Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bariani Road Race (20070408)

A possibly quicker race report this time ?

Men's E4 race - cast was 6 guys

* Ed Lai (second race of the year after Merco)
* Michael Claudio (ditto, but after Cherry Pie?)
* Mike Hardy
* Jason James (raced a bunch already)
* Geoff Gunderson (first race of the year)
* Thornton Weiler (birthday boy, fresh off the grasshopper race)

So we had a full crew just about. We showed up 2 hours early and
proceeded to warm up together, talk turkey, and get ready. We lined up
right at the front of a full field in 70 degree weather with no wind.
The plan was to attack, then attack more, then attack. Preferably on the
hill and the flat section after.

True to plan, Ed goes off the front with another guy and motors away for
a bit. The pack gets antsy, and Ed comes back. Jason James gives it a go
with someone (possibly before Ed's break? I think it might have been),
but again, the pack is restless.

At this point, I should note that the lack of wind was a real bummer for
me. It made the race entirely too easy, in my opinion, if you were
sitting in the pack. Going off the front? Really hard. But sitting in?
Not a problem. So the only tactical feature left on the course was the
hill, but the flat road afterwards had a tailwind! Then it went downhill.

Had I used my head more, I would have thought "this thing is staying
together until the end, I'm saving it for the sprint". If I had done
that, I would not have done what Thornton did though. I pushed the pace
pretty hard up the hill, then as I faded off the front Jason James hit
it and strung it out a bit, and finally when he faded off a bit,
Thornton, a Stanford guy and a Squadra dude lept off the front. 2 laps
to go at this point? Fantastic timing, and great move, with the possible
exception of it missing a Third Pillar guy.

Jason and I tried a couple of times to motivate or help (with bridge
efforts) a Third Pillar guy get up there, but the pack wasn't going to
be fooled so easily and we couldn't make it hard enough to get
separation without essentially chasing Thornton down.

So now the Squadra Ovest team goes into blocking mode (with 8 guys?) and
we're just rolling along with Thornton growing smaller in the distance.
Unfortunately, at this point the Squadra dude in the break blew up, and
Squadra goes into chase mode. Drat. I get up there and start disrupting
whatever I can, and covering bridge attempts as best as I can, but
people (Third Pillar and Squadra now) are managing to put in fairly long
pulls, and Thornton is slowly coming back.

Up the hill the last time, and the pack makes the catch, I go hard up
the hill now and get off with a small group, but once we get to the top
we all just look at each other. I'm a bit cooked from all the disruption
and chase efforts so I don't want to go, and now Jason is driving a
group up to us, at which point we all just start looking around, 10 wide
and maybe 25mph.

From my perspective at this point you can sum it by just
fast-forwarding to the inevitable bunch sprint. Nothing fancy except I
went way too early for the amount of juice I had in my legs.

A special note should go to Jason James who was in the wind a bunch at
the end and gritted it out for 4th, almost 3rd in the sprint, and
Thornton, who reattached to the pack on the last hill and hung on for a
very high placing. 10th? Somewhere around there. I think I got 20th or
30th or something - I shut the sprint down early.

If I had it to do again, I'd do one of three things, but not what I did
today. either:

* keep the hammer down after the last hill with 2k to go (why not?)
* save it completely for the sprint, the whole day (but I had to
help block...)
* see that Jason was there and ride tempo to the finish for the
team (best option I think)

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