Thursday, March 12, 2015

Racing bikes and related shenanigans

The collegiate road season has started! Of course I'm trying to keep up with the fastest kids which is working most of the time. NCSU hosted a race a few weeks back, dope courses, super cold and a rude awakening that the As aren't a joke! Then the east coast descended into an ice age cancelling the following two race weekends leaving a frantically rescheduled William and Mary crit and road race combo as stop number two for all the bicycle inclined college kids.

A good weekend, good friends, and total domination

A Saturday morning criterium, on campus, four corners and all left turns. For the A-Team things looked more than promising, legs felt good and spirits were high before the whistle was blown. Why wouldn't we be expecting great things to happen, 26 person field, 6 for VT, 3 incredibly strong riders and no other team to match us...

Pulling in the Crit, photo by Sonja McG Photography

How the race transpired, two words, total domination! On the first three laps I went to the front getting the pace high right off the back, after a little bit of work it was time to sit on the back, hang on and let the rest of the team go to work and after 10 minutes Luke went for it solo off the front, fastest guy on a steel bike in the conference! Soon afterwards I went hard covering an attack and suffered a mechanical, seat slipped and started pointing down at +20 degrees, not fun and a big bummer leaving me on the sidelines spectating and cheering on my team. Within 15 minutes of breakaway Luke lapped the field, like a boss, and very soon afterwards Mike went for a repeat performance lapping the field solo just as Luke did. Then Taylor Pearman took 2nd in the field sprint for a 4th overall. 1st 2nd and 4th, crushing it, killing it, all time conditions! Super stoked for the team and bummed out that I wasn't there for the end game to help with a full podium sweep.

To boot we were done racing by 11:30 in the morning! After a little lunch, R&R and swapping out seatposts for a Thomson loaned by Wes's dad (need to return that...) it was time for a nice ride through the countryside! 20 miles nice and easy with several stops for photos.

Photo by Oliver Donkervoet

With a late short road race and everyone still stoked on the previous day's victories much planning was talked of. The jist of the most ridiculous plan was to have every single member of the A-Team was to attack, breakaway solo on different laps, then meet up off the front and team time trial away to victory! Laughed off as to crazy to work we went with something very slightly changed.... Feeling bold I went with the skinsuit rather than a kit, because skinsuit winsuit!

Seatpost mounted GoPro needs a mini fender for the dirt 

The Tidewater Classic course is ideal for breakaways 10 mile lap, easy to get out of sight quickly, a little wind, one decent climb and to spice things up a stout uphill sprint finish not on the normal lap! On lap one right at the steepest part of the hill I found myself at the front, with no one looking really motivated next to me. It was my turn to attack first, so I did, as violently as I could. With in 30 seconds I was out of sight of the field with no followers, no one even responded! A few miles into my solo effort I brought the gap up to almost a minute, but a chase group of 4 was coming in hot and had me before the first lap was over. The best part was that Taylor had made his way into the chase group, and since I'm no where near in shape enough to hold a breakaway for 45 miles it was good news for me. Soon I was dropped on the second lap and went back to the field.

Other teams were trying to attack but nothing was sticking and this went on for the whole race, eventually Mike countered and ended up going all the way to the leaders, 2 up the road. Then Luke followed an attack and made it all the way to the leaders, 3 up the road. By the sprint VT had 3 of the 4 lead riders and Taylor took the win with Mike in tow for 2nd after a classic Woodard leadout (some of the best in the field), who rolled in easy to 4th. After a few more riders came through it was me and Sean scheming in the field for an endgame for 8th place. After a little conversation I had the sprint and he had my leadout. 3k out we sat on the back of the 12 or so guys left, and with something like 400 meters to go it was game freaking on! At 400 was the crest of a hill the bottom of which was at 250 meters getting steeper all the way uphill to the finish. Wisely going for the the left side the first jump started, I yelled something along the lines of "GO, GO, GO!" and Sean kicked it as hard as he could. Meanwhile Navy thinks that this looks like their wheel to follow, I may have shouldered my way in there. At 250, which would be a little too long for most, especially uphill it was time to shake'n'bake, slingshot around and go like hell! Putting down the strongest sprint I ever have, surprising everyone, especially myself, running away with the field sprint and my first top 10 in the As! Needless to say everyone was stoked on 4 guys in the top 10! Total domination is what you get with a stacked team! Will the trend continue? We'll see in a week's time at Duke!

Luke has found the Brap! photo by Neil Singh

The A-Team! Photo by Sonja McG Photography

New Teams and Big Time Stoke! 

When you're favorite UVA student gives you an in on the raddest new team on the block you take it! Low key collegiate style and a dope jersey to rep! Looking forward to more good times with the same good friends! This way Bryan Lewis beating me in a mountain bike race will be a good thing, can't get mad at teammates winning! 

Till next time!
-B Slow Racing Brap Specialist  
I like that title