages and stage races.  I ride in support of my teammates.  I don't take myself to serious and still enjoy racing my bike for a living, but my 5 children are ready for me to retire.  I am German and currently ride for Saxo Bank.   Who am I?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blood Sweat & Gears - A Little Practice Ride - Sat - May 15th

A long freaking day indeed, out the door at 6a and back at 7:30p.  103 miles, 8500 feet of climbing, temps in the high 80's and lots of sun, but overall an absolutely beautiful day to ride your bike in the mountains.  

The adventures of Randy & Doug were quite entertaining and kept the time passing to and fro Valle Cruis.  Thank goodness not a lot of adventure on the ride though.  All went well and we pitted at the convenience store at Meatcamp, at the base of Snake.  We could tell at that point, mile 57, things were starting to slow and fatigue setting in a bit.   Time to march on though, because the good stuff has yet to come, including the venomous Snake Mountain, a little climb into Tennessee, George's Gap, a climb up River Road to 421 and finally Mast Gap.

There was an organized cycling race in Boone today and it ended at the top from the backside of George's Gap.   Saw several of the groups racing that and was darn thankful that I had not participated in that little monster of a climb with those little skinny rockets.  

Was very happy to get back to Valle Cruis Elementary School with legs still in tact.   OUCH!   Now, time for beer, beer and more beer at Macado's in downtown Boone.  A good place and way to soak your pain and recount the stories of the day from each's perspective.  I certainly wouldn't call the pace fast, but we motored and stayed consistent and just tryed to keep cool and hydrated.  Strength in cycling is built in the mind as well as the legs and today was a great mental challenge to conquer BSG early.

Off to Cali for a few days to watch Stage 3 of the Tour in Santa Cruz.  Look forward to seeing Spartacus and my man, Jens.   Should be a good time to get off the bike and enjoy being a fan of the sport.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Charlotte Nationals (Orr Road Crit) - Tuesday - May 11, 2010

Well, we dodged the threat of rain tonight and were able to get Orr Road in. 

Seemed like a slightly smaller group than normal and a slightly slower group than normal.   Not sure of the average, but it was very managable and I heard several others comment afterwards about the managable pace.  All the usual suspects and teams accounted for.

Because of the pace there were many attacks, but nothing ever really seemed to stick.  Just not the right mix nor obviously the right strength.   However, with four to go The Judge got away with Trey Miller and only one of the two survived.   The pack picked up Trey with less than 1/4 lap to go and The Judge crossed the finish line no more than a second or two ahead of the field finish.  I picked up the sprint finish for 2nd, so Carolina Masters rolls again with 1st and 2nd.  Not sure where The Don or The Kid finished up, but both were very active tonight.  At the end of the day, no podium, no points, no money and no memory of who won or placed the week before.  

I guess the down side of this weekly summer ritual is that you get to know the players, their moves, the course and what to expect almost the entire practice race, so we get slightly content or maybe even too bold, but it is what it is, a free, fun and safe place to practice criterium training with your friends and local competitors.

Thanks to all that keep it organized (Rafik) and those that continually provide, house and set up cones for the course (Darren, etc.). 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mountain Training & BSG Preview - Saturday May 8th

Left Charlotte at 6:30 this morning with Randy Smith for Boone to do some recon on BSG (not like we don't already know every inch of this course from a painstaking view), but also to start prepping the legs, the heart and the mind for what is to come on June 26th - the real Blood, Sweat and Gears.

We met Ladd Lumpkin at 8:45 and were on the bikes by 9:00 for a 75 mile day with a few feet of climbing.  We were climbing Snake Mountain within 5 miles - not necessarily a smart way to start your day or get your body acclimated to these hills.   Temperature at the start was chilly, about 62 degrees.  It had rained  an hour earlier, so the roads were still damp and the wind was teasing.  By the end, the temp was much better at 75 degrees, the sun was out, the roads were dry, but the winds howled something fierce and about took us off our bikes several times with outlandish gusts from nowhere.  I had not seen wind that bad up there before.

Did two climbs up Snake and mixed in some other climbs with some kindness of flat roads and easy rollers but we were in the mountains, so what could we expect.   It was painful, but that is what we signed up for.   Ladd crushed the climbs looking for a little vengence on the "Mexicans" from Florida (not really trying or care to be to politically correct here) this year, but he knows his descents may make or break him.  Randy took in the scenery, snapped some pics and took it at his pace.   He can do that, he is the reigning N.C. State Road Race Champion.

Finished up with burritos at Black Cat in Boone.   Great post ride fix.  Nice day to enjoy doing what it is we love to do in our free time.... just another day on the bike.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Charlotte Nationals (Orr Road Crit) - Tuesday - May 4, 2010

Has to be the fastest Orr Road of the year thus far.  The first five laps seemed easily faster than the last five with Carolina Masters taking some hard and long pulls to keep everything in single file and prevent those obnoxious early attacks of guys who just want a little attention.  After that there were numerous small attacks either always with a CM rider or covered by a CM rider.   Granted we were missing a few of our local heavy hitters but there was plenty of horsepower there.  

Excuse me for a little soapbox chatter, but I must recognize guys/teams that get out front and mix it up (whether they have any business doing so or not is just your opinion)... Harris Teeter had three guys tonight either attack, attempt to bridge or get in a move.  They aren't dangerous, but a few of them try and should be given some credit.  Salsaritas and the three amigos, Tom, Dan and Charles always give it a go too.   And the unattached or smaller team riders should be encouraged to work together and form alliances to keep everyone, even us, honest.   The dynamics could and usually are much different in a real race.  Shane Martin and Scott Staley took some massive pulls tonight.

The other part of this soapbox and I must bite my tongue somewhat is that Carolina Flyers/Preferred Parking has a very large prescence in the field (although fewer of that number are on the race team), but I wish they would communicate better and work together better and they could really make some great strides in pulling moves back and keeping more folks on the defensive.  There is no reason they should miss moves and they missed all of them tonight.  They should be attacking at every opportunity.  They have enough strong riders to be reckoned with and should be more active instead of waiting until they are at another weekly ride where it is obvious they are in domination and the sheer number, not the strength or race savvy, keeps them always in front and on the offensive.  Enough already.

So, the moves that went tonight were Grant McAlister (my teammate from Winston who was riding Orr Road for the first time) and Neal Boyd (Neal is coming off an injury and has had a tough year already).   Once they had some distance and CM shut it down, Charlie Brown was able to get away with Andrew Raab.   Not exactly sure what happened ahead, but I am sure Andrew and Charlie got up to Grant and Neal quickly and Neal probably popped pretty soon after and somehow the screws were put on Andrew and he popped (strong rider so Charlie and Grant must have teamed on him).  That left Charlie and Grant up the road for 1st and 2nd.

Back in the back, Carolina Flyers/Preferred Parking were certainly on the defensive and trying to bring it back, but I believe they finally called mercy and pulled their guys for the sprint.  With 3 laps to go, Ryan Jenkins (who had been chilling all night sitting in because he is doing the Lowe's TT tomorrow night) got on the front and kept the pace high and consistent.  He put 2-1/2 laps in at that pace and it was quick enough to prevent any attacks.   Mike Kelly was sitting behind Ryan, but once Ryan pulled over with 1/3 of bell lap left, Mike took a 2 second pull and moved over himself.  That left me on the front WAY to early so I hesitated to see if anyone would jump me and I could grab a wheel, but after only a second or two I launched and said what the hell... the furtherest I have ever launched at Orr Road and probably the longest sprint I have ever attempted.  I knew there were guys all over me licking their chops and I really didn't think I could hold it that far and that long particualary going up that small rise to the finish.  I knew I had to dig and hold as long as I could and figured Marcus would be sitting on me ready to come around, but at the point I knew I had it, I looked over and saw Sheehan second.  We were freaking motoring!

Great job in practice CM... Grant, Charlie, myself.  Time to put practice into race form.  

p.s.  kudos to Julian Patterson (John's son) for taking that last ditch flyer with 5 to go or so.  it might not have lasted long but it certainly made a statement that somebody has arrived on the scene and is ready to climb the ladder from Cat 3 at age 15 to Cat 2 after Crossroads and racing in Belgium this summer.   Great job Julian!  Watch out Pro/1/2s... the kid is coming up fast.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dylan Mitchell Crit - Ft. Mill, SC - Sunday, May 2nd

What a beautiful, BUT HOT, day to race your bike.   The Masters 35 wasn't until 2:30 and I believe the temps got up to 90.   Plus the newly (and greatly improved) paved course was awesome but even hotter from the newly paved asphalt just bubbling up on your tires and body.  

A little more tame field, but still South East Masters racing, so started out pretty mild and one dig was brought back before Jay Charles launched at the Start/Finish.  I was on him and he is dangerous.   He got us through turn 1 and 2 and I gased it on the headwind backstretch creating an unexpected gap so I slowed to see who was latching on.  Not sure of the details on how it formed from there, but Jay and I were obviously there, Darren from POA, Marcus from Carolina Flyers, Todd Clapp from Clif Bar and my teammate, Ryan Jenkins and not long after another of our teammates came across, Grant McAlister.   Seven man break rolling and rolling hard.   Picked up 15 seconds on the field in no time.  Carolina Masters started throwing attacks to losen things up but couldn't get any separation.   Strong break and a long way to go, so settle in.

Once we realized we had the field in sight to be lapped, our guys knew we had no desire whatsoever to lap, but the other guys had plenty to gain, so here come the attacks.    They were shortlived, but still happening if we drove the pace to slow.   POA and Preferred Parking had everthing to gain to get to the field and unfortunately we did with 2 to go and all hell broke loose as the POA guy had two former teammates waiting on him and dropped the hammer.  Very good tactical move, but that means they intentionally slowed and dropped from the pack and there is some that may argue that although legal by all accounts, it is just not the best etiquette, but a win is a win and that is what Darin got from it.  

Jay saw the move and jumped but could never get that close and Ryan marked Jay a bit late, but with all the commotion and choas from being back with the lapped field, it created havoc and some sketch weaving in and out of traffic.   Jay 2nd, Ryan 3rd and my local favorite, Marcus, 4th.  I had his wheel and some lapped rider sprinting for 15th-20th got in my way at the finish and one brake check is all I needed to get 5th.

Good race.  Good workout.  Hot day.   Did I say hot day?  Wow, how the body just isn't use those temps yet.  And 3-1/2 hours in the yard upon arrival at home.   What a day.

Dilworth Crit - Saturday, May 1st - Masters 35

I love Charlotte, I love Dilworth and I love Latta Park, but I don't like that crit course at all.  They say it is a power climb, but after about 20 times, my legs scream "BS" on that.   Should that spell the day? 

We had a good sized team... The Don, The Judge, Powers, Hill, Johnson and myself.   We seemed on the defensive for the first five laps and I covered the moves, although a bit early to worry about much, but all the moves had a guy that could podium.    Seems like the attacks were happening more so on the downhill, so we're talking 35 mph or so. 

Don't remember much after this, but as it always happens the move went at the point I had just done some work and I had no chance of connecting for the ride.   There was separation of two groups, a 7 man, which had The Don and The Judge - fair enough ammunition.  They were towing around Jay Charles and The Hurricane from Florida along with Thomas Smith and another.   Star studed cast there.  And a four man break chasing, but never did connect.  

That left the field with a lot less horsepower and guys crazy thinking we/they would bridge that gap, but unfortunatley we (Carolina Mastes) had missed the second break, so we had four in the pack just setting tempo and following any attacks.  Still a painful adventure.

Don't know the details, but The Judge picked up 2nd as the Hurricane never took a pull and had the balls to sprint for the victory - don't have as much class or racing etiquette in Florida I guess.  I am sure there was drama and I am certain The Don and The Judge tried to yield the Hurricane of a group finish.

They had already raced the 45+, so were probably a bit spent.   I sat up on the last lap.   Paid 10 deep and 11 guys were up the road, so why sprint for 12th?  Never reason with a bike racer.

Another year, another Dilworth.  If not in my background, I would not even bother, but always exciting to see your friends, neighbors, fellow racers and the like.   Plus, it is a part of Crit Week, so the Pro race is stacked with national and international talent - a great family friendly venue and plenty to see.