Monday, June 16, 2008

The Meat Grinder: Glendale Grand Prix

Our Crack SoCal Race Reporter gives us the digs on the CAT 4 race at this years Glendale Grand Prix. The report was understandably late, as our reporter was out on the town until sunrise this morning sipping champagne and eating caviar with Hollywood's young elite to celebrate such incredible and astonishingly against the odds results...

There were two races this weekend, Saturday in San Bernadino, and Sunday in Glendale. Saturday was hosted by PAA, Sunday by Bicycle Johns, our home course. I opted to skip out on Saturday to give me a better chance at winning Sunday. For the first time in while I had actual teammates who came out to the race, real live teammates. (For the record, before this race, whenever we had more than 2 of us show up to a race one of us won, I also had my lucky number, _00, which every time I have gotten it have podiumed, definitely a good start to the day)

Race: We warmed up for about 45 min was we went over the strategy for the race, which basically all went out the door when it started which I will explain later. The cat 3’s finished and we rolled over to the line to take our warm up lap and as we come around we notice that about half the field decided to not take it and just try to get a spot on the line instead (douches). So for the first time this season I started farther back than on the line. Spent the first few laps trying to move up and Kenny tried to go off the front a few times, but none of the usual first few lap antics were sticking. All of a sudden I look up the road and there’s a PAA guy about 80 meters up, solo, and about 5 PAA guys on the front slowing down the race. I must also say congratulations the PAA team for racing and great race, amazing teamwork, and good job controlling the front. Definitely not something you see often in the 5’s. Nobody seemed to want to bring it back so Scott and Justin went to the front and kept him at about 10-12 seconds but couldn’t quite seem to bring him back in, so I decided to try to bridge up after he had been off the front for a while as it seemed like he might be able to hold it. This is how the next 10 minutes or so went

Jump…try to create gap…look back after about 10seconds… see Jim Downs (strong PAA guy), among other PAA people on my wheel… sit up because I can’t pull them up to the break… repeat. They did a great job covering for their guy. Finally got some other people to go with me but it still wouldn’t stick, as PAA would go the front and shut it down every time we got a decent gap. Again Justin and Scott go to the front and dig deep to keep him in sight, which allowed me to counter and slowly make my way up to the break. Jason (Velo Pacific) managed to come with me and with his help we caught said PAA guy after about a lap. Not it’s 3 of us OTF and we start building time. 4 more bridged up and I looked around and saw that we had a good group of guys. PAA guy who was obviously strong for initiating the break, two guys from platinum (seth and someone else) who I remembered placed well at San Luis Ray and Punchbowl (two very hard road races), sam from cynergy who is a strong junior that has a great TT, and a guy who sat on the whole time with a blue and white’ish kit, let’s call him wheelsucker (saying the whole time that he had nothing left and could just barely hang on). Wheelsucker also had no idea how a break worked either, every time he ended up on the front, which wasn’t often, not only would he not take a pull, he would slow down the break and not pull off forcing us to come around and disrupting the rhythm. I figured he might have someone in the field he was working for, but nope just him. All during this time the rest of my team was doing a great job of blocking and there were a few times that the field got within 50 yards or so, but we managed to pull away again thanks to said blocking, (Between PAA and Bicycle Johns we made up nearly half the field: PAA at 15 and Johns at 5, 47 finished). We finally got the paceline going smoothly trying to keep wheelsucker off the front and built time up to about 25 seconds or so. Coming in to the last few laps the field was within sight on the straights and we knew we had no time for any bullshit in the break. With about half a lap to go, on the head wind side of the course between corners 2 and 3 I heard the PAA guy shift on the right and jumped hard up the left, and sure enough he did too. We met up about 20 yards ahead of the break with him in front to the 3rd corner. I though this is perfect as we had a gap on the break and I wasn’t on the front, my own little leadout. Going into said corner PAA guy rolls his tubular and bobbles (not sure if he went down) and use the opportunity to jump again and open an even bigger gap on the break. 300 meters to go and the break is starting to sprint with the field in sight behind them, I put my head down and just bury myself. 200 meters to go the break is closing, 100 meters to go, the finish line is in sight, the break hot on my tail, 50 meters to go there’s about a 15 yard gap between me and second and I have just enough time to throw my hands in the air as I cross the line in first with the field about 100 meters behind. Wheelscuker who sat on the whole race complaining he didn’t have the legs somehow miraculously managed to find a sprint and take second with the junior on 3rd. Jim Downs won the field sprint, an amazing race, and definitely not possible without the teamwork from the pack. Went over to pick up the prize money and realize I had also won two primes, a 24 pack of FRS and an egrem (I think that’s right) shirt.

For the number junkie: average speed 26.04, average power 273, max power 1171, average heart rate 195, max heart rate 213.

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