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.



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