Monday, July 27, 2009

The Future?

Snapped on a recent group ride, Bert's youngin' was seen closing a gap in the peloton. Just like his old man.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The View from My Bike: PTO Road Race

It goes without saying that the PainPathways/PVS cycling team was serious about making a good showing at our signature event. In the 4/5 35 and under road race, Chancey, Dwayne and I lined up with a few friends (60+) to roll 39 or so miles in the heat. Last year, Cat 4, and Cat 5 road races were separate events. This time 'round, the Cat 4 and Cat 5 guys were together, which promised an interesting event. I predicted that half the group would be lost before the last lap, and I wasn't too far off.

The COURSE: Approximately 13 mile loop. Containing mostly flat to rolling terrain with one scenic lake crossing. Two climbs, effectively back-to-back were located about 4-5 miles from the finish.

Rolling through the neutral zone, chatter was pleasant and lively. However, as we got to the course and went "live," things changed immediately. The pace climbed into the mid-20's and stayed there. As this was a 4/5 race, there was some yo-yoing with plenty of brake-tapping. I was riding in the top 10 for the first lap (to avoid the yo-yoing), just sitting on and watching riders attack, dangle out front, then slowly slide back to the peloton. This went on 3 or 4 times over the first two laps. Usually, only one or two attackers went off, and no one panicked.

However, when 3 riders went off on the first lap, I decided to bridge up to them and give it a go. It was a let down, as when I got there, they announced there were sitting up. Back into the peloton, we knew we'd need to wait a bit longer.

Finally, on the last lap I moved to the front and started to push the pace a bit. Climbing a low hill to Ridge Rd., the kid behind me said "you might as well back off, it isn't worth it." Yeesh. Is this a group ride or a race? Just then, a guy I met at the start line, Lee, comes up beside me and says "Let's go man, I gotcha." I hop on his wheel and before we knew it, the loudmouth kid was out of earshot. Lee, not realizing he'd opened up such a gap, said to me "Hey, we're in a break!" I confirmed his statement, then we put our heads down and hit it.

We had a nice crosswind, but were still about 9 miles from the finish - a long way for two Cat 4/5 guys. Lee did more pulling than I could, but we worked well together, going as hard as we could. Our break survived for 5 miles before I spied a small group of chasers coming up to us. I told Lee, and we agreed to push hard until they caught us. When they did, one said "There are 5 of us here, let's go!" About that time, I got a message from my legs that said be careful.

Crunch time. We still had the two hills to go, with a big downhill rush to the first one. A pack of 40 can go down a hill pretty well, so our group of 7 was potentially out-gunned. The goal was to get over the two hills before the peloton got to us - that would leave just ~3 miles to the finish - most of it flat. On the first hill, I started to fade and couldn't pull through our paceline. I moved off and realized we'd already dropped one guy and another came off with me. My cohort Lee was still in there and heading to hill #2.

At the top of the first hill, the peloton crept up and I jumped in - happy to see Chancey and our friend Dwayne. Dwayne was near the front, and seemed strong, while Chancey and I agreed we were hurting (he'd raced all weekend). On the second hill, I faded just a bit. Encouraging 3 guys around me, we worked together to get back on the peloton and tried to get set for the sprint.

With 1km to go, the full two lanes of the road were ours (we were only allowed one lane up to that point). Riders were tired, so the speed was not terribly high right away. As we closed in on the finish line, I was actually in good position, maybe 3rd wheel here, then 5th wheel a bit later. Finally, the group started to accelerate and rumble to the finish. I tried to stand and sprint, but cramps closed that down pretty quickly. I lost a few positions in the last 100 meters, but am truly happy to have stayed upright!

Two of the guys from our breakaway of 7 stayed away and went 1,2. For some reason, I am proud of that, even though they aren't on our team.

Hopefully I will post pics later, but the experience was great. Hot, hard, fun, and rewarding.

Omnium Write-UP

First off, the omnium was a lot of fun. Jim did a great job. Special thanks to all those who assisted in making this a great event.

Friday night was the crit race. I did the under 35 4/5 race with Dwayne Henderson from CycleTherapy, Kem Newman from Gita Bikes, and Lee from UNCA. The field was huge and we went off at 8:35PM. It was dark and there was a huge group of fans at the finish line. The race started off fast and on the third lap a rider went down in turn one. Dwayne and I were behind it and had to come to a crawl. Dwayne got on my wheel and we blizted it back to the field by the finish line. The race stayed together from there but it was highly unsafe. Mix in a bunch morons racing in the dark and you get craziness. There were around 4-5 wrecks during the race. I made it to the front and tried to pull back a break of 3-4 riders. Coming around turn one I hit a bump in the road and both my hands slipped off the wheel. I thought I ate it but my shoulder caught the bars and I somehow stayed up. I had to hop on the sidewalk once to avoid a rider half-wheeling another rider. At one point with ~3-4 laps to go these two cycling saints around me began cussing each other and I thought they were going to come to blows. There were so many people in the race I had a difficult time getting to the front. On the last lap I let the group go and finished at the back of the pack. Dwayne and Kem were up with the group.

Saturday morning was the time trial around DCCC. I went off at 10:21AM. I missed my 10:11 start time because no one told me we needed new numbers for the TT. The TT course was challenging and we had to do the RR course backwards. There was a head wind on Ridge Rd. The course was around 13 miles and hilly. I did the TT on my road bike without aero bars or an aero helment. I averaged 22+mph and did it in 35:22. I was pleased with that effort. I ended up 15th in my group.
Pat Rimon rocked the 35+ 4/5 group and was in the top five (I think). Jimmy, Chad, Scott, Bert all had good showings. Sara Tussey and Deb put in strong performances as well. Robin and Ritchie did the tandeem TT and I think Michael and Lynn Berry as well.

Special note-Dr. Rob Paynter did great on his first TT with a sub 35 minute TT without any aero equipment. Dwayne Henderson rode strong as well.

Street Sprints-
Saturday night marked the street sprints. This was the event that scared me because I knew nothing about it. It was on the finishing straight of the crit in downtown Lexington. We raced the straight backwards. The sprint was ~500 meters and slightly downhill. We raced into a head wind and drizzle during the event.
I raced in the under 35 4/5 with Kem (Gita) and others. The first heat had 8 riders and Kem took off from the gun. I got on his wheel immediately and we raced to the line. I sprinted around him but he got me on the line by a wheel (photo finish). Kem and I moved on to the final. In the 35+ 4/5 race Mitch, Scott, Chad, Bert, and Kevin (think that is all all were there. Dr. Rob joined them. After several heats Mitch, Scott, and Bert all made the finals. I think Mitch and Scott both finished in the top 4. I think Bert got 5th. In the women's sprint Sara Tussey had a strong showing and made it to the finals. Sirena (MOB) won her second heat and made the finals.
In my final I got a horrible start because I wasn't ready and was way late off the line. I ended up 6th overall in the sprints. Kem won my division (impressive). Sirena was also 6th in the women's field.
Oh, I think the Hooters girls only dropped one racer at the start. They did flee when the rain started though!

Sunday was the final day and brought with it the RR. We all know the course with the challenging hills on Clodfelter and the head wind on Ridge Rd. Bring with it the insanely hot temps and huge fields and we had ourselves a race!
Doing the under 35 4/5 included E-Rich, Dwyane, Lee, Kem, Eric Phillips (Clemmons) and myself. Our field was huge and we went off at 10:40am. The race was 3 laps and around 39 miles. For the first two laps I was barely hanging on and E-Rich and Dwayne looked strong up front. On the second lap E-Rich and Lee took huge digs and got a big gap on Ridge Rd. They had what seemed to be a 1/4 mile lead on us. I tried my best to slow the pack. E-Rich held the break until the final climb on Clodfelter. E-Rich got to the back of the pack and recovered. By this time the peloton had dwindled down and was left to around 20-30 of us. Kem cramped on the last climb and Eric Phillips got off. Dwayne came to the front and was leading down the final straight. I came to the front and tried to relieve Dwayne. I led until past the 1K line and the rode opened up for the sprint. A guy came around me and cut me off. He leaned on me and I began leaning heavily on him. I was looking at the ground and thought I was about to hit the deck. I didn't panic and regained my balance. After that close call I dropped back and ended up ~15th. I finished right behind E-Rich and in front of Dwayne. E-Rich rode awesome! He was in the break, got caught, recovered, and the sprinted to a great finish.
In the men's 35+ 4/5 race we had Scott, Pat, Chad, Danny, Kevin, Bert, etc. The entire PVS train was there (except for Mitch who didn't pre-reg and the field was full at 75 riders). Don't know the results but hope everyone did well.

Omnium Write-UP

RR Pictures

I think there were at least 8-9 in the 4/5 +35. Unfortunately I didn't pre-register and didn't make the cut. The field was full at 75.

Jim at the start telling the guys to "think" during the race. Chad is already wiping the sweat off of his brow. Not a good sign.

And they are off.

The final parting shot. Chancey and Erich rode the 4/5 35 under. Sounds like they put in an awesome effort. I'm sure Erich will post later. I tried to ask Erich details, but he fell asleep before I had a chance. Jill said to just let him sleep. I tried to ask Chancey as well, but he was too busy talking about the pretty ants on the ground.

I'm not sure of the final overall results from the weekend, but when they are posted I will put them up here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Omnium Results

I rode the Cat 4/5 35+ along with about Bob Land, Danny, Todd, Scott, Chad, Kevin and Bert from the team. I haven't seen the official results yet, but everyone made a good showing. The prize of the day goes to Scott who won a prime that I think was worth $25 to MOB.

On a side note, I signed my first autograph tonight(poor kid). I know Scott signed one too, but that probably was not his first.

Great job Jim on the organization and execution of the race. That had to be the most attended crit race that I have been a part of.

Good luck to everybody today on the TT and Street Sprints and the RR tomorrow.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Omnium time! I'm doing the TT and the RR and will be setting up and taking down the street sprints on Sat. If anyone wants to help the set up will be 3-5 PM and the break down will be 8-10PM. Call me at 671-1488 if you can help! Pat

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Omnium!

I think we're all excited about the return of THE Piedmont Triad Omnium. Last year, the race was a huge success, especially considering it was our first year. With Jim at the helm, and with much of the team volunteering AND racing, we're set for a great weekend.

What I want to know is: Who's doing what?

I'm racing on Sunday, and working a medical tent most other moments. Anyone else?