March 29, 2017 In Uncategorized
Cat 4 Race Reports: CSU and Cobb Lake!
The Primal 4/5 squad had a near perfect weekend! Here in Chris Dolan’s recap for the CSU Cobb Lake Road Race. Crit recap to come tomorrow.
We showed up to Cobb Lake Road Race with 8 of the strongest guys in the race. Our original plan was to use our numbers to launch a few breakaway attempts, and still keep enough guys in reserve to protect Sani as a dedicated printer. A few of us rode the course for our warm-up and and we talked about places where we could potentially attack and for a breakaway.
The race started out very restrained. The pace wasn’t slow but no one attacked in the earliest stages of the race. I think everyone wanted to take a lap to get a feel for the race. I launched one of the first attacks of the day on a short, punchy hill that came shortly after the finish line. I can’t remember if this was on the first or second full lap. I wasn’t able to bring anyone else with me for the possibility of a multi-person break, and the pack quickly marked my attack. I think one of our team’s biggest opportunities for improvement would be counter-attacking once an initial breakaway attempt has been shut down. Making repeated attacks and counterattacks may give us a better chance of establishing a breakaway. The strength of our team definitely means that we’ll be marked in most races, which will make it harder for us to sneak off into a breakaway.
A two-man break was eventually able to sneak away about midway through the race and they were maintaining a 30-second advantage over the peloton. Two more riders broke free and started to bridge the gap to the original two-man break, including a rider from the Phoenix team. Phoenix had one of the larger teams in the race with 7 riders, so it was at this point that I decided to shut down the break. I recruited a few other riders, including Mark Surls, and we reeled in the escapees in about half a lap from when the two other riders made the bridge.
We thinned out the pack some throughout the race but were no other breakaways. Collin Zimmerman made an attack on the gravel section before the last lap, but this was quickly marked by the peloton. With two laps to go, Sani pointed out that I might have a slow leak in my rear tire. I tail-gunned for almost two laps to until I was sure that my rear tire was still holding air. Approaching the final gravel section, I realized that my tire was going to last, so I started moving up through the pack in preparation for the finish. Moving up in the pack was tough because the pace was slow and the yellow line rule was in effect. I was able to move up some on the windy side of the pack in the gravel section. Not very energy efficient, but I was able to get about halfway up through pack without wasting too much energy before tucking back behind a wheel.
We entered the final climb with about 25 riders; I was at least 10 positions back from the leader. The finish was deceptively long, because it was uphill and the road was winding. Most riders started their finishing moves too soft and too early, so I was able move up through the pack while staying seated. I was well within 100m from the finish line when popped out of the saddle and launched my final sprint. I made sure that I launched hard enough so that no one could jump on my wheel and made sure that I waited long enough to start my sprint so that I could hold that effort through the finish line. All those times that I out-sprinted Jordan on an inconsequential mid-ride hill–just to be an asshole–had finally paid off. I crossed the line in disbelief that I had just taken my first victory on a road bike! Sani crossed the line in second place, fist-pumping from at least 10 meters out.
Shout out to Mark Surls. He was instrumental in working to reel in the break, burned himself, but was then able to chase back onto the peloton once the pace slowed back down. More importantly, he was always smiling and had something positive to say at every point throughout the race. Great sportsmanship! Racing alongside Mark definitely helped me stay positive through the ups and downs of a 43-mile race. Can’t wait to race with this dude again!