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.


Anonymous said...

Nice Recap Eric.

Whats the deal with the added hill on Saturday? Short and steep or long and gradual? Just wondering.

Great race and best of luck Saturday to you and your team.


eric said...

The climb for this week is not too tough. Its big ring the whole way. It pitches up a little mid way up, but its not a real challenge. The thing that can makes it hard is the riders. If we go up it at 22 mph that will be hard. You know what I mean I'm sure...

Anonymous said...

Thanks - So if the 1s in the A race decide to go up it at 28mph I will be in trouble...

Whats with the winner of the B race being a Cat1 - Lame!