Archive for July 29, 2012
2012 Georgia Cycling Gran Prix Overall GC podium. L-R Dan Holt (Team Type 1), Alexy Schmidt (Team Type 1), Brian Toone (Tria Cycling p/b DonoohooAuto.com and Infinity Med-i-spa). Photo by Barbara Dowde
Three days, three podiums! This podium was for 3rd place in the 5 day stage race overall.
Unfortunately I didn’t see anyone with an iphone taking a picture of the podium – but there were a lot of people taking pictures with regular digital cameras so hopefully I’ll be able to post a podium pic in the next day or two. UPDATE: Joey Rosskopf (Team Type 1) passed along this podium pic (and the one at the bottom of the post) from Barbara Dowde. Thanks Joey and Barbara!
This race played out very similar to last year’s race, but the way I personally raced the race was completely different this year – and I ended up in the exact same position! Go figure. Last year a late race break of 15 formed when I bridged up with a small chase group to an original break of 10 riders that had gotten away a bit earlier. That break of 10 riders was an amalgam of smaller moves. A small break emerged from our group and I ended up something like 6th or 7th in the sprint from the large break to take 9th in the race. I was nursing a groin injury so I decided to start at the back of the race and wait as long as possible before doing anything.
This year, I was also nursing a bit of a groin injury from my cramps at the end of the Covington crit – but it wasn’t as bad as last year so I decided to be a bit more aggressive this year. I went with several of the early moves and eventually made it into a two-man chase group (me and Alexy Schmidt from Team Type 1) … we were chasing Alexy’s teammate Joey Rosskopf so Alexy wasn’t happy that I wasn’t contributing very much to the chase. I was pretty tired, though, after covering so many of the TT1 attacks and breaks from the first 10 laps of the race. So as the field was closing in on us, it looked like Alexy had given up – but instead he had only eased up for a second and then attacked really hard to finish the bridge by himself as I drifted back to the pack.
I was really tired at this point so I drifted back to the very back of the large field. It was much easier but I couldn’t respond to any moves. A chase group of about 6 or 7 riders emerged from our field and started to put some serious time into what was left in the field – eventually merging with Joey and Alexy. I still sat at the back resigned to just try and do whatever I could in the field sprint to get the 5 points I needed to make it into 3rd position for the general classification. Then a chase group formed, and I decided that I had to at least try so I attacked really hard from nearly the back of the pack because a nice string of coincidences led to a strung out pack that wasn’t going very fast. I took the momentum of the group and used it to slingshot myself sheltered from the wind all the way across to this chase group of 5 or 6 riders.
All of the attacking that had been going on in the field had dramatically reduced the gap to the lead group – so when I bridged to the chase group, the lead group was less than 15 seconds in front of us. Unfortunately, the momentum had gone out of the chase group. I went immediately to the front and ramped the speed back up, but the field was closing in on us fast when Jeff Mcgrane (Friends of the Great Smokies) came across the top of the feedzone hill absolutely drilling it down the hill into the course’s sharpest turn. This brought out the people who were willing to work in the chase group and we had about five or six guys killing it with three laps to go. We had nearly caught the leaders by halfway through the last lap – but they must have ramped up for the final sprint which meant that we were sprinting for ninth place in our chase group. Jeff led out the sprint, and I was able to come around him at the line to take ninth in the race.
Ahead of us – Alexy Schmidt took the sprint win followed by Joey Rosskopf (TT1) in second and Emilio Asconeguy (Rossetti Cycling Team) in third.
This gave me enough points to move up to 3rd in the overall general classification for the five days of racing – definitely my highest placing in such a long race (5 days). Very happy with the outcome, the training, and racing with everyone!
It worked so well yesterday, I thought I would try it again. So as soon as the chief official said “riders ready” – the secret codeword for “go” in crits, I clipped in and attacked hard – leading most of the first lap. This strung out the field with a small separation, but shortly through the second lap the field came back together. Oscar Clark (United Health Care / 707) rocketed off the front with a Lifetime Fitness rider. They got a small gap, but one lap later Dave Gearheart (Team Mission Soruce) drilled it hard on backside of the course through the tricky schoolyard turn and up the hill towards the start/finish turns. Dave had closed a significant portion of the gap, but when he pulled over to rest, none of the next couple riders pulled through so I immediately jumped hard to finish the bridge to the leaders.
At this point the three of us were off and flying. Oscar was drilling it so hard that I could barely hold his wheel and the Lifetime rider came off after a couple laps. We got into somewhat of a rotation where Oscar pulled maybe 90% of a lap, and I would pull 10%. Even so, I was way above threshold. My heartrate was well above my LT heartrate of 180 for the first 10 minutes of our break – eventually settling down to my threshold heartrate of 180 for the 35 minutes it took us to lap the field.
Before lapping the field, though, I got to witness one of the best displays of sacrificial teamwork I’ve seen in a while. Dan Holt (Team Type I) attacked to bridge to us. Oscar’s teammate, Oneal Samuels (UHC/707), covered the move forcing Dan to do the majority of the work to make the bridge up to us. Once there, Dan was outnumbered by the two UHC riders so he wouldn’t commit to the break (especially after having to go so hard to catch Oscar and me). Oneal recognized what was going on so he went to the front and drilled it super hard for a couple laps and then peeled off – knowing that Dan would work with Oscar and me, but not if he was outnumbered. Sure enough, Dan fully committed to the break, and the one-two punch of Dan and Oscar meant that it really was all I could do to hang on. Eventually, our pace started to slow a tiny fraction and I was able to pull on the short uphill section before the course’s one righthand turn.
I was very thankful once we lapped the field and initially tried to hold Dan’s wheel in the group. Once I had rested for a few laps, I decided to move farther up and mark Oscar. Then a couple riders slipped off the front and started to unlap themselves (Buddy Spafford – Florida Velo and Claudio Arone – EBP Racing). I was fighting off some cramps by this point in the race having already gone through TWO bottles and trying to figure out when was a good time to retrieve my third bottle from my back pocket. Fortunately, Oscar’s team was committed to chasing back Buddy and Claudio. Still, I knew that it was also in my best interest if we stayed away so whenever the pace really slowed down if somebody was interfering with the UHC train, then I would roll through and try to pick the pace back up again. I think this only happened a couple times as the UHC riders were committed to drilling it at the front.
With five laps to go, I cramped hard and stopped pedaling drifting all the way back to the pack of the field. Fortunately, my cramp subsided just as the pace slowed down. So I got to rest for nearly two laps as our pace wasn’t super fast with 4 to go or 3 to go. With 2 to go, it was full gas again and fortunately I didn’t cramp again until the finishing sprint. So I sat up happy to take third. Meanwhile, in the sprint, Team Type 1 and UHC had competing leadout trains with Oscar edging out Dan for the win.
Moon and church – our race started at 8:30, lasted an hour and a half, and this was the night scene after the race.
Five days of racing, car is getting messy, text annotates the tile I got for third place