Monday, April 19, 2010
Race Report: Chantilly
Eduardo, post-crash rage among the 5s, (pic by Leslie Olson)
When we pulled into the parking lot at the Dulles-vicinity industrial park, the 4s were cooling down, and I could tell from the body language of our guys that nothing good had happened. This was to be expected, since they all contracted some kind of flesh-eating virus this week. Ringer, for example, had dropped a baker's dozen and was down to 135; I wasn't buying his barely audible argument, due to his weakened physical state, that the weight loss would improve his power to weight ratio.
Poor Eduardo, who is our sole 5 representative these days, had been broadsided by a flying body and briefly forget the five tenets of bike racing that Corey had so patiently inculcated in our young paduwan.
Our 4s hadn't crashed, but they had been too weak to do much more than spoon gruel into each others' mouths and hide their jaundiced corpses from the brightness of the sun.
The Dutchman slices the wind (pic by Leslie Olson)
The Cat 3 race plan--and I'm pretty sure this was also the plan for every other team--was to set up a train and lead out our guy for the sprint. I spent the first part of the race covering breaks and having a blast unnecessarily burning matches. The attacks didn't stop, and the other guys on the team were under instructions to save their energy. With four to go we coalesced, as did every other team. With a couple to go, a small break formed and kept a distance of about 100 meters. At this point, Bike Doctor had lined up what seemed like 10 riders, and another train or two were floating around.
Things got nutty at this point, with all kinds of pinching and jostling. I heard things pinging off my spokes and my rear derailleur must've been jostled, because I suddenly couldn't move to my 15 or higher. I was stuck on the front, and I didn't have the gas to move directly on the front, probably because I'd been an ass and chased down anything that'd moved in the first part of the race.
Still, I enjoyed the teamwork--not only of my team, but of other teams like Gamjams and Bike Doctor, who were racing with the strategy, if not the legs, of pro teams. Really awesome seeing guys race together for each other. Just upset I couldn't have done a little more to help our guy.
Just as teamwork defined the previous race, teamwork also defined this race. Whole Wheel rode a perfect race. Absolutely perfect. They initiated the right breaks, disrupted chasing and bridging efforts (without being asses about it), and foiled anything we could do except burn matches needlessly. I finished around 8th or 9th, without much of a sprint.
One note, on the last lap a Nature's Path rider chased Pete Warner's two-man break the entire back section. I was on his wheel, and I was grateful as hell he didn't pull off. In fact, not only did he stay on the front, he dropped me in the sprint AFTER pulling the entire way. Bravo, whoever you are.