Monday, April 28, 2008

Palmer Crash-Fest

Dan, Steve, Matt and I went out to the Palmer Road Race in Massachusetts yesterday. Leaving at 5:00 in the morning was required since its a long drive and my race started at 8:30am. This along seemed like a questionable idea, but Dan offered to drive us all in his Explorer so all I had to do was be awake when he got to my house and manage to get my bike on the car then go back to sleep.

The course is a 20 mile rolling loop. Cat 4s did 3 laps. Due to the various ages/categories present among the CBRC ranks, it was just me and Phil Burnett in the Cat Four field.

A break went early with representation from 3 of the 4 big teams in the race. The Boston Road Club had a guy in the break and about 15 more guys in the field. The hoard of them went to the front and shut it down. We literally went 19 mph. I got pissed about this and after calling them all various names attempted to bridge to the break. They chased me down. I called them names again, and then attacked again. This time 4 guys came with me. BRC ramped it up and chased us down again, then brought the speed right back to 19.

I called them all more awesome names, and then started guttering anyone from BRC who came up to the front of the race and blocked. No this isn't the nicest thing to do, but if a team of 15 wankers is going to sit on the front of a race and not race then they need to go in the gutter.

They got mad about this guttering. I told various BRC guys that if they came up and blocked they were going in the gutter. They got madder. They said things like, "hey, man, don't gutter us because we are big sissies who can only race with negative tactics." I said things like "if you block I'll gutter you," and the often repeated Andy Ruiz quote, "that's racing."

Anyway, a group of random guys including myself finally got BRC off the front and got the speed up. In fact we caught the break at 2k to go. This was a great way to give BRC the proverbial middle finger, since all their negative racing didn't amount to anything.

At 600 meters it got really interesting. Since the speed was really low for most of the race we came into the finish with a full field, and lots of people who probably never saw the front of a race at 1k to go before.

The finish is on a mild uphill. Its not a climb at all, just slightly uphill sprint. I was about 10th wheel at 500m and getting ready to go when the guy in front of me virtually stops. I hope his chain broke, broke, because there's no other excuse for going from 30mph to 5mph on the front of a field of 100 people starting to sprint.

I narrowly missed rear ending him and ended up, ironically, in the gutter. I sprinted over sewer grates, really.

I got back on the road, and as I really started to sprint I felt this odd feeling that I never felt before. Oddly I knew what it was though - spinning spokes hitting my left foot. Then I heard a really loud bang and crashing behind me. At the same time a huge train of people went up the left, and then two guys to my left crossed wheels and went down hard, doing the whole yard sale in the middle of the road, I went back in the gutter but was still upright.

At this point, there was still like 200m, and a ton of people who had stayed out of the crash mine field had gone up the far left side of the road. I sort of sprinted from the gutter again, but really, it was just an attempt to rapidly get the race over so I would be safe.

My place wasn't particularly high - I would guess somewhere in the 20s to 30s, but I did narrowly miss too enormous crashes and got to sprint over sewer grates. Plus, I made the entire Boston Road Club hate me.

Overall the race illustrated why slow races are dangerous, and fast hard races are the safest. When you're strung out and people are getting shelled there's less mayhem because 100 people don't all think they can win and take stupid risks late in the race.

Getting up at 4:00am to almost die in two crashes in the last 20 seconds of the race at 30+mph was totally worth it. Really.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bike Racing v. Skiing

Welcome to a new feature for the CBRC Blog that I thought up the other day while riding around by myself. Its called "Bike Racing v. another thing." The idea here is that I take our beloved sport of bike racing, and compare it to other things we could be doing. Eventually, I'll conclude which thing is the better thing to do.

I hope that someday the "Bike Racing v. another thing" feature will be a very useful guide for boring individuals who need a new hobby, and are thinking that shaving their legs and wearing lycra is on the list of things to try.

So without further adieu, I present:


Since skiing is the visiting team here, they bat first:

Most of us can agree that skiing is totally done on snow (or water). This is what makes it impressive. It only snows when its cold, so you have to be willing to go outside when its really cold, and drive, hopefully in a blizzard, on some sketchy mountain roads at five in the morning.

On the other hand, if you're lucky enough to already live at a ski resort, you're also lucky enough to live in a town with a guy to girl ratio of 74 to 1.

Once you decide you want to ski, you've got to get some skis, boots, polls, etc. This is what makes skiing awesome. Everyone knows that buying things is awesome, and buying things that cost more than the stuff you're buddies have make you the most awesomest.

Once you spend like a thousand dollars on skis and boots and stuff, buy a $400 coat and some silly bib pants, you're ready to go. Just remember, you forgot your gloves at home and have to pay $97 for gloves at the mountain cause its 4 degrees and you can't go outside otherwise.

So now you're at the mountain, have all your gear, didn't crash on the way there (but will on the way home) and its time to go skiing. Great! Okay hold on, you still need to pay for a lift ticket. Or, of course, you can walk up the hill, but that would be exercise, so who wants to do that.

Overall, skiing is completely awesome. It costs a ton of money, is really hard to do, fills up a tremendous amount of time that you don't spend with your family/girlfriend and makes them like you even more then they already do.

Lets see how bike racing stacks up:

Okay, now most normal people would say, riding a bike - that's the thing you do in the summer right? NO! Bike racing requires dedication. In fact, races in the spring aren't even determined by who is the fastest, its totally based on who rode the most time in 4 degree blizzards in January. If you don't do that you just have no chance of ever not being Cat 4 for sure.

Now road racing also offers lots of opportunities to buy stuff. Which is why anyone does anything really. Once you get a bike and a helmet you also need a lighter bike and then an even lighter bike and then also a power meter and a tt bike and then probably a cx bike and a mountain bike too - not to mountain bike, but to ride on the road in the winter when the roads are too bad to take out your even lighter bike.

If you want you can spend like $10,000 on bike racing, in a week! If you don't want, you still will, otherwise you'll suck at racing because everyone knows that Zipp 404s and an SRM are the way to win a race (well races in the summer, cause the spring is all about who wants to ride in blizzards).

The good news, is unlike skiing, when you want to ride your bike its free. To bad you don't ride your bike, you "race" it. If you want to pin a number on, you've got to pay to do that too! Well, apparently the best things in life aren't free, they're $30 each and that doesn't include your USCF license.

Okay, lets see how the two sports stack up:

Do it when its really cold out - Tie.
Fun when its cold out - Skiing.
Costs lots of money - Skiing.
Costs more money then your house - Bike Racing.
Fun when its not cold out - Bike Racing.
Wear bibs: Tie.
for every 74 guys there's one girl - tie.
for every 74 guys there's one girl that will talk to you: Skiing.
Shave you legs: Bike Racing!
Impress your friends: No one cares.
Go Pro: nice try!
Wax your skis: Bike riding
Lube your chain: Skis
flat tire noise: Bang!
binding release: Pop!
Snow Bunnies: Skiing
Podium Girls - who you kididing, this is a cat four blog, there's no podium, let alone podium girls!

Okay lets tally it up:
Skiing: 5
Bike Riding: 4
Ties: This isn't hockey, there's no ties!

Skiing is the champion! Sell all your bike gear on ebay and go buy 6 different pairs of skis right now!

Check back in a week for the next "Bike Racing v. another thing" epic battle!

Monday, April 21, 2008

From First to Fourth to F!@k

As we all know the infamous Battenkill Roubiax took place this weekend. While I've been training for this race since January (as I suspect most of you have too) I felt strong and confident going into Saturday's contest. Especially considering I was in the CAT 5 field. My race went as follows...

So after the first dirt road climb I found my field had shrunk to about 10 dudes. We had broken away from the rest of the CAT 5s and even the most clueless rider could see these would be the top 10 finishers. The race went smooth from there on out. As smooth as a CRASH I mean CAT 5 race could go. As we turned left at the State Trooper building and entered the 10 miles to go mark I realized that my time to attack was approaching.
I stuck to my plan, that being attack on the last climb. That 1/2 dirt 1/2 pavement long gradual climb. I had noticed that our field had shrunk to about 7 guys and I just figured that some guys had dropped off. Before I knew it we were at the last climb. I made my move. Surging up the little "bump" on the last of the dirt road, then switching to my big ring and hammering up the pavement. As I reached the top of the climb I shifted into my hardest gear and hammered alll the way down the bottom of the hill. I was reckless and dangerous reaching speeds of almost 60 mph all the way down the twisty and sandy hill. I had nothing but victory in my mind. This was my race to win and I wasn't going to let anyone stop me.
When I reached the bottom I took that last right and rode about 1k. I then looked behind me and saw NO ONE. "This is it" I thought to myself. No holding back. Hammer it all the way home. I survived the last 4 miles or so solo and saw the finish line. Victory I thought. VICTORY. That last 2k or so was the happiest I had ever felt on a bike. I had won and nobody could take that away from.
As I crossed the finish line I threw my hands in the air. People were cheering but nobody really seemed too happy. I didn't care though. I won the race...right? After the feeling of being the greatest ever to ride a bike began to leave me I rode around and found my mom. "Way to go Matt!" she said. "4th place...not bad at all for your 5th race ever." Thanks mo...WHAT! Not 4th...1st!!! "No" she said. 3 dudes came in about 3 minutes ago. I was in such shock and disbelief that I went to the officials table and asked to see the results. Sure enough there was my number, 119, sitting with a big number 4 next to it.
I would later find out that when our field crossed paths with the masters 50+ field 3 guys had attacked and I had not noticed. Even more embarrassing then throwing my hands in the air thinking I had won was the fact that I rode the last 4 miles by myself not realizing that there was NO PACE CAR IN FRONT OF ME!!!!!! What a dumbass I am?!?!?!
So, I guess the moral of the story is in the sport of cycling it is just as important to be strong physically as it is mentally. Everyone always told me that the strongest doesn't always win but it's the smartest that usually comes home with the trophy. I guess I learned that the hard way. Oh well, there's always next year.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Got two bikes?

Want the measurements to match? If your answers are yes and yes (like me) see the rest of this post.

Since I recently suffered an injury that may have been triggered by switching from my winter training bike to my race bike I decided to get them matched perfectly.

I rode the bike in the pictures all winter. Approximately 1500 miles in 10 weeks. The second week of March I switched over to my race bike. I rode that for about 400 miles over two weeks.

I've been off the bike completely since April 2nd, healing. Seems that I have injured a nerve near my left ischial tuberosity - pedaling is impossible. When I compared the two bikes the measurements did not match. Needless to say I was really aggravated at myself for the stupid mistake. There were other factors involved, such as an awful saddle (Specialized Toupe), and long-term stiffness in my hips from being hit by a car eleven months ago, but the bikes were setup differently and that is a mistake.

Here are some pictures of the rigs I made to transfer my measurements from my winter training bike to my race bike. I had the levels and clamps in my tool box. I bought two pieces of straight, square, pine from Home Depot. Overall it was cheap (I only bought the lumber and carpenter's square) but if you don't have the Irwin Quick-Grips, it will cost more.

The rigs I made were to transfer the three most important measurements: saddle height, reach to the handlebars, and saddle setback from bottom bracket (similar to reach). The saddle bracket I made was helpful in getting the saddles exactly level to the ground. Overall I was more satisfied with the results than 'eyeballing-it' with my tape measure. I am confident the measurements match to the millimeter.

Rest Day?

Having ridden Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I concluded that yesterday should be a rest day. With finals coming up its time to start studying pretty much all the time so I've got to be very focused with training and make sure I maximize time on the bike, and also maximize time off the bike by learing awesome things like the New York Estate Property Transfer Law on my days where half my afternoon's not spent in lycra.

Yesterday here's what I did instead of ride a bike:
Got snow tires off my car.
Got a hair cut.
Studied, kinda.
Met up with Pete to celebrate his birthday and watch the baseball game.
Lost a Rock Paper Scissors match requiring me to get a tatoo of what I threw in the match if I lost (scissors).

Now you see why I write most of this blog about bike racing and not my "normal person" life.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

VO2 Max Pain

After analyzing what happened to me at Turtle Pond with Target Training elite racer Nathanial Ward we concluded that I needed to do V02 Max intervals. Nathanial is not my coach. Actually he's not even a coach. But since we both started racing at the same race (Johhny Cake Lane 1 in 2004), and he's now a cat 2 while I'm a cat 4, I think its a good idea to listen to him some times.

He proscribed five, five minute efforts to be conducted up hill at my VO2 max power. Since I'm a super professional amateur I have a power tap and WKO+. These amazing tools tell me that my VO2 power is 300-325 watts.

What does this all mean? Well, it means that I used to work at a bike shop and got hooked up with a lot of high tech gear, but for the most part have no idea what to do with it!

When I ride at that wattage its pretty hard but not super deadly hard, at least at first. So I rode out to the intersection of 85 and 85A in New Scotland, and did repeats up 85 to Thatcher Park Rd. Effort 1 = not that hard, 2 and 3 = harder, 4 and 5 = lots of suffering. My average power went up with each effort though, starting at 300 and finishing the last effort with a 330 average. I guess that means I did a good job. I rode back to Albany going about 12 miles an hour so I must have done something to myself.

The thing that made this workout really awesome was that while it didn't seem all that super hard while I was doing it, the next day I was close to crushed completely. I went down to the smackdown last night and attempted to attack the group half way up the first climb and again on the second lap. Instead I got a lesson in how to make accelerations on hills by Chuck Quackenbush, Esq. and ended up getting shelled right out the back.

This is becoming a theme for the last week or so - I go from the front of the race to the back of the race in the course of 30 seconds. Supposedly riding up 85 five times and then resting will stop this.

We'll see.

Check back tomorrow for a more interesting post (ie: less related to actual training and racing and more related to the fact that I'm taking today off to recover and its also Pete's birthday) .

Monday, April 14, 2008

Turtle Pond Recap, or Why Chicks Just Don't Dig Bike Racers

Matt and I headed up to New Hampshire Saturday afternoon to race the Turtle Pond Circuit Race in Loudon NH on Sunday. My brother goes to college in Nashua, so we were going to stay with him, and then drive the last 45 miles north to Loudon in the morning. I thought this was a pretty good idea, since the venue was 4.5 hours from Albany, but only 45 minutes from my brother's place. Oh, about my brother's place - its a dorm room.

Matt and I are in the car rolling through Vermont, and after seeing what was likely the hottest chic in Vermont walking her dog in Bennington, somehow, found ourselves on the topic of why girls hate bike racers.

Maybe you've noticed this phenomenon - you roll up to a red light, look over at the car next to you and discover its full of girls. You smile. You're a fit dude. You're likely more attractive then most of the guys who hit on them. Yet for some reason, rather than smiling and waiving, the girls scowl and then speed off.

Matt concluded that this was likely due to jealousy- as most bike racers have nicer legs then women do.

We eventually arrived at my brother's place, and after checking out his room and the campus we went to dinner in the downtown area. Nashua's a pretty blatant college town as there are three different colleges there. There was a good number of establishments in the downtown area, but since we where there to race, we got dinner and decided to get back to the dorm room and get to bed asap.

Along the way, we decided to look for a place to get breakfast in the morning. There was a diner right across the street from where we had dinner, but fearing that its 6:30am opening time would be too late, we went in search of another place to eat.

Now this is where we realized why girls don't want to talk to bike racers. We where three dudes in a madhouse college town on a Saturday night at 10pm. Instead of hitting up one of the various bars, parties, or front lawn ragers, we where driving around, looking for a diner that opened early then 6:30 am on Sundays.

This seems like a completely normal way to spend a Saturday night to me, and notably, I am single.

After driving around for about half an hour, finding one other shady place, we concluded that the first place we had seen would be fine. We headed back to the dorms. Now, my brother is lucky enough to have a single room, but this was in no way a large space. His bike, my bike and Matt's bike commingled, while I grabbed the top bunk (not sure why he's got a bunk bed). Matt rocked out on the floor, and my brother fired up some wild first person shooter video game. After about 5 minutes of battle, I noted again, that there where certainly no chicks playing this game....

To make the sleeping situation even more awesome, at about 11:00pm Erik Marckevich from Windham Mountain Outfitters, calls me. I had offered him a spot on the floor in the dorm early last week, before I knew what the space was like. He says "I'll be in Nashua in 30 minutes, how do I get to your brothers place."

So I give Erik directions, and eventually he gets there. Walking into the room, having never met Matt or my brother, the first thing he says is, "I Left a Colombian chick in New Paltz to drive up here and met you guys to race." So now, we've got 4 guys, four bikes, 2 beds, and about 12 square feet of floor space. Time to go to sleep - and we're wondering why girls don't dig bike racers?

Oh yeah, we went to the bike race too. Matt got 3rd in the Cat 5 race, I was dropped from the winning break and then attacked the peloton multiple times with a fury reserved only for a guy who got dropped from the winning move that he himself initiated.

After the race I learned that Matt hadn't brought any water with him, and instead mixed accelerade, and 2 different types of vitamin water in his bottles for his race. What?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

smacking down the smackers.

Smackdown's come and gone. Last night we had a good showing of riders - and we split into an A and a B group. That's the first time in a while that I remember having two groups and its good to see the smackdown getting bigger again. Moving it to Wednesday seems to have made a difference.

If you haven't been to the ride, its a great training ride on a 6 mile open road loop. Its basically as close to a race as you can get without showing anyone your USCF license. If you haven't been get down there next week and check it out.

Buffalo and I went in the A group. This was an interesting decision - we made it on the way to the ride with no idea who would be there, but we've gotten to the point where having cats beat us down is more fun than attacking the Bs into oblivion, so A group it was.

The group was solid - most of the usual suspects were there. Despite this new CBRC member Kevin Ballou attacked from the gun. Tom Despart chased to him, then I decided to go across too (why? I don't know.). Me and another strong new guy got free, then Buffalo bridged to us on Rupert Rd. We caught the break on the hill at about the same time the main group caught us.
Swing and a miss.

We went up the hill very quickly. Andy attacked on 102 and I found myself on the front of the group chasing. Bob Pavlec and Tom Butler both gave me a where the hell did you come from look when I pulled off. We chased to Andy and the group came back together.

At that point Buffalo looks at me and says, "If I'm here at the end look for my wheel in the sprint. That is if you're here at the end."

That summed it up pretty well. We both rode the streets off the roads to our best potential but were totally in a place we'd never been. It was 50/50 split between maybe I can contest the sprint, or maybe I'll get completely shelled. There was no way to know.

At some point NAV Todd attacked. He's going as good as ever. When he came back I countered his move, but pretty much got caught right away. Todd launched again and broke the leash. Going up Ruppert and onto 102 Andy and Tony Felliette both bridged to Todd. I chased hard with Despart, Pavlec, and Paul McD but it was too no avail. The move stuck. I sprinted out of the group I was in but no one else really sprinted so it was just like I put one other hard effort in for no real reason.

Form Sprint Workout tonight, then Turtle Pond this weekend. Matt and I will both be flying solo as the 4s and 5s are separate fields so hopefully I can get in a decent move and then sprint the small group. Matt may be able to just ride everyone off his wheel in the 5s. Rock.

Peace out homies.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Johnny Cake Three - Birthday Race

Johnny Cake Three is unique among the JC races since it has a hill. Its not very big or steep, but compared to the pancake flat course used for the first two weeks, it does provide a chance to shell riders and split the field. It was also unique because, it was my birthday. I was planning to bring some birthday cake with me during the race, but at the last minute I opted for powergels instead. Its hard to put a candle in an energy gel.

Right from the gun this guy in black attacked and was never seen again. He got so far ahead they stuck a 2nd "pace car" in front of the rest of the field. Which was sort of confusing, since we didn't realize it was a 2nd car. For half the race we discussed where the guy in black must be, because if the pace car is here he can't be any further away.

"Did he pass the pace car? He's DQed then, right?"

"Did he flat? Go the wrong way? Crash himself out?"

"Was he actually an A group rider who stopped to pee and he took off like that to catch back up to the As?"

no. In fact he was just really fast and the rest of us were really dumb. Needless to say he won.

Eventually Steve pointed out that the pace car we started with was a black Subaru Forrester. The car we were following now was a black Honda Fit. Shortly thereafter a marshal yelled "1 minute to the break!" Futile chasing ensued.

On lap four Eric Schou, Matt, Danny and I went to the front and hammered it. We actually gapped the group a little and as we rolled over the top I took advantage of my prime descending weight and sped down the hill. I was the first one to the right turn at the bottom of the hill, going 35+ mph. I didn't really brake and tried to rail the turn at max speed to keep the heat on the group behind. Awesomely, I over cooked it and narrowly missed going off the road. Just as I exited the corner I heard "Wa, AAHHHH!" I looked behind and see DG in the field next to the road on the other side of a large ditch. Amazingly, he was upright and riding. Where I barely kept it on the road, Danny took the "why do I need to stay on the road at all" approach to the turn. Instead of crashing he just had his own personal CX race for 30 seconds.

So this combined effort on the hill and cornering with utter recklessness managed to separate the race down from the 75 starters to about 35 riders.

At that point we were got a time check to the solo superhero up the road - 1.5 minutes. Okay we really need to chase now. A bunch of half hearted cat 4 style chasing ensued, that somehow actually caused the gap to go up to 2 minutes. With 2 laps to go CBRC went up and actually chased, sort of- with 1.5 laps to go the gap had gone up to 2.5 minutes. Who the hell was this guy anyway? Do we really suck that bad?

So we gave up on the chase with 10k to go figuring we'd rather race for second then destroy ourselves not catching Lance Armstrong's doppleganger.

The last time up the hill Matt attacked with a brutal acceleration. He gaped the field and took off. The other teams in the race sort of looked at each other and Matt kept hammering. I thought he might stick the move, especially since CBRC was off the front and the remaining riders weren't exactly looking super organized. Finally at about 5k someone figured out how to ride fast and the group sped up. We caught Matt in the traditional spot right around 1k. At this point Jimbo and Eric Schou rolled up in front, I got on Jimbo's wheel and we started lining up for the sprint. We got a little blocked in, but as we made the left turn onto the finishing straight started moving up.

That straight is a lot longer then people realize, and with the headwind, you really have to get pretty close to the finish before you launch. A lot of people don't realize this and just sprint right out of the corner. Jimbo and I were all the way to the right hand side of the road in the gutter, with all these people sprinting into the wind on our left. Jimbo towed me right up to the 200m line and I jumped from there. As people cracked in the wind I went to the line passing a silly number of people. I ended up throwing the bike at the line and getting 3rd in the sprint.

Timing is everything in the sprint. I was still accelerating at the line and may have caught the two riders who beat me in had I hit it just 3 seconds sooner. The nice thing about the JC races is since the course finishes on the Pretty awesome.

Its amazing how much teamwork makes the race easier at the end. The work we did to break the group up mid race, and Matt's late attack made it easy for me to roll right up to the finish as fresh as possible. Eric and Jimbo brought me right up at the end, and Jimbo's last 300m push meant all I had to do was kill it - no thinking required.

Clearly we're getting it down more this season and I'm sure we're gonna score some more good results for everyone now that we are getting the team dialed. Its pretty exciting!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bicycle Racing Is Not A Crime

Taken at the State Office Campus.

JC2 Results up

I have to update a couple comments from my previous post. It shows what mayhem is going on during the bunch sprint as everything changes very quickly in the last 30 seconds of the race.

I remember having NAV riders side by side with me at the start of the sprint, but apparently they got overtaken and it was Seamus Powell from Windham Mtn. Outfitters that came up alongside me at the end.

The results illustrate how important the position is in the wind. The NAV guys lined up all the way to the left and launched first, it looks like riders coming up the right had an easier go of it in the last 200m. The top four riders all went by me on the right - Matt actually went by me on the left because he's that badass.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Johnny Cake Recap!

First a note on Johnny Cake 1 - CBRC riders, for the first time in memory actually executed a plan as stated. James got in a break, I waited to see what would happen and contest the field sprint. Playing different cards didn't get us a super high result, but it was a good sign that we're starting to execute. A little more practice and we'll have it dialed in.

On the little more practice note - Johnny Cake 2

We rolled with a be conservative and wait for the sprint plan this past week, with the thought that the addition of the hill next week will favor riding the hell out of the race. Rather then attack the race into oblivion we just waited and waited.

I was up in the front of the group with James just about the whole race - somewhere between 3rd and 10th wheel. Dan Owen (Battenkill-United) plus a westwood guy and some other dude got a break going mid-way through the race. They never got more then about 30 seconds, and sat out there, for half of the race. No one really tried to bridge with the crazy winds, and with 2 to go Steve and Barry got on the front and pulled it back. It was pretty pro - they timed the catch just as the last lap was getting under way. James and Seamus Powell (Windham Mountain) attacked. James got a gap but then decided not to try it in the wind and stuck to the wait for the sprint plan. He drifted back, and let Seamus go. Probably a smart move as the move didn't stick.

I got James's wheel coming up the rise just before 1k to go. We caught Seamus right after the 1k sign. The UVM guy who won last week attacked. Matt Godeke came out of no where, and chased him down as we came around that last right hand bend in the road. The left turn and last 400 meters was a drag race - NAV coming up the left. CBRC in the middle, Canadians coming up the right. It was freaking sweet.

Willem was on the back of the NAV train and jumped first. I went to his wheel and the Canadian train came up behind. The headwind was a bitch, and the guys coming up the right side went by me at the same time I went by Willem (at least I think I passed Willem- there was bike throwing at the line as the Canadian kid that won through his arms in the air).

Gary didn't have me in the top 5 at the finish but said I was likely 6th or 7th. Basically Willem and I sheltered the group that was all the way to the right from the wind and a bunch of guys rolled by at the line as I ran out of gas. The lesson is the winner in that headwind sprint needs to go from the right side gutter. Anywhere else and someone can steal your draft.

Gary said he'd have to go to the video to really tell what happened since it was mad close across the board, but I was somewhere in the top ten for sure.

The amazing thing is that Matt Godeke, after taking the first pull on the train, cycled back around, ended up on the end of the Canadian train and got in the top five. That kid is a horse! Next week if its a field sprint he should probably be on the back of the train, but I don't plan to let it be a field sprint....

Lessons learned:
- riding conservatively is a good way to get a sprint result, but is boring.
-sprint finishes are a roll of the dice. Yes being a good sprinter is important, but seemingly random stuff like the exact spot you are as you make the last corner is critical.
- Sprinting into a headwind for 200m is too long.
- 75m sprint on that course is all you should plan on if you want to win.
- French Canadians are fast in the sprint but ride like bitches during the rest of the race.

Another interesting note - I thought the majority of the race was straight up easy. James drifted through the group a little more then I did - he said once you got in the middle of the field people were drooling on themselves and cross eyed just hanging on. I don't know what that says about the strength of the field, but at least it might indicate that James and I are getting to the point where we're among the stronger guys in the cat 4 race, which is nice to know.

Next week the race is on my birthday. My birthday present to myself is going to be riding the streets off the roads. If its looking like a sprint at 1k to go I'm doing something crazy.

rock and roll.