Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pace Bend / Walburg

So this past weekend was the annual "real" season opener here in Texas where all the "Big Guns" showed up. We had 140+ guys both days and it was definitively competitive. As for myself, I never finished better than 6th place in any of those two races in the past. So I only expected a "solid" result here...knowing that it is a bit too early for me to have the "Ace" in my jersey pocket...

Walburg was tough as always but probably one of the more "relaxed" editions in the P/1/2 race since I've done it. Except for, of course, the "Yellow-Line-(>bad German word<)" who used machine in order to move humans. With two riders from the Mexican Orven team up the road, the rest of the peloton watched each other and played games while the rest of the baby blue team chatted and wondered which of their 2 guys would take the win. My team did what we could and I gave it a shot a couple of times but no break I somewhat got in would go anywhere. The Green Team didn't fully utilize their dozen riders either so it ended up being a 1-2-3 for Mexico while the rest of us came in shattered groups of five riders after some good crosswind in the last 6 miles. Pace Bend...well, where should I start? The good stuff: A great course, one of the easiest 80mile road races you do all year, a lot of dynamics throughout the race but unfortunately (for me) it ended up in a field sprint and well, there's nothing I can do other than rolling in at 26thplace...The nature of the course, the large turnout (140 guys) and the way teams raced just made the race not hard enough to cause any splits or let breaks go up the road. I felt okay and my teammates did a good job jumping with stuff early on but nothing came together. The "Scheisse" hit the fan when the Women 4 race piled up in front of us when we were about to pass them and one lap later the race was stopped for 10minutes to take care of the carnage. After that - in cycling unique - "halftime" we resumed and with 3 laps to go I found myself in a move w/ Boyd + Jensen but we never got clear of the field. And well, I'm not strong enough to "just ride away" ;-) So it was an "extended" (3 guys 5 seconds of the front) field sprint with - of course - a HUGE pile-up, forcing multiple guys to ER visits, like my friend Adam Mills.

We rode that stretch to the finish 12 times at probably 35-38mph, and the last time close to 45mph (?). So whoever decided to put that finish down there should think twice the next time. Having crashes in 3 or more categories at the same finish straight is probably no coincidence. Talk about "the racers make the race fast" or "it's a risky sport" is B.S. IMO as the promoter of the race has ALWAYS and impact on the race course setup. You put it uphill - ok, people might drop a chain and fall over, but at least while going 0mph and not shooting fast-forward at 45mph slightly downhill.

"Chain ring Cut Award" goes to my wife Sheri who survived a nasty crash in the Women 1/2/3 race after getting kicked to the ground, and spending the rest of the afternoon at the ER.

40sec. Power Award goes to Phil Wikoff for bridging up to the leader in the final K and taking third.

"Tough Award" of the Day goes to my friend and co-worker Derick Williamson for finishing second in the Cat. 4/5 race while crashing over the finish line!

the "Yellow-Line-(>bad German word<)"

Travis, Briand, me, and Steve

a very peaceful setting before the P/1/2 roll-out

Adam, Allen, Corey - I hope to see you guys back on two wheels at Lago!

1 comment:

  1. I thought the finish was a bad idea, and even commented on that. I assume next year they will move it again. Hey that official pushing guys is even riding a German made bike:) The 4/5 crash had the be the scariest of the day to watch. I am glad he missed the scaffolding.