Sunday, August 05, 2007

Campus Crit: LSC vs. everyone else

First of all, many thanks to Super Rookie, Spencer, Strats, Little Guy and everyone else at LGR for putting on a great race. Especially with everyone wanting to gawk at the I-35 bridge, they did a great job of organizing a safe and fun race! I'm especially pleased that they did everything right in terms of moving local racing forward, with pre-registration, separate men's Cat 5 and women's Cat 4 fields, equal prizes for the women, etc. Awesome!

This was an interesting race. Normally Cat 4/5 races don't have much in the way of tactics and team work. This race did, with LSC represented en masse and able to do a good job of controlling the race. This made things a little more interesting, even if it was to the rest of the field's disadvantage. With their numbers and strategy, they were able to launch people off the front and control the field in hopes of getting someone away. This meant it was up to the rest of us to chase them down and, of course, wear ourselves out. A few were able to recognize and respond to these tactics. Early in the race this meant me, Tuffy, a Silver Cycling guy and a couple others. One attack in particular is memorable: an LSC guy went off the front, and I found myself blocked by three LSCers who ramped down the pace as the escapee got a gap. Since I was feeling frisky, I got around and took a turn at bringing him back. He was apparently pretty intent on staying away because he took the hairpin turn too fast and crashed. Fortunately we were far enough ahead of the field that no one else went down and I made it unscathed. While it was fun to thwart their evil plan, it does wear a guy down, as the Silver Cycling guy also remarked. Later on, teammate Drew got tired of the cat and mouse and took a flyer in true Drew fashion. I jumped to the front in a pathetic attempt to control the field with my skinny ass, but it didn't work so well. I had to settle for sucking wheels of the chasers, who quickly bridged, but Drew didn't let up for quite a while. This ramped up the pace and, according to the results, shed quite a few riders. Eventually others tried to get away, keeping the pace high even though there were no primes. With the hairpin turn, it was a big advantage to be up front, so there was a lot of jockeying for position, which was also fun. I was streaming Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin in my brain as we chased each other around.

Eventually, however, I couldn't hold the pace for the 40 minute race and drifted back through the field until there was no field left. Once off the back it's very hard to catch back on, but I was determined to finish the race and get a workout in. Although I didn't finish with the field, I didn't lapped and I didn't crash. From what I heard, Tuffy got to the front for the final lap, but there was a crash behind him, thwarting the LSCers. Congrats Tuffy and smart racing! Congrats to the LSCers to for great teamwork and good results. Blogger Neil got 5th and was in the money, and the top 10 was full of LSCers. Thanks to Neil also for the pic - check out his blog for more and probably a race report from the front instead of the back!