Jumping at Oly: the 4s

13 06 2011

Recycler Liam reports from the cat 4/5 field of the Capital Stage race in Olympia:

I don’t usually write race reports, but here’s what I saw of the 4s. All in all, I agree: great race, will certainly be back next year. Maybe I’ll have better luck and
better legs.

Friday /RR: the pace started out slow, the field was bunchy and sketchy. Even though we were combined with the 5s, they were actually some of the safer riders. I was working for Paul this weekend since I knew I didn’t have much in the way of legs. After about 15 miles, I took a hard flyer off the front. Some of the heavy hitters in the race bridged up, and we had a gap, but before we got organized (one guy didn’t know the meaning of short pulls), Cycle U got organized and pulled us back in.
I knew I couldn’t hold a break, so my goal was to mess with the field a bit, then launch Paul as soon as I got reeled back in. After our little break got pulled in, I started to let the field go by, looking for Paul so I could lead him out and organize a few other guys. Pretty soon I was at the back of the pack with no sign of Paul.
The rest of the story is nowhere near as exciting: I sat on the back for the next hour, then I dropped my chain and put my derailleur in the spokes on the final climb, skidding like a hipster in the middle of the pack. I got things spinning again, started to descend, and sent the chain off the other side of the cassette. So I decided to use only the middle cogs, and started to chase – only to see Paul tearing down the road behind me, his leg hanging out of his shorts. “[expletive deleted]ing [some team] guys” he said as he rode by. We chased hard for the last 5 miles, but still ended up 5-6 minutes off the back of the pack.

Saturday/TT: I couldn’t find the aero bars, I missed my start time by 10 sec, and the official made me start with a foot down: mediocre time, my own fault.

Saturday/crit: Paul and I rode the course a bunch before it was closed, and we decided that the only way the sketchy 4s field could ride the technical course safely was single-file. I took a hard flyer off the line, yelled at a skateboarder,

Shredder shows Liam his smart side

and held it for three laps until my hill legs gave out. The much-reduced pack cruised by me fast and lined-out on the hill, and I was off the back: mission accomplished. I recover and start to chase; a 4-year old girl almost runs in front of my wheel.  I got organized with a Bikesale guy, and we thought we might have a chance of bridging back, but it was only to get pulled with about 7 min. to go.

Sunday/RR: with my legs pretty sore, I was working for Paul again. The pace car took two wrong turns. I tried to organize a break, but missed my chance to lead out Paul and our other compatriots into the second climb. I took off anyway, but seeing that nobody followed, I dropped back. The pack sped up as they went by, shedding me, the GC leader, and about half the field.
About 4 of us mounted a hard chase, only to find the lead pack of 15 pacelining hard. We caught on, but that didn’t stop the pain-fest. I finally got popped off on the final climb after my chain dipped momentarily into my spokes again (I guess the new derailleur hanger didn’t fix the problem.) Paul finished well, and I was 3 minutes off the back.

In all, a fun weekend of racing, despite being off the back much more than I’m used to. Once I recover from the stupidity of letting my dog take out my front wheel this morning, i’m resolved to start training enough to be able to really hurt some fools. Road racing is really far too much fun for me to just be a cyclocross guy.


Jumping at Oly: the 3s

13 06 2011

Recycler Josh reports from the cat 3 field at the Capital Stage Race in Olympia:

This was a great stage race;  I suggest we support this with a greater number of racers next year!

Friday – 71 mile RR (a 10 mile loop that felt more like a CR). The racing was fast and hard, featuring attack after attack. I believe every one of us RCR racers was in a break, and we helped to bring back at least 1 break each. Nick was taken out of the main pack with 50 miles to go by a silly crash! Great work on his part suffering through 50 miles of OTB. Steve was the strongest man on our team, so Matt and I worked for him.
With 10 miles to go, and a good group a minute or so up the road, Matt and I hit the front hard for a long time until we each blew up (well, I know I blew the heck up!!). I lost contact during an attack through the feed zone hill when I was unable to coax my bike to shift to the big ring, and I wound up finishing just OTB since I did not see the need to hammer myself any further over the last couple km.
Steve was able to pull out a 6th place by coming second in the field sprint.

Saturday – 3.5 Mile morning TT . The TT was awesome; if only I had brought my TT bike, and if only I had known that I would have had enough time to get warmed up! Nick and I each soft pedaled the TT, Kusy and Matt got after it; great work, guys!

Saturday – 50 Minute evening Crit. This crit was one fast crit: tons of attacks, a couple failed breaks, lots of FAST descending – and a bunch of crappy cornering by piss-poor bike handlers! We shed the race leader early, and the attacks just kept coming. I took one hard dig on the front to chase down a break; I’m not sure it helped, but it sure hurt!
Matt and Steve were patrolling the front, taking pulls, and generally looking like studs! I was afraid they’d gone to the front too early (6 laps or so to go), but I guess not… Steve had the course figured out! While I’m fighting for position, Steve takes off with 1 to go, right before the start of the technical section, and he was not to be caught: Winner!
Matt and I managed to maintain position, no thanks to Matt chopping me in a corner (HA HA)!! Great results for the team! Nick was pumped and ready to race the crit, only to have his derailleur ripped off the bike – that thing was mangled! That sucked, since we had really wanted to Nick to be the man in that race… And we sure could have used him in the 90 mile RR.

Sunday – 90 mile RR. Ok… this was a great course with 5 climbs, none of them all that steep or long, but it was the queen stage of this SR, and it came after a super hard RR on Friday… we were all a bit cooked (I know I was and still am today!). Personally I was dropped on 4 of the 5 climbs, chased on 3 times, once solo and for at least 8 miles. Matt and Steve both looked great, each covering attacks and taking some digs of their own. I did a little work on the front of the pack and even took a dig on the last hill after chasing back to the pack for 8 miles! This was a LONG race but tons of fun, over great terrain. The team raced safe and strong.

Special thanks to Heather (Steve’s Lady) for working the feed zones and supplying us with post-race chocolate milk yesterday! Freaking awesome support that was needed for both long RRs.

We’ve Got a Winner

8 06 2011

Recycler Matt reports on his 2nd annual victory at the Ballard Crit:

My plan was to let Steve & anyone else chase primes/breaks, and to wait for the sprint.
Spoonie did great work in going off the front for a few laps, making everyone chase. And then Steve took some primes (two!), making a bunch of guys chase once again. I think he went off the front too! I don’t know how you guys can go OTF in a crit… that’s too much for me.
I was tempted to try to bridge to a move or make one, but I had to be patient.
On the last lap, Spoonie was hammering on the front, doing a great job of stringing us out. Halfway down the backstretch I attacked like a mofo from about 10th wheel, coming over everyone and headed into turn 3 in 1st. Man I hit that corner HARD! Just about went into the gutter, but made it work. You’ve gotta risk something in order to get that reward, after all..
Came out of corner 4 in 1st, and gave it my all!

Matt launches for the win

The finish was closer than I thought, check the photo evidence – good thing I didn’t do an early celebration!


Thanks to the team for coming out, the race went perfectly. I couldn’t done it without the help of other RCR guys in our race. Can’t wait to do it again next year..