Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Where to begin? I'd really like to just jump to this weekends developments, but I owe you few readers an update from 2 weeks ago and the Marian University crit too. Here is the race report I wrote for the team website...

"The race was a crit/ circuit race hosted by Marian University in Indianapolis.
The day consisted of a full morning of collegiate racing and then USA
Cycling sanctioned races in the afternoon. Chris Uberti and Greg
Christian said that they’d be making the trip down and were planning
on doubling up. Well, as I rolled up to the course, the Collegiate Men’s
A’s race was about half way through and what do I see but Chris off
the front in a 2-man group and Greg slaving away solo trying to chase
him down. I was thinking maybe they’d take it easy and save a little for the USAC Crit coming up, but I was wrong. Chris won and Greg got 3rd.

When we all met up at the line for the second race they said I might
be on my own for a bit while they catch their breath, which was
understandable. The USAC crit had a pretty nice turnout of 60-70
riders. It felt nice to be in the group again and testing out freshly
glued Easton EC90’s. They felt pretty awesome and miles faster than
the heavy 32 hole training wheels I’ve been on for the last few
months. Well the attacks started flying early and often and with the
high winds I figured I better make sure I was at the front to keep an
eye on things. Although they were on their second race of the day,
Chris and Greg were doing their part to give us a presence at the
front. After only a few laps of the 1 mile course I bridged to a group
off the front and as I was getting there the group was splitting and
so I went through the fragments and with a handful of strong guys. We
worked well together for a while and cemented our gap. Once I had a
chance to look around I saw that all the decent teams were represented
in out group of 5, but that we had 2 pretty good sprinters in the
group. I started taking it easier so that I didn’t bury myself just so
I could get beat in the end by the faster finishers.

Soon, the good news came that Chris was bridging up with Jake
Rytlewski of Kenda Pro Cycling. This was music to my ears and so I
started skipping pulls and sitting on in hopes that Chris could get
across quickly. When Chris arrived with 3 to go that gave us 2 of
7 and Kenda 2 of 7, with Kenda having the fastest finisher in the
group. It got pretty tactical in the last few laps and everyone was
looking at everyone else to make the move. In the windy section about
800 meters out, Greg Strock from Texas Roadhouse attacked and we
looked at the PRO’s and they looked at us. Finally someone went and
chaos ensued. Chris was gassed from his days work and I didn’t play
the sprint very well either and the Texas Roadhouse rider held us all
off. The best that we could manage was 5th for me and 6th for Chris.
Definitely not what we were looking for from that situation, but
luckily it’s a long season and our communication will be better in the

So that bring us to the racing from last weekend, Hillsboro-Roubaix. This is the 2nd time that I've done this race and I really look forward to it over the winter. It's honestly not really anything special but it gets 125 rider fields every year and if you ask me, I think it's just because it has "Roubaix" in the name. Regardless, it's a good early season fitness test and it seems to be pretty selective considering there's hardly a hill on the course.

We were slated to do three, 29 mile laps of a new, more twisty course. It was was more windy that the previous year and I thought it might split the race up a little earlier as a result. In the pre-race meeting Kirk told us to stay up front because he was thinking the same thing. I'm always a little paranoid of getting caught behind a split and being taken out of a race for lack of concentration, so I tend to overcompensate and really really ride at the front and maybe fight for position at times when it really isn't as crucial. Well I was really on my toes for the first two laps and I might as well have been tail-gunning the whole time because the racing was slow, boring, and almost non-existent. It maybe got hard for a few seconds here or there, but I couldn't believe how big the field was when we were going through the start/finish at the beginning of the last lap. Well the "racing" that didn't happen on the first two laps was made up for on the last one. I'm not really sure if the wind actually picked up or I'm just imagining that, but either way we were racing in the gutter and racing hard. At one point I was seriously suffering at the edge of the road, hoping to catch a sliver of draft while simultaneously praying for a right turn so I could catch a break. Once we turned and had a more favorable wind, I looked around and saw that the field had gone from about 100 down to about 30. That's more like it. With some more gutter racing and crosswinds on the run back into town it was looking like a small group might break off to fight for the win, but it wasn't to be.

We assembled at the front on the last trip up the hill about a kilometer out. And when I say we, I mean Kirk and Greg. I'm so damn glad those guys are on my team. Together they took care of Chris over that last K and dropped him off right on the doorstep. Chris took a few hard pedal strokes out of the saddle and won by a handful of bike lengths. Noah Singer and I tagged on to the back of the train and were able to take 3rd and 4th on the day. A Panther p/b Competitive Cyclist 1,3,4 in out first race with the new squad. Now I understand that this wasn't Paris-Roubaix or anything, but having success like that as a team was one of the most fun days I can remember at a bike race.

Chris looking like he's just won another bike race with Noah on the right with his hand up and me behind John Grant with my hand up celebrating as well.

Unfortunately I don't have much good racing to do the next few weeks, so I'm just going to be trying to hit the training hard so I can be ready for the big block coming in May and June. We've got some new races on the schedule that should be a nice step up for the squad. I'm getting pretty excited, but my girls gotta win the Little 500 first.

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