Thursday, 17 September 2009

Mission [mostly] accomplished

Things went pretty well here in Dallas. The weather was touch and go since we arrived Monday, with daily rain flooding streets and putting a damper on riding. But Lang and I both were pretty shattered after the Univest weekend so we were happy to have an excuse to rest and do shorter rides.

By race day the legs started to come around, as did the weather. We lined up for the ~75min race under cloudy skies but still with standing water in spots around the course. Three of the four straights were huge, 4-lane roads with plenty of space to jockey, but the course funneled into a one-lane road between the last two turns and opened back up onto the downhill home-straight through a very tight, acute bend.

I had a not great start position and took my time moving up. Once I got there, around 10 laps in, I went for it and got a solid gap solo. From there on out, the race is pretty much a blur. But those first few laps were the only time in the race I was in the pack. With the wet roads and tight final turns I felt like it was easier just to slug it out off the front than muck around in the field. So I kept flowing and bridging into moves, sprinting for primes, and in general, swinging the big stick. In the process I won two $640 primes and missed a $1000 prime by about 1/4 of a wheel.

The race came down to a break of five with about 20sec on the field. I was feeling good and as long as I took turn four okay felt confident sprinting. I knew there would be a $2500 prime on one-to-go, and set up to sprint for that. I took that pretty comfortably--by a few bike lengths--but without enough of a gap to justify putting my head down and continuing.

On the back side all five of us spread across the huge boulevard to size one another up, with Adam Meyerson (Mtn. Khakis) the first to put in a dig. That's when I screwed up. I was closest to him so I went ahead and jumped on his wheel, and of course the other three followed. Going into the final two turns I hesitated since I just put in the dig, and Heath Blackgrove (Hotel San Jose) and John Murphy (OUCH) jumped on the inside. I got shut out from the fast line in turn four and wound up sprinting from the back. Our placings coming out of the final turn were the final placings of the race: Blackgrove, Murphy, Meyerson, myself, then Mike Creed (Type 1); I don't think Creed sprinted since he was sitting on the break waiting for his team to chase back for their two very good sprinters (not sure what happened there). Video from the last three laps can be found here.

Same old story: I'm obviously psyched to have won a whopping $5400, I think the most of anyone in the race. But again I messed up the finale even though I clearly figured out how I needed to ride the final turns to win the sprint. I can do better than last out of the break, I think it just comes down to relaxing a little more in the closing laps, being willing to lose, then making the right moves a little more quickly and confidently.

In any case, live and learn, and I still got lots of congratulations after the race for being so present at the front and driving all the moves. There were also a few directors at the race who I've been courting for next year, all of whom told me they were impressed with the ride. Again, good timing for a good ride, but also a good time to have not mucked up the finale.

So now I have almost a week to kill here in Dallas (any ideas?). Lang took off this morning and was a little bummed with his ride. He's a little skittish cornering in the wet after his two bad crashes last weekend and came off along with about 75% of the field. We're both ready for the big season finale next week in Vegas. It should be a barn burner: tight, 1km course, 9:30pm start, plenty of money, and a bunch of guys finishing out their seasons with nothing to lose. A good chance for redemption? I have 5 days to scheme...

1 comment:

  1. Good luck in Vegas! Watch out for turn one. Last year it was a slight off-camber left and LOTS of guys were washing out. You're racing in a parking lot, and it seemed like there was just enough soot/exhaust on the surface to make it slick.