Sunday, August 24, 2008

San Attack-O Race Report

This was my last race in the 4's and it was funny how many guys came up to me before the race and during the first lap and said something like, "Hey, I thought you would have upgraded by now...are you going to pull us around the course?" Nothing like being a marked man even before the race has started.

The plan was to protect Chris and see what we could do for him. Given such, Chris and I spent all of lap #1 and #2 in the back of the pack. My power data confirms that it was way too easy of a ride sitting back there and doing absolutely nothing. It was easy for me to see the front of the pack and there were never any attacks that rolled off more than 10 yards off the front. A friend of mine who rides unattached knew something was afoot. He came back and said, "I know something's not right when you're sitting at the back for this long."

A break didn't stick until the end of the second lap. Four guys got away and had a nice gap. Finally the pack decided to slowly reel them back in over the course of the next couple of miles. As we were getting closer to the break in the rollers after the start of our final lap, Jonathan attacks and tries to bridge across. Good move seeing we didn't have anybody in the break. Some matches were burnt by Jonathan on this effort, but you can tell his fitness is getting better as he's now able to be a factor at the end of a long race (did I say I really like longer distance RR's?).

Back to the action...Jonathan got about halfway across and then the pack decided to pick up the pace. During this time Chris was working himself up the left side and I on the right. Just as we're about to catch Jonathan and the break, I attack. It was on a slight rise before a downhill section where I had to ride on my brakes for the past 2 laps. I got about 200 yards off the front and averaged 442 watts for the next 5 minutes. Eventually two guys were able to bridge across and we worked together 5 minutes but they were dying and the pack decided they didn't want us to take off.

As we got caught, Joseph and Jonathan attacked again. It was nice to see how we saved all our attacking for the last 15 miles of the race. Yes, there was a definite plan starting to unfold. This 2-man effort didn't stick for long and we were back together leading up to the small hill on the backside of the course leading back to San Ardo. Jonathan and Raj were 1-2 up front and I rolled up slotting behind Jonathan. He hit the gas and strung folks out to the base of the climb. From there I attacked again and tried to see who would come with me. I slowly pulled away at the top of the climb and kept on the gas. One guy came across and asked me, "Do you want to work together?" Hmm, let me think about this...of course dude!

Next thing I know Chris had bridged across and joined us. Now this was a break that looked good. 8 miles to go, 3 strong riders and a pack that had 50+ miles in their legs. However, Third Pillar with their 10+ guys decided to put some big guys on the front to track us down. When we got caught I worked hard to stay up in the top 15 guys. There was not enough selection across this flat course to weed out many folks and it was getting tense.

A surge here and there was all that happened for the next 5 miles until Kevin Threm (my unattached buddy noted earlier) attacked. He went hard and got a good gap; however, Third Pillar pulled him back. I must have ADD and have forgotten about my previous two attacks. Four miles to go and I attacked again. This one really hurt and continued to hurt as nobody came with me. Coming into the town of San Ardo I had probably 150 yards on the pack, but someone got pissed off and the group decided to hammer across the final bridge. I was caught at the base of the climb hoping that my teammates were in good position to jump up the slight climb to the finish.

I was toasted like a french oak barrel ready for fermenting of cabernet grapes. The whole pack, yes, the whole pack swarmed around me as went zooming by. I stood to climb and both legs cramped. I rolled up to the finish line knowing I had put in several hard attacks and excited to open the next chapter of my cycling journey in the 3's.


Dave said...

442 for 5 minutes? No wonder I couldn't catch. I saw you come up on the outside and knew you were going to counter. I didn't know if you were just baiting us or going to try and win. Since I had spent a few matches trying to bridge or participate in 3-4 ill-advised attacks earlier I thought for too long and then jumped. My team mates said that really got things going after I rolled off a bit but I got tired and saw the chase on. They caught me and the two guys bridged up to you but we had that covered. Maybe if I had gone sooner and someone else had come with me......anyway, that killed me and I never fully recovered. Fun race, tho, and you guys played it right. Good luck in the 3's!

Manley Man said...

I was hoping there would be more attacks from other teams in the first 2 laps, but it seemed that everybody was content to see this race as one big training ride. I wouldn't have been surprised to see no attack on the last lap as I didn't really get the sense that some of the teams wanted to 'play'. I know this will change when I start racing with the M35+ 1/2/3 crowd.

phipps said...

442 Watts for 5 minutes! If I could hold that power for 5 minutes I'd be 3 miles up the road.

Sounds like a fun race though, too bad your breaks didn't stick. I look forward to seeing you in the 1/2/3 races.

Dave said...

No kidding! If he would have told me when he jumped that he was gonna pump out that kind of effort I woulda just sat in.

Steven Woo said...

Great report, was wondering who was keeping the pace high through town. That was the biggest pack left at the end in the four or five times I've done San Ardo.