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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday Night - Orr Road - July 20th

I had missed the previous Tuesday night due to a work function, so was itching to get out there for some real time crit training.   Every week it seems like there are new faces.  I have no idea where these guys come from, but they aren't all just from Charlotte.   Orr Road attracts guys from Winston, Spartanburg, Raleigh, etc.

I told BMiller on the way over that my goal was to sit in and conserve for the end.   Never a chance.  I found myself in a move with several other guys, one including my teammate The Judge and some other distinguished riders, so I really thought it might stick, but to no avail.   Just never know what the mix or art needs to be other than raw power from enough racers.

Lots of attacks and The Judge did spend quite a bit of time off the front tonight which certainly eased my burden, but I also found myself on the front often setting false tempo.  Many of those guys read that like a book and continue to attack on the mound we call a hill on the course.   It is very hard to cover from the front and more difficult to cover so many.  

Finally did decide to settle down myself and give it a go for the final, but with 5 laps to go or so Ben does attack and gets across to The Judge and MBotting (i believe).  Sometimes I don't even realize who or how many are up the road.  I give C Vigna credit for a massive one lap pull from there to bring it all back together, but it just didn't happen.  Of course we get all the usual surges and people thinking they are sprinters with two to go.  It is crazy how many folks actually think they will be in contention for the sprint.   Confidence is obviously not lacking in this world.

At this point, any effort would be for third, but coming into the homestretch, the three man break was in sight.  We were too late to catch them, but did manage to pass Ben, who had led The Judge out.   Charlie, Matt and the field.   RJenkins led me out and once I jumped it was in the bag, but you just never know who is behind you lurking on your wheel.  Luckily this day it didn't matter nor did I ever look back to find out.

Man was it hotter than hell out there.  I was fatigued, cramping and had 4-1/2 bottles and never felt great.  I believe somebody told me on the way over that it was high nineties to 100 this afternoon.  Heck it was 90 degrees at 9:00p this evening.   Welcome to the South!

Bike South - Goezler Funeral - Saturday - July 17th

Not racing French Broad in Asheville this day, so stayed and rode local.  Bike South is only 2 miles from my house and too convenient to pass up for a 7a slugfest.   Although on this day it was pretty tame and not far in there was a crash.   I had just gone to the front to set a blistering tempo up one of the rollers and heard the crash behind.   I called off the surge and circled around to check out the damage.  I heard one "Fred" overlapped a wheel and went down causing DKessler to go down on his new bike.  He was pretty banged up, but a tough guy so after a few minor adjustments and new tube we were on our merry way again.   The pace remained calm.  I tried to keep it active and strung out on a few sections, but knew where the flurry would begin and where our two sprint points were, so there is no doubt that these will self instigate.

Coming up Doby Bridge, guys always sit in, take fewer pulls and/or shorter pulls to reserve for the climb and sprint at the end.   And since Preferred Parking has 15 guys there, most others expect them to do the majority of the work.   Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.   Not many of their guys were rotating through on this day, but enough finally did to get us to the bottom of the climb.  No fireworks.   Steady and coming on the sprint of course guys started posturing for position and the speed amped up.   Rafik offered to take me to the line, but it was too early and I knew Marcus would jump right on my wheel as I was marking him.   As soon as he jumped out of line to start his maneuver, I followed.   He did a look back and knew I was there so he jumped right and around one of his guys to start his sprint and create a distraction.   I jumped left and accelerated just as quickly without distraction.  I had the acceleration on him after a few seconds and I saw him ease up, so sprint one checked off.

Again, back down 521 the pace was moderate, but enough to have split the group in two for a few hundred meters.  It came back together and we started back down Dorman where the fireworks would surely begin.   Diego, Hathcock and another guy went off the front pretty early.  I almost didn't realize, nor did I really care at that point.   But once we got a few miles from the final sprint, Andrew and M Hill started to create separation.  I saw and was willing to let it go since Mark is my teammate, but when Marcus bridged across it was my turn to join in.  Another guy tried to bridge and after sitting on his wheel and realizing he wasn't going to make it, I jumped him and finished over to the trio.   We were steady going and starting the assault.  Mark took a turn on the last hill, which is typically an eye opener and leg breaker if we are going hard.   He put in a solid effort and rolled off.  I took over and put in another long dig.  I rolled off and of course Marcus attacks us.  Andrew had been dropped.   Marcus put a 100 meters on us easy and had killed my spirit since I had just worked my tail off.   Mark wasn't about to let that move go unanswered, so he started again.  I jumped on his wheel.   His effort was almost heroic as he pulled him at least a quarter to half mile to close the gap considerable to Marcus.   Enough so that I was able to jump hard from his wheel and close in on Marcus.  Of course I got another look back, but Marcus didn't respond.  I jumped to his wheel for a half second and had a chess game ahead... Hathcock, Diego and the sprint finish.   I jumped each and realized RMasset had latched onto my wheel somehow with the help of his team.   I blew him off and passed Hathcock and Diego for the 2nd and final sprint.   Mark deserves that win for his efforts on my behalf.  Teamwork!

Unfortunately the next part of the day consisted of Matt Goezler's funeral.   Matt was a friend  that I had met through our days riding for Moto Velo and me knowing his brother Tim.   The first time I met Matt was at the Ride Around Wilkes cookie ride, which he won.   He was a superior mountain biker, a very good roadie in his day and a wonderful person.  Last year, we went to the mountains a few times to train and Matt's sense of humor defined him.   He had a zinger for everything and everybody.   Just seemed to enjoy life and loved the sport of cycling like nothing else.   Would give the shirt off his back.  But in the end, he took his own life due to what we think are some issues stemming back to his 2000 bike crash and head trauma injury.  We'll certainly miss Matt, his pranks and all the wonderful nicknames, stories and butt whoopings he unleashed.   God speed!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lexington, NC - Crits & Road Race, July 9th & 11th

Thought I had crashed out for good did ya?  It does seem like about this time a year, I do suffer tremendously from some crash and either end up with something broken or a major ailment.  This time around it was just serious fatigue and the end of good fitness.  Unfortunately it started and stayed with the North Carolina Crit Championships in Salisbury - our races of all things.   From there I took two weeks off and forgot I wasn't suppose to drink that much beer, eat that much ice cream and not do anything but walk Cooper.  And then... get this... my come back is for Blood, Sweat and Gears.  Call me crazy, but call me slow and pained too.   My worst showing at BSG and probably my last.  I knew I couldn't climb but somehow I needed to validate it.  I did do some swimming and running while on vacation - does that count?

So we fast forward a few weeks and I feel like my fitness is coming along, but no real way of proving it other than the booty loop, BikeSouth, Plantation and Orr Road - all crap simulation races.   

I am then excited about the Lexington Criterium because it is flat, fast and not technical, but I do have some ghosts of past that haunt me as I was dropped there last year and reminded of that last week.   The team is locked and loaded to roll.  Race starts, I go straight to the front for prescence and take the groupo around twice before the attacks start going.  I even took a little dig myself and pulled across a couple of guys for a lap or two, but there is too much horsepower, too many teams and too much muscle to flex this night.   

KJohnson counters me and gets away.  Not sure how two Clif Bar guys wind up in the break - still puzzled on that one, but he pulls across Harkey and that is all she wrote.  We set tempo, chased things down, even chased each other down - taking a little a page out of the Preferred Parking playbook.   Our team timing wasn't impressive and our results were average for CM, but we had all had some time off from racing, other than cookie rides.   Even the rain didn't slow the finish, but Keith got 2nd and I believe The Judge ended up 2nd in the field sprint, 4th overall along with other top 10 results from the team in a combined 35/45 race.

Two days later was the road race with a Sunday start time of 3:15 and a heat index well into the upper 90's.  A short to medium race on a pretty easy course, although I would beg to differ any time there is a hill involved.   We knew the ominum, the players, points, guys to cover and a general strategy, but it rarely goes to plan.   Gordon jumped first, but gosh it was too early and I jumped with for a mile or so and back we come - thank goodness.  A few attacks but nothing serious or threatening.   About 8 miles in at the first hill, I start setting a tough tempo to see what gives and of course here forms the break. 

Ric Masset comes across and accelerates hard up the hill. I follow.  We have Jim Mead in tow.  And then Craven comes across.   A pretty good group although we could have used one or even two more.  Craven is the strongest in the group, but we are all working together for a lap and a half.   We extended out to just over a minute on the field and then that started coming down quickly, probably due to the multiple CM attacks.  It was 20 seconds at one point.  RJenkins comes across solo and when he attacks, I light it up for a mile or two and almost cook myself (i have a bad habit of doing that) and then we rotate.  Mead takes us up the first hill - solid effort.  I take on the second and am really trying hard to save Ryan from making as much effort until later.  Unfortunately it was probably my dagger.   About three or so miles up the road, JP is coming across solo.  Ryan tells me to jump on and give it 5 minutes hard effort.  I have about 30 seconds left in the tank and his momentum and power put Mead and I off the back.   Deja Vu from an early Greenville race.   As much go and desire as I had in my mind, me legs wouldn't take me there even after several attempts to get to the back of that break.  I am still surprised Masset got on it but it was only because he stopped taking pulls and rode like a coward once Ryan got on.   He cetainly didn't represent Preferred Parking well regardless of his result.  I know the likes of Stiehl, Botting, Morgan, Vigna and I doubt those boys would pull such a BS move.  It is what it is!

I knew that break was gone but didn't realize how strong Craven really was.   He was the ultimate break partner though.  He never skipped his turn, he rotated well and never said a word even when Massett and Mead were skipping pulls.  Come to find out he has quite the history on the pro circuit back in the day.   Not to skip ahead, but he pulled off a great win over JP.

Back to the pack we go, I sit in for a couple of miles, recover somewhat and start making my way back to the front hoping to continue contributing to the team effort and trying to get Charlie off the front.  I get right beside Keith who is setting a great tempo starting the first climb and I am ready to start stretching it out when one of my spokes breaks off and the wheel starts rattling.  My day is over.  No wheels in the truck and the team didn't talk about team wheels.   I am now a big fan and spectator of the Carolina Masters Cycling Team.   Dressed, hydrating and sitting in the shade at the finish line here comes Craven and Patterson.   Craven takes it pretty good - excellent finish and well deserved since he rode from the original break, matched Patterson's surges and attacks and kept enough in the tank to finish strong.   And then about 45 seconds later after sitting in for the last 20 miles or so, Ric gets the best of Ryan at the line. 

The pack is almost 4 minutes behind and they were absolutely on fire... flying.   Of course Frahm takes the field sprint but The Judge does enough to take first in the omnium.   Great job team as Keith and Derrick put in great tempo to set the stage and keep any attacks minimized.   Mock Orange missed out.  POA only had one representative and didn't see Outspokin at all.  

I believe the team enjoyed the post race beverages more so than the race.  Derrick didn't hold back as he unloaded a cooler full of cold and imported beer.  We also enjoyed the humor of one team or individual protesting Patterson's attack - that he attacked over the double yellow line.  We consulted counsel and have no comment at this time.  But we would advise that instead of protesting, just come across to the move. :)  All is fair when upright and amateur.