Monday, February 11, 2008

Cherry Pie

Eric E aka "Pocket Rocket" jumped into a nine man break Sunday and was never seen again. The boys road great in Napa and we are definitely happy with the outcome.

With a full field of 100 riders, there was no shortage of talent as we saw the pace pick up to levels we haven't seen in a few months. It was certainly a great way to knock the cobwebs out from the legs.

Our guys were very active from the start and Joel and John were busy covering moves and atacking off the front. Eric soon jumped in and found the perfect mix of riders. Along with Lucas Euser, Jackson Stewart, Todd Hennings, Justin Devon, Brian Bucholz and others, the break was soon up a minute and we never saw them again.

The pace at times seemed the break was destined to be caught. With Fast Freddy and others taking their turn at the front, I was confident we'd catch but thankfully no since all I could really do for the first 30 minutes was watch what was going on in front of me.

The break ended up with an uphill drag race to the finish with Jackson taking the win followed by Lucas, Todd, then Eric for 4th.

Brian ended up taking the field sprint for 10th by several bike lengths.

Anyway, I couldn't be more happy with the way the team road this weekend. We trully have a great bunch of guys amd I'm looking forward to a great year!


Toby said...

Strong work

Coby said...

Here's Eric's recount on how things went down...

Alrighty then. This is my first race report and I even had to have Coby put on the blog for me. What team work.

Brian and I were staged and awaiting the start of the race. I had the pre-race jitters, being the first race of the year. I felt like I was over my threshold and we hadn’t even started the race.

The race started and I managed to shoot up to the front of the field by the first right hand turn. The field let me roll away, so I did a half lap solo and was caught at the base of the climb. By the time I came out of the 180 degree turn at the top of the climb, I was around mid-front of the field.

For the next few laps I was a spectator. The field was strung out and I could see several breaks trying to get away, but only getting caught and countered by the field. Each break had one of our riders in it and I was very pleased with the team work.

On lap 5, I noticed a group just separating itself from the field. As the break was making its way through the right hand turn at the bottom of the hill, I could clearly see a lot of team colors, but none of them were of Sierra Pacific colors. At that time, not much I could do. I was still in the middle of a strung out field. However, as I was making my way through the sweeping left hand turn, I saw the front of the field start to swell. I knew this was my opportunity to move up and help cover the break. As I made my way to the front, a Delta Velo rider was thinking the same thing, because he jumped just as I was getting ready to attack and bridge to the break away (the 7 riders were still off only the field swelled). So I got a free ride up to the break away….

The first few laps the break was pulling hard…I was doing my share of the work….I wanted the field to chase….Didn’t have a second thought that this break would stay away (still had 40 to 45 minutes left in the race). The break maintained a 10 second gap on the field for a few laps, then it increased to 25 seconds. Now I started to look around at the riders I was with and started to reduce my pulls at the front. The pace was fairly consistent with surges every now and then Slip Stream and BMC, or an attack/sprint for a lap prim. You would pull just under once per lap. This pattern was repeated over and over for the next 40 to 45 minutes.

Finally the lap cards came out with 5 to go. By that point our break had reached 70 seconds on the field. Two laps prior I skipped a pull to recover, which most riders in the break had done at one time or another. It was very good timing (and planned that way), because I had recovered well and the break started to slow down considerably after the lap cards came out. Now I felt like I was back in the race and could finish strong, even if there were a lot of attacking up to the finish. However, I was a bit tentative with the group I was in….I was unsure of their finishing abilities. I new that BMC and Slip Stream were going to be first/second, but was unsure of Giant Strawberry, Delta Velo, BPG and Kelly riders. I was not too concerned with the remaining riders.

Besides an attack up the hill with 2 or 3 laps to go, the pace was very low, considering the pace prior to the final few laps. On the bell lap, a small attack down the hill and through the right hand turn was initiated by some of the riders. It swelled and we fought for position and to stay off the front. The cat and mouse game continued as we turned on to the finish stretch. Slowing speeds and single file, all were nervously awaiting the first rider to jump. I caught a glimpse of the finish line and was sure that I could sprint the entire length without fading (not quite on the hill, so around 200 meters from the finish). This was roughly where Brian and I talked about going from prior to the beginning of the race. But first, I had to get myself on the other side of the Kelly rider (I was slightly overlapped on the curb and gutter)….then he started to accelerate…the a couple of riders in the very front started to accelerate. It must have been nerves because they all sat up, but I had already told myself I was going. I attacked from 8 riders back (told you I was a bit unsure) and darted from the outside to the inside of the turn where I quickly found myself in front of the race. As the spring went on I was passed on the opposite side of the road by BMC, then Slip Stream and the final battle for third with Delta Velo. He ended up nipping me at the line by about a quarter of a wheel.

Brian came in 10th and took the field sprint. This result gave our team 2 top 10 places, the only team to do that.

After thoughts. For myself, should of, would of, could of……Bottom line, be more aggressive at the end (don’t let yourself be in 8th), and you’ll get a better result. For being on this team, excellent team work by all and thanks for having the confidence in my riding abilities. Besides Brian’s walk away sprinting abilities, I’m very impressed with how the team worked together at this race. Not once were we behind the 8 ball and chasing the breaks, which was last year’s nemesis. Excellent!!!!

Vincenzo said...

Good job Eric! You rode great! Don't worry about any mistakes you made, because you are going to be in many more breaks this year and have plenty of chances to redeem yourself!

Peter Lanik said...

Dinuba Pics are up for Masters 35+ 1/2/3