Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall Fling Stage #4 - Final Crit - Citizens Men

Rolling out of bed this morning was a bit difficult to say the least. The continuing cold weather helped make the thought of riding a desperately short crit a thought filled with thick tasty pain. Kind of like a gel for life.

Even though the family left late we still ended up there early. I had no idea where the course was. I mean I knew it was in the same industrial park as the last one, but didn't know exactly where it was or where to park.

Then like magic everyone appeared seemingly out of nowhere...a traveling band of bike weenies and their support. Soon the parking lots were filled with sounds of pumps coming off tubes, freewheels, clipping in, and nervous story telling, and standings checking. This is the cyclist's equivalent of tailgating.

Soon it was time to warm up and check out the course.

RJBTrek - getting the engine warmed up.

Yours truly thinking about the hurt to come.

Sean giving me a hard time at the start.

A combine is born. Series #1 Brian Hague is on the left. Behind him is my teammate Robert. The announcer started talking about Hague and we started busting his balls. I started with a good "Cough, cough, cough, sandbagger, cough, cough..." I heard him say, "I'm a triathlete"....

...not what you say to a bunch of road weenies you've been trouncing. All of us on the right of that shot were talking about marking him and not letting any of his moves go. Kind of like a combine but not nearly as well organized.

I knew I wasn't going to put myself in any top spots with the amount of talent out there, but with the short duration of the event combined with my decent form meant I was going to be up in the I decided to just have some fun. Hang on. Chase when I could. Block when I could. Take at least one flyer. Generally have as much fun as possible in a 10 lap - 5 mile crit.

Right out of the gate Sean called it....I jumped into the least until Sean hit the NO2.

L to R: Tati rider that we mistook for Brian Hague when we reeled him in during the crit last week. Not Brian BTW....myself in Bicycle Heaven glory, and Sean Pedersen on the Cervelo sporting the Neon Oakleys

I mentioned something to Sean down the first downhill - can't remember what it was exactly, but it was something like "you sure you want to be up there?" Somewhere around there I decided to jump up front and do some work. Again...I was not looking to do anything big, and I just can't seem to hold off my nerves, adrenaline so I went to the front.

I strung it out on the first lap. Loving it.

Pic Above - Just past the start line starting lap #2- Myself up front followed by Sean Pedersen, Kyle Tabor, #61 - who likes my wheel, Not sure who is next, John Kaminski after that(?), Cezary Mudrewicz (WDT), Richard Lenski (Spin Doctors)

It was after that picture above where we were doign the next downhill leg where I had an incident. I was starting to throttle it back and recover a tad - slowly slipping through the group - when #61 - still don't know the name - must have decided there was room , or I was popping , or something. He hammered it around me, swerved completely into my line, and then came into the 1/2 a bike opening between me and the wheel I was following. Needless to say he clipped my front wheel.

I bounced my wheel off of his skewer and then dragged it off of his rim and tire. I thought I would end up on the deck for sure, but I kept it upright. I was livid. The guy didn't have the line or position....or the legs to stay up there.

I'd like to think it was an honest mistake. Maybe he was on the limit so bad and dying outside the draft that he saw what he thought was a gap and went for it thinking that it was his line...who knows. Right when it happened someone to my side said, "That wasn't very nice of him." I think I responded with something to the effect of, "not only wasn't that not very nice it was a total di**head move!"

I then proceeded to yell at #61 any chance I got to make sure he was holding his line. The next time around into the big turn at the bottom of the hill I took the time to say something like, "'s a turn. Where's 61?? Watch yourselves guys. Keep an eye on 61! Maybe he can hold a line this time." I didn't see him much after that, and I have to chalk it up to the tempo, but he could have been there and I just not realized it.

61 - if you're reading this, it could have been an honest mistake and I'm fine with that, but you should have come over and talked about it after the race. I never saw you afterwards, but wanted to make sure you knew that I was just pointing out a dangerous move...and that we've all been there.

At some point on one of the next few laps Hague made his move coming up from the back of our pack. He was a marked man, but most of the guys marking him were riding up front (*slaps forehead* - come on guys). I took it upon myself to shout the warning "HERE HE GOES! ON YOUR LEFT GUYS! LEFT SIDE!LEFT SIDE!LEFT SIDE!LEFT SIDE!GOGOGOGOGOGOGO!"

They were a little slow to react, but it was enough to drive 3-4 of the really fast guys off of the front of us. Enough to let us rest a bit. Kind of like, "well now that they're gone what do you guys want to do? Catch a movie? Call in for pizza? Beer? Wait....half of you aren't old enough....why am I doing this again?"...but I digress.

Around now there was a Prime announced that I know Hague got. That may have been the lap he attacked on. Not sure. I know when we were crossing the line it looked like Pedersen had sat up a bit and was actually applauding Hague's prime victory. Class move. 26+mph 2 handed clap. Nice.

More shots from around this time....Looks like Pedersen off front, Kyle Tabor next with a stream of us behind. My teammate Robert is in the BH kit with the black arm warmers. I am tucked in directly to the left of him. Looks like #61 was still in the mix at that point.

Mudrewicz, Hague(? or Andrew Dix), John Kaminski(?) , Myself, Ryan Austin(?)and so on down the line.

Little P holding down the start finish line cone.

Pedersen, Tabor, Tati rider (Dix or Hague), Austin, Myself, and teammate Riccio

It was about now that things started to shill out a bit. Coming down the hill again gave one time to look around and check the lay of the land. I saw Pedersen near the front with hague and Dix hanging about 1 or 2 wheels back from him kind of keeping an eye on him and Tabor.

I swung up to Pedersen to tell him to just sit in and not waste any energy. He looked at me and said something to the effect of "go to the front and drive the pace Rob". I had nothing else to do so I decided...WTF.

When I came around the front I was out of the saddle nailing it. I looked over at the first guy in line and let out a primal scream. It was like my version of a death cry. Not only was I burning a match, but I was trying to set fire to the whole neighborhood. It looked a little something like this:

Funny how no one chases you when: A- they know you suck and are not going anywhere. B- they think you are insane for yelling at everyone and screaming on lap 6 or 7 for no reason at all.

...but I f'n OWNED that straightaway....

After that I floated back through the front group trying to count the laps. Lenski (Spin Doctors) and I have ridden with each other more than once and as the main group floated up the road to contest the victory he was moving backwards in my direction. A quick look over the shoulder and he seemed to recognize it was me back there.

We both just fell in and started taking turns. he said something like, "these guys are fast." I said something like, "yeah and I've been racing against them for 2 weeks now. Wish you could have shared the pain."

Final sprint. Pedersen takes the win.

About now is when I remembered what my teammate MJH2 has been saying all season about Lenski. He always said that inevitably he would end up pulling on the last lap and Lenski would nab him at the line for the position. I had that in mind as I ratcheted up the pace on the hill coming into the straight. I also got out of the saddle and started a "sprint" much sooner than I ever normally would have.

Austin coming across the line Myself and Lenski fighting for position directly behind him. Guy on left is lap down I believe. If not I don't know who he is.

I gave a lot and ended up feeling lenski on my left as I went for the line. I actually had to throw the bike at the line. I mean total over the saddle throw. It ended up being close enought that the official had to go to the camera....seriously. I got him though. MJH2 was proud...wherever he was.

Posing with #2 overall and 4th stage winner Sean Pedersen after the torture.

Teammate Riccio joining in the posing.

All in all a great series. I'd like to thank the folks at ABD for putting on so many great races throughout the year. The citizen's crits were too short, but whatever...we still made them fun.

Great effort by Bicycle Heaven's lowly Cat 4/5 crew. MJH2 would have been in the top 10 if he could have raced either the crit or the TT. Riccio put in a killer series even having missed the RR finishing at 6th overall. I dropped in at 8th overall - made my goal of top 10 for the series.

I learned more about where my strengths are, how to yell better, what it's like to string a lot of races together in short succession outside of just doing the double, that while I still do suck I just might suck a little bit less, and finally that I might actually be better suited for TTs...shock to me.

I am sad to see the season go so early...just when I was getting warmed up. Oh well....I guess there is always cross...


Anonymous said...

Pretty good wrap-up, Psi, except for the picture third from bottom. That's not Kaminski, it's me (Ryan Austin) coming across. I'm the guy you talked to after the race. I didn't realize you guys were so close to me at the end!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was fast lol.

Anonymous said...

Tisk, Tisk, so now you resort to yelling at people!

Great job man!

aham23 said...

congrats. a great way to finish off the season. i cant wait for you to yell at me. later.

J/tati said...

That was a fun, way to end the series. I certainly hope they lengthen the citizen's races, though.

Our citizens men and women 4s were so bored that they doubled into the men's 4s race. Brian lapped the field on that one, and then pulled the pack around for 3 more laps. For the record, he's a legit cat 5 with only a handful of mass starts and is still learning pack handling skills (and has no sprint, as you saw in your race). But don't worry, he'll be in 4s next year.

Our plan for your race was to get Brian off the front and hope for your chase group to reel him in, so our rider Andrew wouldn't have to work to stay in the top 5. I think both plans worked, so kudos. The only mistake we made was that Brian was supposed to lead out Andrew in the sprint and drop back. Oh, well.