Sunday, March 8, 2009

On the Domestic Front....

Team Safeway

We had a good mix of riders. Tony, Jeff, Dylan, Eric, and myself. Other big teams were Webcor, Lombardi, Sierra Pacific, Cal Giant, then some pros like Andy JM, Dan Hollaway, and Jackson Stewart. A pretty solid field overall.

A break of 6 riders (Hollaway, Joel Roberts, Fabrice, Chris (UC Davis), myself and on other) got a good size gap on the rest very early in the race. We were moving well and I was thinking there is no way the pack can bring us back. Then we hit a few primes. I challenges Hollaway and got him in a two up fair sprint. Thinking back I should not have done this. It actually put Hollaway on the defensive and he stopped pulling hard in the break. He was marking me for the next few primes and it was killing out rotation. Eventually, we lost all the time we had opened up (maybe 30 seconds) and we were smothered.

The next move had Eric representing and they kept the field strung out hard for about 3 laps. Eric was started up though and just sat at the front stringing things out. I was about 15 back and launched off the high speed just to change it up. No sense burning up our legs without hurting others. That started a chain of move after move, and we always had someone up there. Even Jeff was starting to get into the action with a move that stuck for a few laps and stole a prime. Jeff took it, even though he though he was just pulling through his teammate who was actually sprinting for the prime and the pack about 5 seconds back going bizurk trying to pimp them both at the line. Nice when your hard tempo can win sprints. ;)

That took us up to about 8 laps to go, and the next exchange was a two man break with myself and Fabrice (Webcor). We hung out there for two prime laps and I took them both by lighting up the last 200m to which Fabrice couldn't challenge. We got caught on the back stretch by a patchy, strung out field. The pace had now been hot for lap after lap after lap. A few more stale moves and we were all back together with 3 laps to go. Jeff was up near the front, I was about 7th and then I saw both Eric and Dylan also in the top 12. Holly crap, this looks awesome. Jeff knew both myself and Dylan were up there and kept the pace high with a hard move. After the catch I called to Eric who was in the front to go. He took us for a full lap and both myself and Dylan were in perfect position. Eric let us off after turn two of the last lap and now the problem was no once took the bit. Shit. The corners were uneventful, but then on the back stretch there was the usual swarm of riders. Jeff was moving up but didn't have the legs left. I thought of going, but I lost sight of Dylan and it would have been a dark attack for maybe no reason. I survived the swarm and was at about 5th wheel into the final corner. Hopefully, Dylan not far behind. The rider in front (my friend Jan) skidded his back wheel and caused me to break. I got passed by a bunch on the right and saw Dylan tucked in the fold. I was caught out and had to actually sprint into the wind for about 200m to reach Dylan but couldn't get in front of him. Just as I made contact at about 400m to go someone finally opened up the sprint for good. I think Dylan was about 6th and me 7th at this point. This was a pure fitness sprint, long and fast. Perez was in front of Dylan and wasn't giving him much draft in his super low seated track sprint. Hollaway and Andy were pulling away from Perez and Dylan was unfortunately losing contact. Instead of being able to help Dylan I had to use the momentum to try and challenge. I got past Pelez for 5th and almost to 4th at the line. Just a cluster mess. The crap that slowed myself and Dylan down caused two crashes in the final straight. It was a sprint of luck and if you were not in the top 3 you were fighting the swarms. I made it out but was white knuckled for doing so, Dylan definitely has the sprinters touch and he held position without even thinking it was that hard. He will become our fierce pack sprinter, I don't doubt it at all. With the horse power of the rest of us I think there are quite a few wins up for grabs this year. Knowing his positioning ability now I would have hit the back stretch hard and taken him to the final corner on a good train. He would have held his own again Andy, Hollaway and Pelez.

Jeff can comment more on Dylan's pack ability. They teamed up a few times late in the race and Jeff helped move Dylan up in the pack. The bmx skills were easy to see.

So, at the end of the race we stole 4 of the 7 primes (girl scout cookies, money, Gu) and ended up with a 5th and 9th. Remove the two pros and you get 3rd and 7th. They also awarded the most aggressive rider award to some crazy canuck. Damn foreigners!

Great team racing, lost of positives to take away. The kits also looked frigg'in awesome! The red arm-warmers make it so easy to find riders in the pack.


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