Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Weekend of Racing - 4/25 and 4/26

This was my first weekend racing this year, and first races for Blue Sky Velo.  They were filled with fun, agony, lessons learned (WWKD) and a sense of accomplishment.  

First up was the Deer Trail Road Race.  Racing Cat4/35+ we went off at 8:30 am and raced 42 miles.  Kevin Van Pelt was also there sporting the BSV colors.  It was an ominous start to the day when I awoke at 5 am to drizzle in Boulder.  My thought process was, "crap, I hope it is nicer out there, better toss some more clothes in the bag."  I knew I wanted to be near the front as a pack of 75 cat 4s is something to behold.  I lined up in the third row and felt pretty good.  But oops, in the chaos of the neutral zone including half a lane of dirt and some monster pot holes, I lost some spots.  No problem, mid pack should be ok.  

As we started the first of three out and backs, the pack was pretty sloppy.  It was into a headwind, so the pace was pretty low in the pack.  However, the accordion effect was a mess that far back.  My first thought was to get to the front, but as we were a roving band of chaos taking up the whole road, I didn't find my way there.  First WWKD he would say get to the front, stay there.  I need to focus on making sure I am at the front straight away.  At the first of three turn arounds, a Bike Law guy said, "enough is enough" and took off.   A bold move with 32 or so miles to go.  Kevin Van Pelt had a great position coming out of this turn around in the top 10 or even better (I need lessons on how to get there).  Given the attack and the mess of a turn around, I had to go pretty hard to get back on the lead pack.  The track is certainly paying off as I was able to get back on the lead pack slaloming through the shelled guys.  Things stayed pretty sedate until the first of two turns (Colo Bike Law guy still out front).  

After the turn, again someone upped the pace, again I closed it, but was thinking "hmm, that took a few matches, wonder how many I have left".  WWKD, well, he would have been on the front, not wasting so much energy.  Lesson 2, get to the front.  Soon after another move went and so did my energy.  That was it, I chased for a while and popped bad.  The good news is I was much further into the race than I was last year when I lost the lead pack.  I spent the rest of the race in a succession of chase groups, but was pretty spent, as my plan was to hold on as long as possible to the leader and blow bad, well, I did.  Overall, a fun day and I hung on to the leaders longer than last year.  The Bike Law guy hung on to win by 22 seconds, bold move and kudos to him for hanging on.  

Day two, Haystack TTT

When I woke up this morning to sun, I was stoked.  A 4:45 start time gave me time to relax, eat a bunch and hopefully recover from yesterday.  After meeting the guys "Straight of Longmont" (Eric Scroger, Brian Anderson, Ron Thommassen, David Williams) we warmed up a bit and set our strategy based on the changing wind.  Kevin Abraham and the rest of the Big Lebowskis came in soon before we started and gave us some great advice on the cross wind.  The advice, take up the whole rode, draft on the person ahead's hip and use the whole road until someone comes by to say don't do it.  Then, when the referee leaves, take up the road again.  

We had a good start and were making time on the team in front of us right away.  Onto Nelson, normally a huge tailwind was a nasty crosswind causing some issues.  Unfortunately, we lost David who was sick and had also raced earlier.  This was too bad as when healthy, he is a big motor.  It also meant I had to go further as we wanted as many people as far as we could go.  About this time, the Hammer Time team came flying by us with Horacio absolutely hammering off the front.  It was impressive to say the least.  They were down to three guys soon after this, so we were all hoping the lead hammers had no mechanicals.  

Team SOL worked great together and Ron is an absolute machine.  He pulled alot.  At times I was suffering hard just to hang on.  I took a few pulls on 75th and one on Neva, and bid my team adieu at 63rd.  I recovered a bit and then rode as hard as I could, fearing a mechanical of one of the guys in front.  If this happened I would be rider three (time stops on 3rd rider) and was silently praying to the mechanical gods to give them a good go.  Big thanks to the BSV crew who drove around the course and cheered us on.  Also thanks to my wife who was out there with cowbell in hand cheering as well.  

Overall, we took 6 out of 9 and the Hammer Time team took the victory!  The Big Lebowskis were 4th, so overall a great TTT day for Blue Sky.  There were also some serious times and victories in the ITT, but I don't know all the details.

It was a great weekend of racing and camaraderie and I can't wait to do it again.  

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