Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tardy Race Reports (Sisquoc, SLO, San Marcos)

July 19th; Sisquoc RR; Pro/1/2; 7 Laps for 75 Miles

At the start I noted a surprisingly large and talented field, including four SuccessfulLiving riders, plus solo pros Neil Shirley, Tony Cruz, and David Clinger. Lots o' strong amateurs too, including a bunch of Chris Daggs' Swamis, jandy Badonkadonk's NorCal Elites, three Strawberry Boyz, two 5-starz (Livingston and James G-W), Time's Mike Easter and C-Walk,...

...and of course, lined up in the very back, Papa Cookie, Bam-Bam The Hammer Haldeman, and moi.

Right on cue, the early break was established by the first corner with representation from most of the above teams, except, ...us. Fortunately, lots of wattage and solo pros still in the bunch, so the gap never got too big and we could see them off in the distance. We took our turns (pic at right, from Kim Weixel) as did lots of other guys, and the escapees were caught within a few laps. As per normal, that's both good news and bad news. The good news being, well, the break is caught. Which leads to the bad news, the inevitable counter attacks and surges. I suppose that's only bad news if you are tired, fatigued, weak, lazy, and/or out of position to respond. So we missed the next move too. But this one was smaller and never got very far because it had both Neil and Tony, and they don't get much leash. So with a lap-and-a-half to go, the bunch was compacto until SuccessfulLiving's Ricardo Escuela squirted off the front and nobody paid much attention. After all, he's just a sprinter, right?!

Wrong!! He was never seen again (until after the finish, that is).

Half a lap to go and Bam-Bam jumped clear on the left. As he dangled out there, I marked a couple responses until Vinny Owens jumped, so I let him go along with a SuccessfulLiving passenger (Bazzana?). The Hammer trio started pulling away. I followed a couple more guys attempting to cross the gap, including an extremely painful surge by Tony Cruz, but then I retreated to the back of the much-reduced pack. Well, in the final few miles, a bunch of small groups scooted across to Ben, and his group swelled to 18 riders. I tried one last time to get across solo on the hill, and made it pretty close before detonating. cest la vie.

Cody won the sprint for 2nd. Ben got 13th. I crossed the line in 22nd.

We'd like a "do-over" on this race!



July 20th; SLO Crit; Masters 45+

30'ish 45+ guys showed up for this excellent crit. What's up with that? I guess it's just too far from LA/OC/SD to attract a larger field. I was hoping that sharing the weekend with Sisquoc would help, but apparently not. Oh well.

But I was excited to have a teammate in a Masters race--big, bad, choo-choo C-Brown!

So yeah, a small field, but indeed a tough one. A couple Schroeder Iron sprinters (inc. Frank hisself), some Simple Green warriors, and some motivated local Rock Solids (e.g., David Leece), so I knew this would be a hard race to win. My only chance would be a break ...unfortunately, my legs weren't up to the task. I tried a few times (including with Jim Edwards and Carlos Soto, pic at right) but just didn't have the uumphh to roll fast for multiple laps. Highlight of my race was winning a prime for a case of CalGiant Strawberries (earlier blog post).

The race was interrupted near the end so EMT's could attend to Bob Guglielmelli who had crashed on the back stretch. Let's hope he's ok.

We restarted with 10-minutes-to-go, which quickly transformed into 5-laps-to-go. I sought out the wheel of speedy Tino Riveron, who seems to have a knack for finding the front. Unfortunately for me, he also has a knack for weaving through the pack and darting through gaps that look too small. I admit it... I'm a chicken in the end-game slice-'n-dice shenanigans that are the bread-and-butter for SoCal crit scum (and just so you know, I used that term endearingly). So I lost Tino. Bell lap and I rode by C-Brown, hoping he'd hop on my wheel. Seems he thought the Schroeder Iron express was a better ticket ...who can blame him... until one of them reached out and pushed him off the train. Two corners to go and I squeezed through the inside of somebody (sorry, whoever it was...) and tried to attach to the big Schroeder bodies, but they were too fast so I was into the wind alone out of the last corner. Not much position changing down the long home stretch. Schroeder gets 1st and 5th, Simple Green 2nd and 4th, Bob Neary 3rd, which left 6th and 7th for Choo-choo and me.

We'd like a "do-over" on this race.



July 27th; San Marcos Crit; Masters 45+

Sheesh!! I don't know if I'm dumb, weak, stubborn, ...or all the above.

What would you do if your race included the current 45+ RR and TT National champion ...and the current 45+ National Crit champion ...who, coincidentally, lapped the field together in that National Championship race ...and who both ride for the same team.

And further, suppose you've personally witnessed their tandem'ish exploits for many, many years... let's say, going back to the 1992 Masters 30+ National crit championships in Spokane, WA, where the two of them were off the front and you (solo) almost bridged the gap, getting to within a couple agonizing seconds, only to fade back into obscurity and anonymity, while they motored on to finish 1-2.

And even further further, suppose your fitness is good and you feel up to the challenge of competing against them.

Now a smart person would race this situation with total focus and attention on the two aforementioned protagonists. You'd never lose sight of them, and you'd conserve energy in anticipation of the inevitable attack. A strong rider would latch onto the back of that attack, perhaps even going pull-for-pull to establish the gap. Then as the finish neared, you'd withstand the one-two counter punching, and sprint past both of them for the glorious win.

Yes, that would be the smart and strong thing to do.

But I'm too stubborn to try that, because, well, it seems like negative racing ...not to mention that I'm too weak and dumb to execute it anyway. Instead I'll just make a few Lame-O attacks and counter attacks, pulling the bunch around, until eventually I need to take a rest break in the back of the pack. At which point, Batman and Robin bolt off the front and bank a 20-second gap within a single lap.

You can decide for yourself which one is Batman and which one is Robin.

Duuhhh... which way did they go, which way did they go...

Please go here to see more excellent photos-by-Lenny of the San Marcos races, along with other SoCal events.

So anyway, the Dynamic Duo easily won the race. Honestly, once they got the 20-second lead, I doubt that a full-pack TTT could have brought them back. Bell lap was a bit chaotic in the bronze-medal-hunting group. I surfed various and sundry wheels until with 200 meters to go I pushed on through to the front, thinking at least I'd salvage some pride and win the field sprint. Yeah, right!! I'm not sure if I backed off a tad or what, but Tino came by me at the end to cap off my flailing failure.

Not sure where the official results are, so you'll have to look at this pic if you care...

Yeah... I'd like a "do-over" on this one too.

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