Saturday, April 14, 2007

Blue Sky Velo at Roubaix

SM4 (MikeO):

Two days ago we were certain the weather gods would give us a spring storm to remember replete with up to a foot of snow. But Friday morning we awoke to see bare, dry ground and we knew that the bullet we'd dodged meant that the 2007 Boulder Roubaix was ON (a week late). The race is an important one for the Cat 4's as we fielded nine riders in two categories and intended to show the cycling world that the hometown Blue Sky boys were serious.

The cold, 32-degree start was warmed by the prospects of a good race as the course looked great and the sun was shining! At 8:33 the 4's rolled out for their 43 mile journey and three minutes later the 35+4's.

The Boulder Roubaix is a classic by local bike racing standards. Its 8.5-mile loop is over 75% potholed and loose dirt. Road bikes are used for greater speed but it certainly beats you up. Generally thought of as a tough rider's course, several hills and tough turns test the nerves and strain the legs of the riders. Many riders get gapped as the field surges over thehills and riders constantly attack to be first through the loose and technical turns. By the end of 4 or 5 laps, the whole body is tired, the back, legs, arms and lungs. To do well here is to prove one's early season form; to win is to be more than lucky. It means you're the best.

The Cat 4's fielded Lee, Isaac, Kyle and myself and we managed to stay in touch with each other throughout the race. Isaac and I talked strategy and we each encouraged one another to fight the pain as our ever-dwindling lead group surged ahead. By the last lap this group was whittled to 25 riders or so and it looked like we'd be together to the finishing straight. After the final turn it was every man forhimself with Kyle and Isaac getting good positioning on the hill. In the final kilometer spectators cheeredthe unusual sight of a long line of riders all on the rivet. In the end it was Kyle (8th), Isaac (9th), Lee (13th) and myself right behind in 14th place. Not a bad showing and though we'd like to have been a few places better (just wait, folks) it looks like good things are coming Blue Sky's way in 2007!

SM35/4 (Brian M):

First, I need to give some props out for the Shop. My race began Friday night at 7:55 when my rear derailleur cable snapped while I was adjusting my gears. I called the shop and Suzanne, not knowing that I was on the team or that I was racing in the morning, said she would keep the shop open until I arrived to pick up the part. At the shop Tim walked me through replacing the cable and showed me how to stretch it to make sure I would still be able to shift for the whole race. Thanks!

The race started with a group of about 50, with BSV represented by Bill Teasdale, Dan Farell, Dave Kilmoyer, Kevin Graboski, Jason Kaminski and me (Brian Moroney). From the gun, guys from Rocky Mounts and Boulder Velo Racing pushed the pace to spread the field with a particularly tough 10 minutes from the beginning of the second lap until we hit Nelson Road . Kevin and I hung on and got into the lead pack of 14 riders. Oddly enough, for the next 2 laps the pace seemed to ease up on each successive lap. A few solo riders tried to break away on the West side of Table Mtn heading towards Nelson, but the group always brought them back. Once on Nelson Rd the group always sat up to recover prior to getting back on the dirt. Kevin took the lead on the Nelson 3rd lap to keep the pace going.

On the last lap the pace picked up significantly going through the rollers East of Table Mtn as everyone jocked for position for the final turn onto Oxford Road. Heading into the turn mid-pack the guy directly in front of me lost control as he hit a sandy spot. The crash looked like Joseba Beloki in the Tour (when he hit the melted asphalt) as his rear wheel locked and he slid one way and then went over the other side of his bike when his wheels caught hard-packed dirt. I saw his head hit pretty hard, but after the race heard that he was OK . I hope so. I made it through the turn without losing much momentum, but unfortunately Kevin got stuck in the melee of riders trying to avoid the crash. Looking back briefly I saw the rear half of the lead pack at a standstill as they tried to get around the fallen rider. I was the last rider over the final hill and spent a lot of energy trying to catch the lead group. I managed to pass 2 guys in the final stretch and ended up 5th. Kevin led the charge in his group trying to get momentum heading up the final hill and finished in 12th place. Bill came in after that in 23rd, followed by Jason (30th), Dave (33rd) and Dan (41st).

It was a tough race early in the season and I am glad to get off the dirt (at least until Sept when Bill and Dan will school me in cyclocross).

A few photos can be found here.

No comments: