2010 Apple Pie Criterium (5th)

Apple Pie Criterium
Santa Rosa, CA
Weather: Cloudy, cold, and windy
Teammates: Joel Robertson, Justin Fraga, Rob MacNeill, Billy Crane, Ange McClure
Placing: 5th of ~80

Let’s talk about retrospective race report writing. Alliteration aside, I’ve
decided that the writing of race reports more than one week late is a bad thing.
Why? Because my memories of last week have begun to fade, and my overall mood is
influenced by the present week’s races. Today’s race was not my best, to say the
least, and my mood may well reflect that.

What better way to commemorate my suckage on the bike than with a bit of haiku?

Ninety-minute race
Comes down to a five-man break
Rand loses the race

It’s odd that my reports tend to take up about six digital pages, because those
seventeen syllables summarize pretty much 95% of my races. However, I found the
haiku above — scribbled drunkenly on a napkin in my handwriting — on my
kitchen table last week, and I’m pretty sure it was specifically meant to
describe my experience at the Apple Pie Criterium. [Note: I’m glad I have the
good sense to document my thoughts in times of less-than-lucid thought.]

Now, I’ve got a lot of work to do, so I’m gonna make this report quick.

Billy and I (and Jazzy, an Aussie upstart) rolled to Santa Rosa in Billy’s
classy ride with some fresh tunes bumping courtesy of Jazz’s iTunes skills. It
was raining, and Billy was complaining, but overall the mood was upbeat.

We got to the race, and that’s when Justin Fraga rolled in. Does everyone on
this list know Justin? Let me introduce him for those of you who don’t. Rather,
I’ll paraphrase some quotes from Bruce Wilford — the crazy Brit who runs our
P/1/2 team — and let his words speak for themselves. [Cue British accent]

“Oh me, oh my, Justin and Rand, I can’t believe the two of you actually brought
GIRLS to a bike race!” (Bruce, on seeing girls ANYWHERE near a bike race)

“Look, Rand, we need Justin on our team because he’s a cool customer.” (Bruce,
in a conversation with me about bringing Justin into the team)

“Wow Justin…you’re really quite built, aren’t you.” (Bruce, after seeing
Justin get out of the shower)

“Nice job Justin…take no prisoners.” (Bruce, regarding an email in which
Justin basically b*&ched out our entire P/1/2 team for tactical stupidity)

Yeah. So, that’s Bruce’s take on Justin. I’ll simply add that Justin races a lot
like I do — very aggressively seeking out breakaways — but he does so quite
with a bit more anger and yelling.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Justin showed up, which was noteworthy for two reasons: 1.
he races hard, which is awesome, and 2. he quit bike racing last season. His
return is a good sign for the Webcor P/1/2 team. The rest of the squad consisted
of Rob, Joel, Billy and Ange (another Aussie upstart who races for the
Webcor/Sportvelo Bridge Team); as always, everyone did a good job of covering
moves and crushing souls.

At 90 minutes long — and buffeted by a bit of wind — this race seemed primed
for a breakaway, but it took nearly 50 minutes of hard racing before anything
could be established. With 40 minutes to go, I attacked with Jared Barrilleaux
(Cal Giant) and we were quickly joined by Tim Farnham (Adageo) and Kevin Klein
(Yahoo). As breakaways tend to do, we rapidly obtained a significant gap over
the field.

Somehow, Brian Bosch (also Yahoo) slithered away from the field and made a
monster effort to bridge to our group. This was bad news, not only because I was
outnumbered 2:1 by Yahoos, but because three of my four breakmates are
established BUNCH SPRINTERS. Farnham, Bosch and Klein are all feared and revered
in local sprints, and they’re certainly not the three guys you want…well…ME
in a breakaway with. Oh yeah, and Barrilleaux finished 11th in USPro Nationals
two years ago. Dammit.

Nevertheless, my legs felt really good and I was semi-confident in my sprint. I
kept my pulls even and conserved energy when I could. I noted the fact that
Bosch appeared to be hurting a bit; I considered attacking in the final few laps
to see if we could shake him, but didn’t do so.

That was a fatal mistake.

Bosch attacked with one lap to go. Farnham and Barrilleaux looked at one another
(and I hesitated WAY too long) while Klein looked on contentedly. I think we all
underestimated Bosch’s remaining power, and I think Bosch was bluffing with his
earlier grimaces. I realized far too late that he was getting a serious gap, and
attacked to go after the solo rider. I never reached him, and was reeled in by
the others just before the finishing straightaway.

As my haiku said, “Rand loses the race.” Sorry, team. I really blew that one.

Letter Grades: Whatever. Fail. Better luck next time.

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