Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chad Cagle is Tulsa Tough

This past weekend I headed up to Dallas to pick up Kolt + Mat S. and we headed to Tulsa for the 3rd annual Tulsa Tough. I did those crits the 2 years before and I always love to go back. It seems like the entire city is in "bike fever" for those 2 1/2 days at the end of May. The Tulsa Sports Commission and the Tulsa Wheelmen along with guys like Chris Zenthoefer are making that race bigger and better every year. Our Pro/1 field raced for a total prize list of $75K (excluding primes)!

Friday night started with a bang: My friend & fellow co-worker Joseph LaFico won the 1/2 race with a bold last-lap solo move. So that was the 2nd win for Texans that night as Jed Rogers beat all the 3's to win yet another Cat 3 race.

My team did what we could in order to animate our race; trying to make the right breaks, going for primes but most importantly keeping local strongman Chad Cagle out of trouble so he can do "his thing" in the sprint. An we did. Toyota-United showed up with 9 guys, putting them in the favorite spot with >10% of the field wearing blue, red, and white Toyota colors. But we still gave it a shot and at one point Alex and me found ourselves in a break w/ 2 Toyota guys + TX Roadhouse but it didn't last for more than 3 laps. 3 or 4 Toyotas ended up lapping the field along with Hopkins + Halloway so we just raced for a Top 10 from there on for Chad. Somehow, I timed my attacks always a bit off the "prime-bell" so no extra $$$ for me. Nevertheless, I was happy how we raced together as a team and all of us were in moves all night. Chad pulled of 10th in a star-studded field.

Day 2 was the Brady Crit just north of Downtown and on a really cool, fast, and challenging course. Going on a training ride up the small little rise on the back side you'd probably chose your small chainring but in the race it was pretty much always full-throttle, sometimes single-file in the 53x13-15. There was only one corner where you kind of had to break other than that it was full speed for most of the race. We did "our thing" again and were trying to get into the right breakaways and it worked out - until, well until Chad got "kicked out" of the break by the Toyota dummies. 4 Toyotas + TX Roadhouse were up the road so Mat S., Alex and I nearly killed ourselves by bringing down the gap in "jumping"-distance. Chad executed the plan and found himself in the break two laps later. Well, Toyota showed its "true face" when they played cat&mouse with him and basically told him "to leave" since they don't wanna share any of the prize money with an amateur who - by the way - picked them up from the airport the day before...
Chad still had the legs to pull off a nice 9th place but we rode back to the house with a little sour taste...

I woke up around 9am the next day and saw it was raining. "Well, not so bad" I thought since it probably will be gone in a couple of hours but the weather decided differently. LOTS of rain, 60mph winds and broken down trees all over the neighborhood made for an quite interesting breakfast-run (no power in the restaurant meant no breakfast). The race course on Riverside got trashed pretty bad by the flooding and winds. They only had to cancel a couple of early morning races and our race was still on. The course is pretty rough: you either go up- or downhill and there's not a whole lot of recovery time per lap. On the backside of the course, the locals go wild with beer, megaphones, whistles, and all kinds of costumes (I hope I can find some pics and post them here). Definitely the BEST crit I do all year in terms of fans + support along the race course.
Again, we had Chad as our team-leader who we tried to keep near the front so he can mix it up in the sprint. The climb is not too bad and you can power it up in the 53x19 if you wanna go fast or take the 39x17 if you like save your legs. There were lots of early moves and I did my thing but 1/3 into the race I realized that I can't really go anywhere today and focused on doing as much as possible to help the team. Halfway through the race a break of 8 was off the front and we simply couldn't respond to it. A THSJ was dangling off the front of the field at that point and I come up to Alex and tell him "Dude, you need to counter as soon he comes back!". Well, Alex did and 2 laps later he was still solo off the front of the pack and won a $500 prime! With the field being now lapped they wouldn't let anything get away so it didn't make sense to blow my legs with silly solo-moves :-) Mat Stephens did a fine piece of work today when he shot past the Toyotas the last time up the hill having Chad in tow. Although they got caught that made things easier for him and he finished 3rd or so in the field sprint to take 12th on the day.

Overall, Chad finished 6th in the Omnium of the Pro/1 race and as a team we got a small share of the total $75K but it was a lot of fun racing over the last 3 days.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for hitting you on the head with the wheel. Hope it's all good!