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.