Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ronde van Crapcrit (man I love this course...really)

The night before the race I was reading through several different blogs I monitor and saw an interesting post from Hernando talking about how to keep your position in the top 1/3 of the pack and riding efficiently to keep your position. My goal, along with Matt's was to see how this race would play out and attack when we thought it advantageous to our strengths.

From the get go it took a lap or two for the field to get in a rhythm. It took some hard efforts to get towards the front, but once there it wasn't too difficult to remain in the top 15. Three laps in a Third Pillar guy goes flying off the front. Matt bridged across and stuck with him for a while, but then realized it was probably too early and he drifted back to reality. This guy was strong and we let him hang off the front for the next 25 minutes. A slow death which just sapped his legs.

In the meantime, no teams really came to the front to work, so I made sure I didn't put my nose out in the wind too much, but just enough to keep things moving. With 10 laps to go we caught Mr. Pillar. He stayed near the front and attacked again with 8.5 laps remaining. Given that he realized nobody was going to go with him, he sat up as he neared the start/finish line.

This was my chance! The group at the front mushroomed and I kept my momentum and stepped on it. I threw down about 1,250 watts to separate myself from the field and kept a pace of 675+ watts for the next 30 seconds. Looking back I saw a Zteam guy bridging across...good, I needed a friend to hold off the pack for the next 8 laps.

We worked together but this guy was strong. He would gap me on his pulls and I had to yell up to him several times to slow down just a bit to let me get in his slipstream. We kept on putting time on the field, and coming around the final corner we had 2 laps to go. At this point the Zteam'er gapped me and didn't let up. So I knew I had to TT it in for 2nd. I looked back and noticed I probably had 25 seconds on the field and felt pretty good about keeping my position. I knew Matt was probably near the front of the pack making sure nothing really materialized for a chase.

Redlining it and going hard, I came into the hairpin turn. This turn hadn't given me any problems all day, but this time it did. My rear tubular rolled off the rim and promptly got stuck in my brake. The rear wheel fishtailed out and I managed to keep it upright. I was so pissed I yelled out my best William Wallace battle cry to the heavens. I was pissed!!!

I got off the course promptly took out my anger on my helmet. Bye-bye my Bell Sweep were a good friend, but between you or my wheelset, it was an easy thing to replace the helmet versus the wheels. I watched the leader come around on the final lap and he had it in the bag. Matt was second wheel coming around with the pack and I yelled some encouragement to kick some ass! He did and I'm happy we got on the podium.

Afterwards I received a lot of kudos from my competitors, but it still doesn't make up for a tire rolling off the rim. Oh well, more battles on the bike are awaiting tomorrow.

No comments: