Body Concepts Bicycle Race Team – Race Report by Ron Faulk: 9/27/2014 Henleyville Road Race Road Race 45+ 4:
Teammates Representing Body Concepts: Charles Magnuson, Dave Bryant, Gary Neiman, Matt Conidaris, Pete Gemmell, Randy Floyd, Ron Faulk.
Field: Total of 24 registered riders. Pete Gemmell finished 8th, Randy Floyd was 12th, Dave Bryant 14th, Tom Wood 16th, Charley Magnuson 17th, Matt Conidaris 18th and Gary Neiman 21st.
Course: Course consisted of 3 laps, for a total of 54 miles. Mostly flat course with a few minor rollers and a slightly steeper set of rollers at the feed zone..
Conditions: Clear and pleasant. Minimal wind.
Plan: Get Pete the points he needed for NorCal BAR, cover attacks and try to get someone in a successful break. The remaining riders would work to disrupt/block the front of the chase group if we were successful getting someone into a break.
Race: Pete escaped off the front about two miles into the race and slowly disappeared into the distance. Matt, Randy and I patrolled the front of the group, sat on wheels and generally disrupted the chasers. This gave our team a great reason to sit in and do no work, saving our energy for later in the race. About 2/3 of the way through the 1st lap, Kris Blee, Toby Katz, Troy Underwood, Jeff Brooks and Matt Marks organized at the front and started reeling Pete in. Pete was caught at around mile 3 of the second lap. The rest of the second lap was for the most part uneventful with everyone near the front marking Kris Blee like a hawk. He was never able to get far if he tried any kind of attack but still spent quite a bit of time pulling the pack.
At the beginning of the third and final lap, Kris Blee again attacked hard but I was able to chase him down, pulling the pack with me. He tried a second time with the same result.
At about mile 2 of the third lap, Kris Blee tried one more attack which I was able to chase down, but this time Kris sat up and the pack sat up behind him, leaving me all alone about 50 feet off the front. I did not expect this and was certain that the group would chase me down any minute, but nothing happened. I was not working especially hard and was surprised that no one at least tried to come across to join me. I made my mind up that, if I still had a reasonable gap near the feed zone, I would make a big effort up the feed zone bumps and see if I could increase my advantage and then plan from there. I had a pretty good gap (not commanding or anything) at the base of the feed zone rollers, so I hit it hard to the top and continued over the top onto the flat section, hoping that I was making progress. My teammates were doing a stellar job working at the front of the group, disrupting and blocking the chasers, giving me all the help they could. I found out later that Kris Blee tried to come across two or three times but was unable to.
My gap seemed to be slowly growing, so I kept up the pressure and noticed that I was overtaking another category up ahead of me. It was the main 35+4 group, and they were not doing anything, so I went far over the double yellow lines to go around them as I passed on the left. I saw that Robert Leibold was behind me in his van and wondered if I was breaking any rules by violating the center line rule, but he just said, “you’re putting the hurt on them, good job” as he drove past. I saw another group ahead of me and thought that if I could pass those guys, I would have a real chance of winning.
I was able to get by the group, which I think was the remainder of the 55+ group that had passed us earlier in the race. The last 5 or so miles seemed to last forever as I kept on going. The finish hill looked like a mountain, but I was able to make it to the top but had no energy left to raise my arms at the finish. I waited at the finish and saw that Pete came across the line in 8th place, cementing his NorCal BAR title.
Conclusion / Lessons Learned: It is better to be lucky than good. I was lucky that Kris Blee gave up when he did. I talked to him after the race and he said that he believed that no none was going to let him get away, so he stopped attacking and sat up when I rolled off the front.
And I believe that ours is the strongest team because we work together and truly respect each other and are willing to sacrifice for each other. Without the teammates I have, there is no way I would have won this race. With respect to recent developments regarding our team and other (one in particular) riders’ opinions of us, we are, without doubt, the best team in Northern California.