2009 ICCC Dash for Cash
Weather: Windy and warm
Teammates: Justin Fraga, James Badia, Brian Buchholz, Rob MacNeill, Neil Harrington, Graham Simpson
Place: 3rd of ~120
This is a pretty wide-open, normal crit course with some technical dodging of road dividers on the backside due to the heavy crosswinds. I typically enjoy racing crits in the wind because, well, it hurts more, and guttering races is a lot of fun.
Justin and I rolled over the hill to Pleasanton, both feeling somewhat apathetic about racing. We decided that was probably for the best…why waste energy being amped up BEFORE the race? However, after a bit more caffeine and some Masters race heckling, we felt a bit more lively.
I felt terrible at the start of this race. Legs were dead, no snap. So I kept attacking and covering attacks, praying that they would come around.
The team had excellent coverage in all the major breakaways of the day. Good riding by everyone involved. I think I saw every teammate at the front at one time or another.
Frankly, my memory of this race is not great. I have no idea when or how it happened, but somehow Justin and I ended up in a completely disorganized break of about 12 riders with maybe…10 laps to go. Steve Reaney, Dean LaBerge, Larry Nolan and Joel Robertson were in the break with us. Few people were rotating smoothly, so we basically took turns attacking and countering.
Here is where it gets ugly.
With 3 laps to go, I was off the front of the break with Joel Robertson. Quite a nice setup, actually, because he is one of the fastest guys out there in terms of long-term speed but is not the best of sprinters.
Well, Reaney bridged up to us with one other rider as I was finishing my pull, and I drifted back to slot in behind them. Meanwhile, Joel sped up and Reaney looked to me to pull him back.
This is where bike racing is actually decided…these split second decisions at the critical turning points of the race. I could either dig deep, burn a match, and also bring Reaney up to Joel…or I could play poker, let the gap open, and bet that Steve would eventually close the gap.
Turns out neither one happened. Joel turned up the heat, while Reaney and I sat there staring at each other. The remnants of the break caught up to us, and Joel pulled out to about a 15 second lead with 1 lap to go.
Poor communication and a disorganized break meant that, with 1/2 a lap to go, Joel STILL had a 15 second gap. I swear he is half-mule, or half-ox or half-Jens Voigt. Anyway, I attacked with absolutely everything I had into the final cross/headwind stretch, getting a small gap. I distinctly remember looking ahead to see Joel giving the victory salute, then looking back to see Dean LaBerge sprinting up behind me. I pulled out the ugliest, most pathetic “sprint” I could muster at that point, heaved my bike in the general direction of the finish line, only to get beat by a flying LaBerge, dropping me down to 3rd place. Fraga rolled through just behind in 5th. Buchholz won the field sprint for 12th.
Not a bad result, and hats off to Joel for being a man and laying it on the line. Thanks to the team for the hard work, sorry we couldn’t pull of the win.
Again, I will be grading myself on relevant aspects of the race:
Style: C- (I literally caught my chamois on my seat when I attempted a bike throw)
Being a Sissy: A+
Overall: Get a new hobby