The Recycled Cycles/Raleigh team recently drove East to Spokane to take on the Frozen Flatlands Omnium. The race this year really only lived up to half of its name, as the weather dictated winter base layers, while the terrain tricked the big guys into a false sense of security.
Some riders left town Friday afternoon and had a beautiful, scenic drive over the Pass, while others took their sweet time loading up the team van and getting on the road. These riders are the type who think to themselves, If WSDOT has huge trucks to push people across an iced-over mountain pass, why not wait for the ice and put them to work? That’s what Adam J., Busto, and Ian did, and why we will now be taking up a collection for tire chains to fit the Sprinter.
The omnium began with a flat, 12-mile out and back time trial on Saturday morning. Temps were brisk, so we set up our trainers inside the van for warm ups. (In practice, this is great, as the there is plenty of headroom and you can really get the body temp up ahead of a hard effort like a time trial. (Yet from the outside the slight swaying of the van, plus the fogged-up and sponsor logo-obscured windows, may have led to curious whispers from passersby. )The first 6 miles of the TT were directly into the wind, which gave a great advantage to those with aero equipment. At the turn, everyone caught the tailwind and went straight to the 11 for the 30mph run back to the finish. Recycled finished the day with strong performances in all categories.
After a few hours of chatting/eating/napping in the van, Recycled took on the 48 mile road race across the “flat” lands. The key to Saturday afternoon was staying out of the wind, and the group battled constant and strong headwinds that left it lined out most of the day. Mid-race brought an extended light hail storm for the 3s, while the 4/5s were treated to it for the entirety due to their later start time. The cat 3 race was dominated by a break of two Masters racers who out-muscled the pack and stayed away to the finish. Back in the main pack, Adam Kaufman took control of the cat. 3 race once the road tilted up, causing the attrition and splits that brought a small group of six to the finish just behind the day’s two-man break.
With two riders in the points, RCR was optimistic of an overall podium finish and decided that Adam J. and Busto would work for best-placed Junior. The 25-mile road race was again made difficult by extended sections of strong head and crosswinds, which quickly beat back most break-away attempts. With the relative brevity of the race in mind, at about 6 miles to go the pack seemed content to let one rider dangle ahead and wait for a sprint finish. That’s when circumstances conspired to bring what must have looked from the follow car like one of the most PRO moves in a cat 3 field ever undertaken.
With the road beginning to point up, Adam J. began to feel the his heart rate and body temperature climb, so he moved to the back of the group to remove his wind vest and cool down. His next thought was to get back to the front and up the pace, with the purpose of softening up the group for a possible uphill attack by Kaufman. Next, he shot straight up the draft side of the pack to the front, and sensing a hesitation in the group, attacked with fury. Continuing on with no followers, Adam J. successfully bridged to a lone leader just as the course got tough.
The two-man break traded smooth turns up the false flats while Kaufman hid in the draft and Busto played blocker on the front of the pack. Despite a gap that grew to no more than 30 seconds, Adam J. and his Lenovo break mate were able to hold the group off over the final hill at 1k to go. With the pack speeding down the last small descent, Adam J. was forced to take one last pull in order to stay away, thinking that even if he was beat at the line, second was better than nothing. As the two hit the last uphill kicker at 50m, the sprint began. Adam looked to his left and immediately saw that the time alone off the front for the Lenovo rider had clearly taken the snap from his legs, and even though he led to the line, Adam J. easily took the sprint for the win about 15 seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
Adam J. was ecstatic to take the stage win and grab enough points to win the overall. Always one to look for opportunities to look and act cool on the bike, he was also happy to have made it seem as if he went to the back of the group with a confident champion’s purpose; to take off his vest to reveal his race number, knowing he’d need it visible for the GCRacing cameras at the finish. That Jablonski sure knows how to win in style!