Race Report: Front Range Cycling Classic RR Cat 4/5 and Cat 3/4
Primal Squad 4/5: Darren, Gary, Neil, and Eric
Before the race we all briefly chatted to reassure our plan to be up front when we approached the first major climb, don’t chase, and stay sheltered the best we could. Lap 1 – Somewhat uneventful –The field stuck together until the first climb and I realized I was far too back at the start. I snuck up to latch on with Gary, Eric and Neil. The climb was tame with Gary and myself sitting with the split. There were about 25 of us.
Lap 2 – Neil and Eric rejoined the main group on the descent with Gary and I staying in the middle of the group trying to keep this crosswind off us. I moved my way to the front and recognized a rider from Porsche Thunderbird – he got second so I knew he could climb. At the time I was feeling good, Gary had a great pace going and with the yo-yoing happening, I had thought about attacking halfway up the climb and letting Gary stay fresh with the pack with Eric and Neil there to help him on the third lap as they would catch back on. I couldn’t recruit this rider to go with me so after a few mins slightly off the front with a small 10-15 second gap, I sat up. I slipped off the back of the lead group before the finish. Gary was with lead group and pacing very well.
Lap 3 – I was basically dropped from the lead group and I saw Neil behind me a bit back. He bridged up to me and we had maybe four or five of us in this small chase group. After the third kicker, Neil asked what we should. We had Gary with a group of about 20, but, Neil and I were both at the time feeling pretty good. I did waste two or so matches – one on the climb and on lap 1 trying to get back on. I told Neil to get me the front group that way we would have better numbers to launch each other up the climb. Plus, we only brought three riders with us. Neil dropped the hammer and basically bridged us up to the main group. It was a huge effort. I made two pulls, but convinced two other riders to do their part and they did. I want to pretty clear here– Neil dropped the fricken hammer. This was a crazy effort, something I haven’t really seen before in the 4 field in terms of pure ridiculousness. We almost dropped the rest of the chase group. We caught the group just before the climb. We did find out one person was off the front with a 50-second gap. No one wanted to do any work and Neil hopped up front to drive the pace a bit. Again at the climb I was with the lead group with Gary and Neil and Eric not too far back. My plan was to pull Gary as he seemed the most fresh - A bit up the climb Gary slid back and was cramping. I hesitated for a brief moment to see if I should wait, he had slipped pretty far back, so I kept going. By this point the lead group had strung out and I did what I could do make up some ground but was exhausted by the final pitch. I came in at 22ndout of 75 with Gary, Neil and Eric close behind. I was about 2 mins of first. The rider who was off the front ended up winning.
Primal Squad 3/4: Trevor, Murf, Dolan, Lam, Sani, Todd, Tim, Orey, Donnelly, Darren, Collin
There are good races and there are races we learn from.
We had a sizable force out for the USAFA RR and had stellar communication during the race sending information front to back and back to front of the group. Shout out to our first lap heroes Sani, Todd, Lam and Tim for his sick flyer allowing our guys to rest up prior to the first climb. Murf was a beast the entire race sitting on the front for at least 110% of the time! Dolan for the huge support chasing down and making surges, Orey for solid riding protecting and moving our guys around the group and finally Donnelly, Collin, and Darren for solid climbing and pulling us into the top 10.
Lessons learned; communication is key and we nailed it. We need to use our watts more strategically and allow other teams to ride on the front - also there are some incredibly strong riders this year riding for themselves/small teams, we need to tire them out. We'll get it next time, one piece at a time!