Saturday, July 07, 2007

La Marauder Grand Prix (or Watch Out US Elites, C-Walk is On Form!!)

Sitting in stop-and-go traffic on south-bound I-5 in about Norwalk, watching the clock step toward my 45+ race time, I started getting a tad bit stressed that I'd miss the start, or at least have to really scramble to make it. But then the traffic cleared up and next thing we know, we're in La Mirada. 30 minutes 'til race time--no problem. In retrospect, I wish I had missed the start...

45+, 45 minutes on a ~2-mile square course. A 1/4 mile big ring hill, and a small rise before the line were all we had to work with. Oh yeah, plus some heat and wind. Lacking a warm-up of any sort, I sat in for the first 20-30 minutes. Guys like Greg Liebert and Dave Worthington did some attacking, along with some Simple Greenies like Jim Edwards, Tino Riveron, and Gary Wall, but nothing ever got organized or became threatening. From about 15-20 minutes to go, I tried to force the issue by jamming up the hill each lap and attacking the descent too. I think (or hope?) I hurt some folks, but nobody (ahem, DAVE and LARRY!) would help me keep the pressure on to snap the elastic. Oh well. Bell lap and Gary Wall takes a flier... Oh those never work!!! Ooops. This time it did! He held it for a nice win. A bunch of fast guys got the rest of the top-10 spots. Your reporter was in the perfect spot for the sprint, sitting 3rd wheel on two huge dudes (Amgen's Bob Neary and a Morgan Stanley guy) but when I couldn't match their acceleration I sat up.

Now, the 20-minute gap I was hoping for between the 45+ and the p/1/2 start got reduced to about 4 minutes. I did a faster sprint to my car (to switch jerseys and collect another bottle) than I had done in the race, consequently after I ran back to the line, my heart rate was still in the 150s. With a puddle of sweat growing below me, I scanned the group. That put my heart rate up into the 160s because I saw a full Rock Racing bunch, a couple of Jittery F'in Joes, and of course C-Walk and Rigo Meza for good measure. So much for cherry picking a race while everyone is back in PA or at Infineon.

Sorry for the rambling... let's get to the race report, k?!

P/1/2, 90 minutes, good field, 50-60 guys. Early break goes with some Rock's and also Cookie. They're caught at around the 20-minute mark. By the 30-minute point, I'm in a break with some good horsepower (inc. C-Walk, Nate Diebler, Uthman Ray, two Rocks, and the aussie J F'in Joes guy) and soon we've got 40 seconds. Trouble was, C-Walk was jumpy, Uthman was surgie, and the Rocks weren't putting their hearts into it because their closers Bahati and Kayle were back in the group. But most significant to me, I was starting to cramp. (WTF!? In a crit?? That stupid 45+ race took more out of me than I expected! Wah, wah, wah...)

Our break had some horsepower.


But it wasn't enough for C-Walk, and he wanted to bust out...

Sorry C-Walk, this is all we got!!!





30 minutes go by and not much changed except that C-Walk was hanging solo 10-15 seconds otf. What a kook I thought to myself. Then some strong reinforcements came up to us: Bahati, Kayle, the other J F'in J, and Rigo. But our group was now too big, and guys stopped working and guys started attacking it. With 25 minutes to go, the field came back up to us. And C-Walk was still up the road. With two laps to go, a group of 7 pinched off on the hill, and Cookie (lucky #7, on 7/7/07!) made this selection. It was a perfect mix--representation from each of the strong teams. But guess what, they couldn't reach C-Walk either! Cookie gave it a strong go up the hill on bell lap, but didn't separate. That effort cost him his sprint so he tail-gunned it to the finish for a well-earned 8th place. I assume the sprinters in our group got the remaining places--I couldn't tell you for sure from my vantage point, if you know what I mean. I coasted in at the back.

So let's review... a 90-minute crit, albeit with some wind and a small incline. Rock Racing was there, one week past waxing Toyota-United and 140 other guys at Manhattan Beach. A couple of big-time Jittery Joes (is that an oxymoron?) and the usual SoCal brutes. And wispy-crispy C-Walk rides away from them solo? Damn Right he did!! He wants to reclaim that Elite Road Championship jersey next week in Seven Springs, PA, and he's peaking for it. You're on notice all you CalGiant Strawberries and who ever else is heading out there.



Race pictures from Steve Weixel's excellent gallery.

6 comments:

Steve Weixel said...

I got some pics of the first 40 minutes or so of your P/1/2 race... I'll have em up sometime tomorrow... you know, after I ride all day :P

Chester said...

Thanks for the report. THe Fennelli blog is one of my favorites. Great Race. You guys are Machines!

Marco Fanelli said...

Steve- Great! I'd love to use a couple if that's ok with you. If your race hadn't been at the crack of dawn, I'd have been their taking pictures. Of couse, the quality might not have been up to your standards...

Thanks Chester, I appreciate it!

Steve Weixel said...

Of course, you can always use my pictures. Its too bad I can't use your legs for a race...

veloandvino said...

Love that vampy!

Marco Fanelli said...

V&V- Yep, I've been C-Walk's biggest cheerleader for 20 years. And finally he's going to Austria. Not an ideal course for him, but like he showed Saturday, he's a tough bugger anyway. Good thing you're in different age groups, so we Californicators can root for you both!