Monday, 31 March 2008

Domestique Duty

We had a great team effort at the Jeff Cup yesterday, resulting in our protected rider finishing second in the 4 race. My job, along with a team mate, was to stay on top of the action in the early/middle part of the race, jump in any good looking breaks and generally be up front.

The overall plan was to help our man Chris P, who is about to deploy to parts unknown with the Coast Guard, get himself a great result in what will be one of his last couple of races before he has to hang up his racing wheels indefinitely. He has a deadly sprint, so that made our tactics a lot more clear.

The first lap and a half it was just super obvious that it wasn't yet break time, so we chilled out. Then Greg shot off the front just at a lull while I picked up second wheel in the bunch. If someone from a different team had bridged to him it would have been a really good move, but no one did and he came back after a pretty good stint.

We had discussed the need to push the dagger in on the third time up the hill to get rid of some people so Chris wouldn't have to sprint with 100 of his closest friends, so I dropped the hammer on the climb and inadvertantly started a break. Win Elliot (now with DC Velo) took over pulling on the false flat. I actually had high hopes for this, we had some good guys with us, but the bunch was too fresh and we came back a while later. A short trip to the recovery store and back to the front to chase a break and ride tempo at the front.

I hadn't been planning to still be at the front into the last climb but it worked out that way, so I pretty much sprinted down the runway and through the turn before the hill, then stayed on it until I couldn't anymore which turned out to be about halfway up the false flat. The field hauled ass past me, it was all I could do to get back on, but there were A LOT fewer guys there than there had been a few minutes before. Nice.

The run into the finish is kind of a hypoxic blur. All I wanted to do was be able to see the finish, but I was limping in too many riders back. Then word got back that Chris had gotten second. Freaking sweet. We also had maybe 5 guys in the top 20 so we racked up the BAR points.

After all the crap we went through trying to get the team to act like a team, yesterday was a 9.5 out of ten. Greg and a bunch of other guys did a ton of smart work and stuck to the plan throughout, largely screwing their own chances in the process. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometime so maybe this was a one shot deal but I'm thinking it isn't.

7 comments:

fabsroman said...

It will be nice to see the individual 4's racing as teams. I'll be working on it with my team when I get back from my suspension on June 21st. If most of the 4's ride with team tactics, there just might be less crashing and the sprints might be a little better organized. God I hope so.

How did Win do in the sprint? He has a pretty decent sprint.

fabsroman said...

It will be nice to see the individual 4's racing as teams. I'll be working on it with my team when I get back from my suspension on June 21st. If most of the 4's ride with team tactics, there just might be less crashing and the sprints might be a little better organized. God I hope so.

How did Win do in the sprint? He has a pretty decent sprint.

RayMan said...

Good race although it was scarry as shit. If I ever see 125 Cat4s lined up to race, I'm packing my bike in the car and going home. I can't believe how many times I had to brake going uphill and downhill. Just crazy.

Congrats to Chris for his 2nd place. Was he the younger looking guy with I think blondish hair?

My legs felt like shit the whole race, except for the final last couple of miles when the pace finally picked up.

Chuck Wagon said...

Real scary to have that many guys out there. We spent a lot of energy trying to cut down the field and set our guys up. Hopefully the "racing as a team" theme sticks and prospers. I haven't seen official results yet but they gave me "same time," which is laughably generous. I was really far behind the winners and there were 5 or 7 guys and then tumbleweeds behind me.

Ray the guy you are thinking of is Greg. He did a lot of work, huh? Chris was mostly invisible the whole race. He rides a silver and black BH.

RayMan said...

Glad I wasn't the only one that thought the race was Fin scarry. I'm really surprised there were any crashes.

I think it was the 3rd lap when there was finally some room to move up on the first hill before that sharp right hand turn leading to the second hill. I went up open left side really hard and then merged over to the right with Greg. He and I went up together and then rounding that right hand turn I took the turn really poorly and lost a lot of momentum. He gave me a push start. Thank him for me. I really don't remember what happened after that, but throughout the race I was always finding myself trying to move up on the climbs with no place to go and then getting past on the downhill sections.

Couple times I tried to break but I just seemed to time them poorly. Maybe I'd wasted too much effort blasting up the side from the back and by the time I got to the front I was spent. I remember one time early on going hard to bridge up to someone and then some guy comes blasting past me. Uhhh, dahhh, don't you want to work together in a break instead of attacking a forming break?

I think a break in a Cat 4 race will only work if you get maybe 5-6 guys to work together. I really don't think a break with less than 3-4 riders will be able to stay away. There are some strong Cat4s but don't think they're strong enough to stay away. Since I pretty much ride solo in all my races, I'm up for trying to break with other teams.

chris d said...

Y'all did a great job setting up Parrish. Seemed like NCVC was everywhere in the race. Nice to read that you were employing some team tactics and that you executed the plan. That's hard to do in the 4s. Glad you guys stay up around DC most of the time.

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