Monday, February 28, 2011

Snelling RR

Nothing went as planned for Snelling. The weather was supposed to be Artic and it was perfectly sunny and spring like. Team Tibco was supposed to flood the field but only 8 of them were there. And that was just the beginning. Team tactics, Breakaways and even results all turned out not to be what they seemed.

My teammates were at home exercising great devotion to the human race by not infecting it with flu like symptoms. I love them for their legs and even more for healthful instincts. That being said, the pre race team meeting was brief.

The head count at the start line gave us 8 Tibco, 10 Metromint, 2 Touchstone, 4 Red Racing and a whole bunch of individual riders including a girl from Boston who I rode with on the Nature Valley Pro Ride last year. If you weren't from around here, you might think that Metromint would be the team to watch. That Tibco and Metromint would have at each other all day. However, most people know that Metromint has a history of not being able to work together as a team. So the only thing a rider would really need to pay special attention to is what Tibco was planning.

Tibco controlled the race. They didn't let anything go. Even a breakaway with Webcor (me), former Webcor (Lindsay Myers), a Team Leadout and *2* Tibco couldn't stay away. It became clear that Tibco wanted to force a field sprint so they could practice a lead out train. At about 1.75 to go Tibco began to attack the pack. They were supposed to attack with the field so that the pace would increase instead of attack out of the pack and dangle off the front. A few girls attacked the way they were "supposed" to. Then 1 Tibco attacked and created separation that no one was willing to chase. It didn't appear that she didn't finesse it the right way on purpose. She just did what she thought was right. The result was that Tibco was forced to block for her and the pace slowed. We were then neutralized twice (once for the mens P12 break and later for the remainder of the mens p12 field). The neutralization' s only helped Tibco stay away.

None of the individual riders would chase because Tibco wouldn't let them go. The only thing the womens peloton could hope for was a team like Red Racing or Metromint with more than 1 racer to go to the front and rotate to chase. Then very next thing that happened shocked the womens field. Metromint organized and chased. Metromoint! We couldn't believe it. We were completely blown away. We were so proud of them. It was only 3 Mints at the front and there were still others in the pack that didn't choose to work at the front but 3 of them did some- thing that we never thought we would see. Metromint has so much horse power it's always been such a shame to watch them race defensively and without organization. I can't wait to see what else they pull off this season.

Ok, so we are coming up on the second to last turn. We get neutralized for the remainder of the mens P12 field. We are taking that second to last gravelly bumpy corner with the mens pack. After we are clear, Tibco lines up at the front and starts a lead out train. We turn the final corner and I'm 4th wheel. Two Tibco pull off and Webcor and Tibco are sprinting for the finish. Remnants of the mens field are spread across the road between us and the finish. There was no where to go. Webcor took second in the sprint and 3rd in race. At least that's what we thought.

Back at registration, an hour and 30 minutes after the race, The race results were still being tallied and refuted and tallied again. We spent our time looking at the Merced River and admiring Josie Morgan's winning Velo Promo Snelling t-shirt design. The TIbco rider that broke away was caught riding with the men's P12 break away. She was observed by a moto official and apparently DQ'd from the race. So the 3rd place moved to second. Unfortunately there were no small shirts left so I could have saved my energy for the Merced Crit and gotten 11th place.

I have no way of knowing what Tibco or Metromints tactics really were. It's sort of like predicting the weather. You can try and get close but you can't know what the real plan is. Maybe they realized that they actually were a strong competitive force and didn't have to be afraid to race their bikes or maybe they did it out of desperation but whatever happened for them was a metamorphosis that really impressed the girls that know them. I do know is that Metromint took a giant baby step forward and I'm really looking forward to racing WITH them this season. They are good girls that always bringa positive competitive attitude to the race.


Team Schedule 2011

Event/Race Date
Bridge Team camp Jan 29/30
Cherry Pie Crit 6-Feb
Snelling 26-Feb
Merco stage race March 3-6
Madera March 12-13
San Dimas March 25-27
Redlands March 31-April 3
Sea Otter April 14-17
Santa Cruz Crit 17-Apr
Copperopolis 23-Apr
Wente RR 30-Apr
Berkeley Hills 8-May
Cat's Hill 14-May
Tour of California 16-May
Mt. Hamilton 29-May
Memorial Day Crit 30-May
Mt Hood SR June 2-5
District TT 12-Jun
Pescadero RR 18-Jun
Nevada City 19-Jun
Road Nats June 21-26
Burlingame 26-Jun
Leesville Gap 3-Jul
Davis 4-Jul
San Rafael 9-Jul
Cascade July 19-24
University RR 21-Aug
Vacaville Gran Prix 28-Aug
Challenge RR 3-Sep
Giro 5-Sep
Track districts August
Tour de Peninsula 7-Aug
Mt Tam 10-Sep
District Crit 25-Sep
Track Nats Sept 29-2

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Folsom Crit

Webcor was split up all over the Bay area this weekend. Emily was racing collegiate for Davis. Haley and Jane were riding up Old La Honda 17times. Bec was (still) in Australia and Mary was racing in the good old Folsom Crit. Those promoters (Bicycles Plus Bike Shop and Sierra Nevada Brewing) put on a good race and they do it with smiles on their faces. Excellent pavement, great weather, good tough competition, and a Jamba Juice 1 block away, Folsom is the perfect local bike race. I'm not just saying that because Sacramento is my home town, because I'm partial to the weather or because I love the people.

With no teammates in the race, the tactic was simply to be smart about expending energy. I made an attack out of turn 1 on the first lap. I wanted to see if anybody wanted to play. Rather, I wanted to get the 45 minute race started and invite someone to counter attack. Somebody did. I think it was
Ruth and then Touchstone. That pattern basically kept repeating itself until about half way through the race when Beth was warmed up.

Beth (Leadout) didn't have any teammates either. Ruth (Lombardi) had her mom. To be quite honest Ruth Winder and her mom make a pretty amazing team. Margaret Winder is probably the most tactically brilliant Cat 4 cyclist the Womens peloton will ever know. WARNING! Do not be fooled by her slight stature or race license category! She's the one in the Lombardi kit that isn't Ruth.

A little head wind had developed on the back side of the course and with only 1 complete team (Touchstone) in the pack, breakaways were doomed. A nearly perfect break formed with Touchstone, Webcor, Leadout, and Lombardi that was gaining seconds on the pack with each rotation was attacked repeated by Leadout until the pack absorbed it. Not all races have to have a break but simple mathematics tell us that 1 out if 5 gives you a 20% chance at winning which is more than 1 out of 45. When 2 of the five are Touchstone then you can pretty much guarantee that one of them will work or the other and your chances actually sort of increase for the other 3 riders.

Sprinting from a pack can be fulfilling. I did it on the bell lap and it felt amazing until I crossed the finish line. I want to blame the guy flipping the lap cards. I'd like to say that I swear that I counted down from 3 laps to go and saw the card and I sprinted and won. But I can't. I can't get mad at the lap card guy volunteering all day so that I can roll around in circles. I'm not going to be mad that I didn't win an Early Bird Crit. Even though Beth is my competitor, she's also my friends and I'm happy when she wins a bike race. All I can do is realize what is happening and try to fix it. I made it about halfway around the course when the pack caught me and I got ready to sprint again. This time I took second to a fresher pair of legs. Not a bad come back.

The 1892 Census of most popular baby girls names was the last time Beth, Mary and Ruth shared a top three together. The most recent was the Folsom Criterium.

Lesson: #1 Pay attention to lap cards. Pay extra attention to lap cards! #2 Giving you daughter a lead out will probably make her more likely not to test your authority with regard to dating and curfews. Be a cool mom when you grow up and have kids. #3 Try to support your race promoters and the folks that donate prizes. They are spending money & time and negotiating with the city & nearby businesses to close their doors to regular income flow just to grow the sport. If you need more incentive, Bicycles Plus in Folsom gave me a 15% bike racer discount on the day of the race.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie Crit really highlights the glamorous side of bike racing in that everybody has to sneak off to the car to wipe the PowerGel and snot on their faces to look presentable for the cool down ride. I hadn't done this race in 2 or 3 years and this was the first time I can remember such amazing weather. I also remember being 20 lbs heavier two years in a row and getting dropped like a Rashard Mendenhall fumble. It's hard to say which hair pin turn is more fun: Ronde or Cherry Pie. We should take a vote.

There was a good crowd today. Lots of super strong girls. There was this one Swiss girl that I think I've seen at Cherry Pie before. I don't know her name and she wasn't prereg'd. You could tell she was probably going to be a threat because her skin suit didn't have a collar. Europeans wear skin suits with no collar.

Tactics: Our womens team had a great race today. There were 6 of us and we all did something to make the race hard. Our attacks and counter attacks were nearly flawless. We had a great first race together. We had hoped that a break would form but the momentum just didn't build because there were a lot of individual riders. The start of the race was manageable. There were a couple early attacks by Webcor and 1 or 2 others. Swiss Miss really wanted a break and she got it. To be perfectly honest I can't really remember where she snuck away. I do remember just having come back from an effort and not being in an ideal position to chase her.

I do remember Olivia (PB2012) and Liza (Primal) and Jane (Yahoo) being on the front waiting for the other to do some thing. Webcor (Emily) threw down another attack and as she was coming back I jumped. I was hoping that one of the pro girls would come with and we could make decent separation or potentially bridge. Before I knew it I had a decent gap and just decided to go with it. I was making time on Swiss Miss but it wasn't enough. At3 to go my gap was 10 seconds. I decided to sit up and try to recover some thing for the sprint.

As soon as I got back (Webcor) attacked. This quickened the pace a little and limited the rear pack swarm. Liza (Primal) jumped hoping to solo for a second place. There was some shuffling in the pack and the final lap movement made organizing at the front difficult. I saw Liza on the hill and I knew I could catch her. I jumped to the front and basically went as hard as I could. I was trying to time Liza's pace. I think that if I had waited any longer she would have gotten second and I would either get 3rd, 4th or 5th. I jumped because I thought there was a chance I could get 2nd or 3rd. I ended up leading out Ruth Winder (officially unattached, ride in Lombardi kit) and Kirstin Drumm (Electric) and came in 4th. I'm not saying that I wouldn't have wanted Webcor tow in but I don't mind taking second to strong, smart, classy girls like Ruth and Kirstin.

1. Practice knowing the space between patience and perfect timing.
2.The difference between an American that wants to look Euro and an authentic European is the lack of a collar and that the sleeves on their long sleeved jerseys only go to the middle of the forearm. Beware of this.
3.Bring a summer dress, gladiator sandals, over sized sunglasses and a floppy hat for an instant post race fashion makeover that will leave you looking like a clandestine Hollywood actress instead of a war-torn athlete. Wear waterproof mascara.

See you next week!-Mary