Monday, June 30, 2008

Reston: attacking from the back

I've always enjoyed doing the Reston Crit and this year didn't disappoint. Thanks to Evolution, the organizers, the road guards and JoeJ for another great day of racing.

I'm not sure how many Cat 4's started but there weren't that many when we finished. I must say I really think the Cat 4 races this year are really fast, much faster than last years. Seems like the mentality is to hammer the start of the race and drop as many riders as you can. This is a lot more fun, than sitting in a giant pack and then have a huge, cluster F pack sprint.

After suffering through the first 10 minutes of what seemed like a never ending sprint, I couldn't believe we still had 50 mins of racing. Riders were popping left and right every lap. My conditioning is coming back but I still wasn't sure what I'd have left at the end. My goal was to stay out of trouble, maintain contact with the lead pack, surf the back, and then attack with whatever I had left towards the end of the race.

Throughout the race, as riders popped off the back, I would sprint around them to get back into the slipstream. I would let small gaps form leading into turns 3, 4 and 5 so that I could roll through these turns without having to hit the brakes, which I would have to do if I was riding right on someone's wheel. A couple times, I misjudged and had to work pretty hard to get back into the slipstream after exiting turn #5. Towards the end of the race, the head wind coming out of turn #5 was picking up.

The pace stayed pretty high for about 40 minutes or so. With about 15 laps to go, the pace started slowing up along the start/finish stretch. I was waiting for attacks to occur with the slower pace, but no one was going. I wanted to let an attack go, and then counter attack when it was caught. Nothing happening. So with 11 or so to go, I attacked hard on the start/finish stretch and got maybe a 10 sec gap. I soloed for 2 laps and got caught. I sat back in to recover for a couple of laps. The pace stayed slow. With 4 laps to go, I attacked again on the start/finish stretch and got a good gap. It started drizzling and I was hoping that this would slow the pack down and allow me to stay away. But, unfortunately just before the bell lap, I got caught. But this time, I was completely spent, I really didn't have anything left so I drifted back and rolled in after the pack sprint.

Not sure where I placed. Felt a lot better than I did at the TdW, but still not in the form I had before the crash.

There were 4 crashes and I, fortunately, wasn't involved in any of them. The first one happened on the first turn of the first lap. WTF? The second and third occured after exiting turn #5. The cones leading into this turn definitely made the corner safer by preventing riders from dive bombing on the inside. Jose Nunez got caught up in one of these crashes, and it looked like he sustained a shoulder injury. I hope its not bad, he's a great guy to race against. The fourth crash occured on the stretch just before the start/finish line.

6 comments:

Kyle Jones said...

You looked way beter than last weekend. It is amazing what happens in a weeks time.

goyo said...

WTF!! Ray I'm out for the rest of the season, I fractured my collarbone so the Championship is out of question. I'll be back maybe by Turkey Day but as a Cat3, I did the 3/4 earlier and I never brake going in the turns and on the cat4 it was different. Thank you for asking I'll see you soon.

RayMan said...

Jose,

I'm really sorry about your crash and collarbone. That sucks. When I saw you holding your arm, I knew it was a broken CB. I was about 10 riders back when you went down, and it looked like you hit hard. That turn was freaking me out with A'holes going through 2-3 wide. I just don't get why they think gaining positions through that turn will make their race.

OK, my advice from someone that's gone through mid season injuries twice now. Enjoy the next week or so completely away from the bike. Let your collarbone heal, it will take at least 8 weeks for the bone to go through the healing process so that its strong enough to with stand a fall. You don't want to comprise re-injury and potentially more damage. Stay off the bike outside for 8 weeks but start riding the trainer as soon as when the shoulder doesn't hurt you. Do long intervals of constant threshold tempo of 10, 15, 20 min intervals. You'll be amazed at how strong your legs will feel when you get back on the road.

RayMan said...

thank K
Felt way better this weekend than at TdW. Still don't feel 100% yet. But I think by the next race I'll be flying.

fabsroman said...

Jose,

I'm sorry to hear about your wreck and your injury. With all the wrecks happening, you can bet I was scared to death when it started raining. Instead of moving up for the sprint, I decided to move back, and even thought about bailing. The difference between the half of the 3/4 race I did, and the 4 race, was like night and day. I barely had to use the brakes in the 3/4 race, but was on them a lot in the 4 race. I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know. Congrats on the upgrade, get better, and I hope I can race with you in the 3's next year.

Guys,

I'm just wondering how the hell a wreck happened right by the start/finish line when the road is straight as can be. That one almost took me out. I thought the guy to my right was going to get through, but instead of getting on the brakes he tried to fly through it. I have no idea what he was thinking. Maybe he was worried about getting dropped. Anyway, he got dropped alright. Right to the pavement and his rear wheel almost took me out. That wreck was almost as disturbing as the wreck in the very first corner of the race.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again, 10 race starts just isn't enough for an upgrade. The stats from MABRA actually show that there are more wrecks in the Cat 4 races than the Cat 5 races. Isn't that nuts. People should have years of racing experience before they are allowed to upgrade. Hell, with the 10 race requirement, you can upgrade in 4 weeks or less if you race Greenbelt and weekend races on Saturday and Sunday. How can 4 weeks of racing give anybody enough experience to race in groups of 100 riders, or 125 in Jefferson Cup?

Anonymous said...

dude.. when are you going to update your blog?