Race Report: Bazaar Road Race (Kansas) 4/14/2019

Race Report – Bazaar Road Race 4/14/2019

 

My birthday this year happened to line up with one of my favorite races. The Bazaar

Road Race is a 50 mile race up and down a scenic highway in the middle of the Flint

Hills of Kansas. The area has been made famous in cycling circles by the immense

popularity of the Dirty Kanza gravel race that takes place in the area every summer.

Before gravel grinding, there were old fashion road races on good old cement, which

I just happen to prefer. The season for me got off to an unusual start, I had a baby, I

didn’t sleep, but I did manage to get some trainer time in while on paternity leave

and apparently not sleeping and constant anxiety can really help you lose weight. I

had a descent result at the first crit of the year and things were looking up for

another good result. The course suited me, so I let myself dream of winning.

The biggest impediment to my imagined success was the eastern Kansas’s

equivalent of team Quickstep, the boiz of Olathe Subaru Cycling. Over the last few

years they’ve managed to recruit all the strongest riders from the Kansas City area

and have dominated the local racing scene as a result. This day was no different.

The race. Only ten guys had pre-registered for the race, so I didn’t have a clear

picture of what I was up against. I knew I’d be outnumbered. I did have some last-

minute support from a Kansas based teammate name Hunter. But Hunter was

coming off a knee injury that had hampered his training so neither of us were quite

sure of his form. Under normal circumstances, this would have been fine, but OSC

ended up bringing 5 riders, 4 of them Cat 1s. 30 total riders toed the line.

The course started out running south with a quartering tailwind.  OSC went straight

to the front of the race and formed a right to left echelon, guttering on the yellow

line. I wasn’t sure what their tactics would be at this point so I rode in the wind just

behind the echelon to keep an eye on any attacks. Although the pace was fairly

relaxed most of the field was working a bit harder than normal without the benefit

of a draft. The first 40 minutes to the south turnaround, I averaged 220w. Having

done this race in the past I knew that the south turnaround point was always a spot

for attacks. Hunter knew this too. About two miles from the turnaround the road

climbs out of the river valley and turns due west. This spot always has a strong

crosswind. Hunter attacked around the OSC echelon to try and break things up in

the crosswind. The attack reshuffled the deck but OSC managed to regain control of

the front of the race right before the turnaround cone. I was in decent position and

came through the 180 degree turn in 8th or 9th wheel. OSC immediately put on the

gas. One of the OSC guys let a gap go and I was forced to sprint around him to try

to tack on to the back of the front group of 4 OSC guys. I caught on but after about

2 minutes we made the turn back into the heavy crosswind and I was put into the

hard gutter. I was hanging on for dear life when one of the stronger OSC guys road

me off the back, I burned my last match to sprint back on but just couldn’t recover

in the gutter. I popped, and had to watch my chances of a podium ride up the road

in OSC red.

 

What I didn’t realize was the race behind me had completely blown into

smithereens. I kept chasing solo for a bit before getting picked up by a Quantum

Energy guy and the fifth OSC guy. The three of us started taking turns knowing that

the OSC guy would pull enough to try and keep from getting caught but not hard

enough to help catch the front group. The worked together pretty well rolling into

the cross headwind at 24.4 mph to next hour. At one point I thought we were going

to get caught by a regrouped peloton but after the last turn we had 4 miles to go

and a 40 second gap. Things started to get a little tactical in the last few K, and I

knew I had the worst sprint out of the three, so I went on the downhill finish with 1k

to go. I had a decent jump and slammed the sprint to the yellow line, but the draft

was enough at that speed, and I was overtaken by the line for 7th on the day. Two

hours of racing, 250w average watts, 280w normalized, 24.4 mph. OSC ended up

finishing 1 through 5, sweeping the podium and the prize money. Looking back, I’m

not sure there was anything I could have done differently. If I would have stayed in

the front group, they would have just attacked me until I couldn’t chase and I

probably would have ended up in the same place. I was outmanned and outgunned.

They say teamwork makes the dream work, it crushed mine that day. Excited to get

back home and get better, and race with some teammates, cause that sucked.

 - Danger Panda

Jordan Sher