Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Belterra, Driveway, Walburg, and Pace Bend


Belterra was a fun race outside of Austin, and was another great event put on by Holland Racing and Andrew Willis. The course was about 3 km long with two small kickers that had U-turns at the top, one about halfway through the course and the other at the finish. I stayed calm for the first half of the race, but when there was a strong move with all the major teams represented I knew I had to be there. I made a solo bridge with about 40 minutes left in the race up to the now 6 man break. The 6 of us worked hard and held off the Team Hotel San Jose driven peleton to contest the win. I tried a late move with about a kilometer and a half and got a small gap but nothing more. I was caught a little after the turn with about 300 meters to go, and sat up to watch David Wenger of Super Squadra take the win over Andrew Dalheim of Metro Volkswagon.


This was my first race out at the Driveway course, and I have to admit it was a great expreience! Once again I chilled for the first 45 minutes of the race. Right at the halfway mark I put in a hard attack and got a decent sized gap solo. I held onto this lead for about half a lap until the extremely fast backside of the course where junior gears could only help so much. Once I was caught I just went back to sitting in the pack and waited for the finish. Going into the last lap everyone was fighting for a spot at the front. Fortunately, P. J. Rabice helped bring me up to the front to a great position onto Squadra's Alan Ting. After an extremely hectic finale I ended up taking 5th on the day with THSJ's Josh Carter taking the win over Alan, with THSJ's Will Ross taking third.


What a great way to spend the first half of my birthday! Walburg has been known for as one of the worst weather a race could possibly have, but this year it didn't really hold up to its expectations. It was pissing rain the entire race, but the freezing temperatures weren't there along with the huge winds. The winds are usually what shatters the race into little pieces, but at this year's edition the racing didn't really happen until halfway through the last lap. An early move went off, but was brought back and after the racing was nice and steady. With about half a lap to go a flurry of attacks went off. I tried getting away a few times, but nothing would stick. Finally with about 10 miles to go I settled in in the pack, and THSJ sent their entire team up to the front and started driving the pace. This was during the cross wind section and after a few miles the pack had blown up. There were only about 15-20 of us left in the front group with about 10 of those guys being a member of THSJ. I just sat at the back of the group waiting for the sprint. San Jose once again led out their super sprinter, Josh Carter, and he rocketed away from everyone with about 200 meters to go to take the win with a huge margin. I started the sprint pretty far back, but was able to come around everyone else to take 2nd place over Russ Walker.

Pace Bend

Pace Bend has always been an extremely hard race in the past and this year definitely did not disappoint. I started the race pretty aggressively and after about three of the 13 six mile laps I found myself in a strong break of about 15 people. All of the teams were in the move with a good majority of the strongest riders in Texas. We quickly got a big gap on the field, but the break wasn't working very well together and we were caught about half a lap later. I then just sat in at the back of the group until about 2 and a half laps to go. I got into another break with a bunch of other strong riders. After some confusion I found myself off the front with Matrix/RBM's Pat McCarty and THSJ's Stefan Rothe. The three of us stayed off for about half a lap until a few other riders bridged up to us. Going into one lap to go there was a group of about 10 off the front with THSJ well represented with four of them including Carter. They kept the pace up in the break, but we were caught about a half a lap later. I then put in another attack with McCarty which formed another break with a few of the same people. That group ended up holding off the field and contested for the win. Carter once again sprinted away from everyone to take his second win of the weekend over Matrix/RBM's and current P12 State Champion JT Cody. I once again started the sprint a little too far back, but wasn't able to make up as many places and ended the day in 7th.

These are two of my really good friends, Tracy on the left and Courtney on the right. They woke up early Sunday morning and drove over three hours to come watch my race after being at a dance competition all the day on Saturday which they won! Thanks a lot for coming!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tour of New Braunfels Road Race

Photo courtesy of Adrian Vlok

This past weekend was the first weekend of racing on the Texas racing scene. Saturday was a 64 mile road race in New Braunfels with Sunday holding a crit/circuit race. I opted out of Sunday's race just to be on the safe side as I don't want to put my season in jeopardy by joined 70+ testosterone filled men in an early season crit. The road race played out better than I could have hoped and I was able to take my first (but let's not hope last!) win of the year and my first mass start win in the P 1/2 category!! The course was about 16 miles, and fairly flat for most of the course. The winds definitely played a factor in the outcome of the race especially on the small country roads with cross winds. The race started out aggressive just as I expected in an early season race. I knew that the pace would be fast and hard for the first half lap or so before a small move would get off and the peleton would calm down. This is exactly what happened and 8 miles into the race Matrix/RBM's, Pat McCarty, got off the front with Robert Biard of Team Hotel San Jose. The pair gained about 20 seconds before Ian Dille of Super Squadra bridged up to the break. The gap swelled to about 45 seconds by the time the pack reached the end of the first lap. Unfortunately the race was stopped due to people making bad decisions and crossing over the yellow line, so that the officials could give us our second warning of the day. Going a little off topic here but seriously...is it going to take a car taking out half of Texas' top racers to learn that the yellow line rule is placed into effect for our safety? The rule isn't there to punish riders it's to help try and prevent accidents that could easily be avoided. I honestly believe 100% that the officials made the right call in stopping the race, and nothing disappoints me more or makes me madder than riders that are blatantly disregarding the rules and then getting mad at the officials when the fault is really there's. I have to admit that a few times I'll accidentaly drift across the yellow line, but I make a conscious effort to abide by the rules and stay on the right side of the road. As a junior racer I have many role models that I race with and against and if something were to happend to any of them I'm not sure what I would do. Maybe it's just me, but I would gladly be spit off the back than have a head on collision with a truck...Ok back to the race. The officials let us get back to racing, and by then the gap had gone up to about two and a half minutes. I honestly the break would stick so I basically threw all racing tactics to the wind and went on an all out attack. The next thing I knew I was dangling about 15 seconds off the front with Garmin Development rider, Thacker Reeves. The two of us worked hard for about five kilometers before being caught. For the next lap and a half I just sat in the pack to recover and save energy. Over that time frame Dille had dropped out of the break and Biard had flatted leaving McCarty off the front solo. About a quarter way into the lap McCarty was finally brought back. There were many counter attacks, but the only one that stuck was made by Lady Haga aka Chad Haga of Super Squadra. McCarty had jumped with him and the two started to slowly pull away from the field. Seeing this as a great move to be in I put in a hard attack and found myself chasing solo. I caught the pair about a mile and a half later and the three of us worked perfectly together. The next thing we knew we had about 30 seconds on the field going into the right hand turn about 6-700 meters before the finished. Haga was in the lead with me on his wheel and McCarty on mine. We had a head wind for the finish, so I knew that it would be tough to lead the sprint out and hold on for the win. With those thoughts running through my mind I don't really think any of them actually registered. I started my spring with about 2-300 meters out and was able to hold on for the win over a tired McCarty, who had been off the front for probably 55 of the 64 miles, with Haga rolling in right behind us. This was yet another excellent event put on my Rob Kane. The course was a great course and while the problems that the staff faced would have scared others away, the staff did an amazing job dealing with them. Props!

Next on the menu is the Belterra Circuit Race next Saturday and the Driveway Crit on Sunday.