Friday, March 09, 2007

CVC; Stage 1; Cat 2 -- Brief Report

Hmmm... Well, that didn't exactly go as expected. A lot of people talked about how hard this stage was going to be. Cat 2's, Women, and 35+ all did 2 laps (~68 miles), and Pros/1's did 3 laps. I'm sure the promoter expected that this stage would generate a lot of gc time separation. That's why most stage races start with some kind of tt, even a short prologue generates some separation.

I'm not sure how the other races turned out, but the 2's are barely separated at all after Stage 1.

Basically, the course had two climbs early in the lap. Our plan was to try to get some early separation--ideally a group of 10-20 with all three of us (Brian, MarkZen, and me)--so we could then drill it and get multiple minutes on the rest of the 75-man field, thus reducing the impact of tomorrow's tt. Mark and Brian set a good early tempo, and then I went at what I hoped was hard enough to get a smaller group. Maybe it hurt a few people, but the group was still too big at the top. Actually, Brian was an early casualty, but heroically battled back on!

Some half-hearted attacks for the next hour, but there were still at least 50 guys for the second go around. Once again, MarkZen set a hard tempo leading up to the hill, and he was followed by some red-zone climbing, but 30 or so were still together at the top. Now, with 25 miles of rollers remaining, and despite a few teams with 6-8 guys, there were no serious attack-counter-attack flurries. Brian and I stuck our noses in a few attempts, but nothing got more than a couple of seconds. The only way something would stick this far out would be to have some guys from each of the teams (Alto Velo, RH-Villa, CVC, and Davis were the big ones). None ever materialized. But, at some point within the last ~10 miles, a couple guys did roll away and they hung out 10-20 seconds. But it stuck because of negative racing (yes, by us too) and nobody wanted to bury themselves in the wind.

So, sprint time... 30 guys left, full road, lots of surges and braking and herky-jerky moves. I found the WasteManagement guy that MarkZen said won the field sprint at Merced and I locked on. A big Morgan Stanley/Specialized guy snaked me, so I sat on him instead and fought off all comers. Brian shouted out from behind me that he was on, and to move up. Hold on big fella, we got time, and most significantly, we're on the right wheels! After waiting patiently, WasteManagement jumped full gas and then Morgan Stanley tried to come around. Next Brian jumped to the left and I went to the right, but it was too late as the WM guy won another field sprint, this time for 3rd. Brian nipped the Specialized guy for 4th and I got 6th.

So, gc... two guys with ~20 seconds plus time bonuses. Another guy with a couple secs bonus, then a big mob (30 guys?) all s.t. gc. Dang. This whole stage race will come down to the tt tomorrow. Good thing Cookie, MarkZen, and I are all big bad TT monsters! :)

Other races...

35+ race: Hawk Worthington and Olaf Vanderhoot got away and put up some good time. OV won the sprint. Henry the K was in there somewhere too.

P/1... who cares!?! No seriously, I don't know the outcome. But I do know that Cody made the time cut easily. Maybe even a lot better??

Other stuff...

Happy Birthday Sweetie!!! ILY

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