"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Cliff Bar AND The Gatorade, dude...

I guess I'm writing this more for me than you but I wanna get it down so I can learn from my experience tonight.

Chris and I had a ball in the B races in Matteson tonight. xXx thoroughly dominated - only on the second race for me, but Chris was the man of the evening.

The first race started very slow. Everybody was sitting in taking it easy, when with 8 laps to go Chris made his first break, saying, "Come on, Brian, let's go!" as he passed me, riding third wheel.

I jumped and grabbed on to get his (very early) leadout, but somebody used me to bridge up and it was 3 of us for the next 4 laps. One more guy, unattached I believe, bridged up on his own over another 4 laps, and was with us for the group sprint. There was a 5th as well I believe.

Not a smart move, at first. I should've sat in and blocked for Chris, but before tonight, I didn't understand the concept. I ended up getting 4th in the first race. My sprint just wasn't very good tonight. I But 4th was in the "money." 3 points.

2nd race was a real breakthrough for me. We started off slow and orderly, in a single file pace line. Everyone was taking nice 1-lap pulls. Sitting third wheel I started wondering just how long I could hold a breakaway. How long would it take to reel them in? And if I was reeled in, could I get it up again for the sprint - or even the win. I toyed with the idea of breaking away on the next lap, but I drafted again. It was when it came for my turn to pull that I made my move.

It was really early, everyone was complacent and in a rhythm, and it was the perfect time, especially in a training race because your there to learn and test your limits.

So I flew right off the front, and got out to about a 1 length lead with 20 laps to go, 5 to the sprint lap. I would cruise in the tailwind and then sprint on the wind stretch. Chris was blocking for me for quite a bit, it seems, as nobody was chasing me down for quite a while. Blocking involves sitting in and disrupting the rhythm of a paceline so it can't work efficiently to move up to reel in a teammate that has broken away. It is basically not taking your pulls, not letting the lead man off the front, and making the guy behind you skip you in order to relieve the lead rider. Once somebody attacks to bridge up on their own is when you grab their wheel and get the free ride up. I learned this the hard way a bit later in the evening.

On the sprint lap I found a renewed energy and hammered again, getting my speed back up. Two others had bridged, and so did Chris, drafting on a wheel. And then I got my best break of the evening. An unattached rider slipped right in front of me, just before the 3rd turn, giving me a free ride through the wind to the last turn. I gave it everything, grunting, snot running down my face, and took the sprint.

And then they all dropped off. And Chris got me my win in the race, by pulling me for at least 6 laps while I recovered. I was hurting. Dying. Could barely hold his wheel, but we were increasing our lead over the pack as they basically took the rest of the race off. We encountered the A's several times, and it felt good to hear words of encouragement from those guys, Bryan and Nick in particular. When I finally did recover, we took turns pulling at half-lap intervals and increased our lead to over half a lap. The end was no contest. 17 points.

The next race everyone was pretty tired and Chris had a good strategy, just chase down breakaways and have a great field sprint. So we sat for quite a bit, rolling easy. I pulled for a bit too long, and just didn't know how to get out of the pull. The guy behind me was not taking over. I was veering way right after turns, but couldn't shake anybody. Chris told me later I should have just stopped pedaling. But, I had trouble way earlier in the season with getting back on after pulls so I didn't want to slow down too much. But because I wasn't, nobody would pull through. Until Chris made his break.

It was here I should've blocked until somebody else tried to bridge up, but I stupidly chased him, thereby giving somebody else my wheel. But Chris said later he didn't have the legs for it anyway, but I should've saved mine.

Coming through on the last lap, I grabbed the lead and prepared to empty the tank. As I came by Chris, I slapped my ass, signaling I was his leadout. I wanted to give him the win for pulling for me so hard earlier. I also suspect he was still feeling strong even then and could've taken me in that 2nd race, so I really wanted to give some back.

I held the lead until the final stretch, and my lack of a good sprint technique cost me second place. I geared up way to fast before getting my spin up, and was already in my 12 tooth cog and not going fast enough. Chris came flying around me, so my leadout was good enough, but the unattached rider who'd given me the draft on my sprint in the 2nd race also came from behind and passed us both for the win.

4 points for the race, 21 overall. For second place overall. I've been told 11 points had been good enough for 2nd recently, so even still, it was a pretty good night.

Learned lots, burned a lot of calories, and had a hell of a time. The Cliff Bar guy said tonight better be our last race in the B's.


Anonymous said...

21 points is usually enough for 1st place, it just turned out that I had 22. It wasn't my plan to win the overall, but in that first race you weren't in a position to win and I wasn't going to let those other chumps take it. That probably made the difference.

Also wanted to clarify 2 things. First, in the first race, you didn't do anything wrong. Since my break was quite early, I didn't want to do it alone. So I told you to break with me knowing that others might be able to follow, but I didn't think more than a couple. After my initial jump I slowed a little and looked back to see what the gap was and who had followed. If too many had followed or the gap was very small, I would have sat up and waited for another opportunity.

Second, I said swing over and stop pedaling. Not move over or slide over. The swing over part is important since one should _never_ stop pedaling when on the front.

The Car Whisperer said...

Yes. There you have it kids. Read it and live it.