Body Concepts Bicycle Race Team – Race Report by Ron Faulk: 8-24-2013 Winters Road Race 45+ 4 Report:
Teammates Representing Body Concepts: Dave Bryant, DJ Singh, Gary Neiman, John Ensign, John Kretschmann, Matt Conidaris, Pete Gemmell, Ron Faulk.
Field: Total of 45 registered riders.
Course: Course consisted of 2 laps, for a total of 48 miles. 24 mile loop (twice), mostly flat with a few rollers and one stair step climb up Cantelow Road.
Conditions: Warm, clear, minimal wind
Plan: John E and Gary attack the Cantelow climb on the first lap and hope that they are joined by others. Remaining BC riders work the front to block and keep them away
Race: Okay, here you go…
Like John said, the first “break” was a two man group on the first lap almost as soon as we exited the neutral zone. One Cushman rider, one Pen Velo rider escaped and slowly disappeared down the road. I watched Cushman on the front of our group as they blocked and one BP rider was also at the front but he did not respond. I figured that it was really too soon for anyone to be attempting a break but also remembered Knight’s Ferry when two riders stayed away. A Davis rider attempted to bridge but never was able to catch the two escapees and he was caught before we hit the climb on Cantelow. BP spent some effort at the front trying to bring back the break and I rotated through a few times along with John, but I also was still thinking that there was a long way to go, which turned out to be correct when we caught the breakaway riders around the end of the first lap.
I was expecting Cushman to counter when we caught the breakaway since Adam Martin was in their group, and he tends to animate things when he is around. There were a couple of semi attacks at the front on the southbound section next to I 505 but these were brought back. I was watching and doing a little bridging to the small attacks but did not expect what I heard from a Cushman rider behind me when he said “we have a gap!” I looked back and sure enough, there was about a 50 meter gap between our little 5 man group and the main field. Here is the best part: our break had representation from Cushman, BP and BC, which meant that our three teams would be working the front of the main field to keep us away. I felt that the “gap” announcement was a little half hearted, so I yelled “WE HAVE A GAP!!!!” to my breakaway companions. We then began rotating fairly smoothly and established a maximum of 40 seconds on the field. Unfortunately, we were not strong enough to stay away as our rotations began coming apart as we hit the feed zone and the Cushman rider dropped his chain, eliminating himself from the break. We had Robin McKinney from Victory Velo and Darren Rojo from BP in the group and one SJBC rider, but I was unable to find out who he was at the time. Our goal was to get to the top of the Cantelow climb with some kind of lead on the field and then we hoped we could stay away on Pleasants Valley and Putah Creek.
Believe me, there is nothing more depressing than, about halfway up the Cantelow climb to hear, “bleep, we’re caught!”. I was barely hanging on to Robin McKinney’s wheel, both calves cramping, and thought that maybe I could hang on to the top and let the main field absorb us on the other side. I was on my limit after working hard in the break and was unsure of what I would have left. Our group was swallowed up at the hairpin but I believe that we all hung on through the descent, except for Darren Rojo. He and I slid off the road at the big sweeping left hander but were able to get back on. I told myself to relax and take it easy to the bottom and then maybe chase on when we got to Pleasants Valley. I was still behind Darren when he took the next left hander way too hot and slid into the gravel shoulder on the right and then flipped off the side of the road into and over the barbed wire fence, narrowly missing a tree (he wound up losing the tip of a finger and was cut pretty badly by the barbed wire, needing stitches, but no broken bones). I was distracted by this and almost slid off the road at the same place he did, but was able to recover and get back on the pavement. I made it to the Pleasants Valley in one piece and found that John K. had taken a cyclocross detour into the weeds at the turn onto Pleasants Valley but had also recovered and was beginning his own chase to catch back on.
Approximately 6 or 8 of us got together and began chasing and caught the main pack within a couple of miles after passing a support vehicle which was glued onto the back of the main pack. I sat in the middle of the pack and tried to recover and test out the legs to see what was left. John E. attacked off the front and I rotated up to disrupt the chase if I could, but he wasn’t able to get far before being brought back.
As we got to about a mile and a half or so from the finish, John K. mentioned that we should be up front, which is where some of the BP riders were. With the finish being “center line rule” all of the way to the line, it became more important to have all of us up front if possible. I told John that I expected the front of the field to string out soon, and we would have a good opportunity to move up at that time. Not ideal, I know, but it worked out fairly well as the sprint opened up at the 200M mark and John K., Pete and DJ motored through the bunch. I was able to pass a few guys for 8th, with John E. 10th and Gary 14th.
Conclusion / Lessons Learned: Lessons learned:
You never know when the break is going to stick, so make your opportunities when you can.
Work on the descents. Or at least take it easier to be able to finish the race in one piece.
We can win the BAT if we have good representation in the remaining races. I talked to one of the BP riders and he said that he didn’t think they could catch us, but I also know that they have strong riders who can do well at Cyclebration, so if we can get some BC riders at any or all of those races, we will have a good chance of finishing this off.