[b] Geneva Grand Prix[/b]
One goal – finish 4th or higher. This is something that echoed in my head when the race would get hard. This is what I tried to stay focused on. This was all I needed to cash my check into the 3’s.
Nick, Jacques and I were all there were in terms of xXx, but then again that was more than enough. Omniums attract the best individual riders from all around. But with more individual riders in the peloton than teams, the dynamic often becomes “why should I do work and sacrifice my result?” So with 3 riders out of a field of 61, that was more than enough firepower to do damage.
Whistle blows and because of a pre-race issue with my cleat, I get a bad clip in. Luckily, the field didn’t go too hard for the first two laps so I was able to make my way back up front within 3-4 laps. When I got there Nick was at the front grinding out a nice pace and Jacques wasn’t too far behind. Shortly thereafter there was a prime and Jacques was pretty quick to react to it. I was sitting maybe 7th wheel so I decided that once this was all over, I’d try to work the field over and test out some lines (turn 4 was a slight downhill into a tight road and I needed to know just how fast I could take it in the end).
The prime riders get caught and with 17 laps to go, I get my head low to the bars and start my grind. They let me go. I go sailing through the turns. Turn 4 has a dip in it on the apex – need to watch that at the finish. They’re not coming? Ramp up the pace. Okay they’re chasing. Make ‘em hurt – out of the saddle getting my speed up as high as I can. They are closing and this hurts – but someone has to whittle this field down. 2 laps is all I was off and I was happy when Patrick Meyer (PACT) bridged up to me. So we worked the field over some more and then it was time for me to rest. Jacques and Nick would come back up to the front, but unfortunately, Jacques would blow a front tire in a turn and have to visit the wheel pit (but hats off to him for keeping it upright).
Fast forward. Field is down to maybe 45 riders and we’re at 8 to go. I’m sitting 15th wheel and the pace slows for a brief minute. Despite not wanting to eat wind and REALLY wanting take a rest – I take the opportunity to move up to say 5th wheel because I know if I don’t get it now, it will be WAY harder later. Split second after I hit the front, pace ramps up – glad I moved when I did. Front three are Tristan Petsch – Horvath (Mack), Bevan Brookfield (Half Acre) and Chris Lombardo. Tristan is killing himself on the front trying to keep the pace high and Bevan doesn’t want to pull through when Tristian wags. 6 laps to go I say “Come on guys, it’s too early for cat and mouse. Keep it [speed] up.” Chris hears me and replies “go and take a pull buddy.” Don’t mind if I do my friend. As I shoot Tristian I tell him to take a rest on my wheel. I pull off and Chris acknowledges the effort. Back to say 7th wheel for a quick rest.
4 to go and the guys in front of me are slowing. Now is not the time to get swarmed! I hear shifting on the right and I see a rider in a plain blue unaffiliated kit about to rocket. I quickly use the gutter and shoot left around the riders in front of me and hop his wheel. All aboard the p-A-in train! We are cruising and creating major gaps – one problem, I am burning WAY too much jet fuel too close to the end to keep this pace hot. When we hit 3 to go, I pull off and gap the other rider to force the field to chase him while I slot into 6th wheel for a quick rest. Hey, I do work, you all better do some too.
2 to go comes and as we go past start finish a Vision Quest rider (Lorenzo Cervantes) comes streaking past me like a freaking hellfire missile! The reaction is quick but he already has the gap. From this point on it’s just me marking the wheels in front of me and trying to keep it upright. At one point in turn 5 my rear wheel skipped (running too high PSI) but all I was focused on was staying on the front. Bell lap and it’s game time. Lorenzo is going, going, GONE! In turn 3 I managed to pick off 5th place and that moved me into 4th. “Don’t let anyone around you” is all I could think.
We hit the final turn (slight uphill) and then we’re dumped off for the 150M sprint. I pull past the rider in front of me but I see the challenge on the right. Shift. Dig hard for the line and [url=http://batavia.patch.com/articles/photo-gallery-geneva-grand-prix-bicycle-race-draws-thousands#photo-6944095] throw [/url]. Left the door wide open on the left and got beat by a wheel length on the line by Matt Boseman (Method). Dang it! But hey, I got 4th? Check please!
[b] Homewood Cycling Classic[/b]
• No real goal other than to instigate a break and get a check. Even talked to Patrick, Lorenzo and Boseman as they were some of the few riders who wanted to work the day before.
• Nick, Jacques, Eric, Tracy and Nikos all took to the line with me. Reassured Nikos that he would do fine and to hang on as long as he could. Nice job man!
• Break goes with Jacob Shilling (Mack) and some other riders. Tracy works his tail off to bring it back when Seegs tells us to work.
• Break changes and is replaced with Tristian, Tracy and Patrick. Mack riders and myself patrol the front.
• Break disntergrates and Tracy comes back (did too much work chasing). Seegs is screaming time gaps and they hit 22 seconds. If I don’t go to work Seegs is going to shove a fire hose down my throat later! I try to bridge.
• Seegs yells at me to commit. Headwind on the front stretch is too draining and I don’t think I can get across. You choose the story plays in my head – “You can either 1) see if Jared can bridge to the leaders or 2) send Jared back to the peloton to try and enlist some horsepower for the chase.” The reader chose option two thankfully.
• Boseman tries to bridge, gets there, but has to come back.
• Ask Lorenzo how he feels. He’s okay. Asks when I want to try and break. I say 5 to go.
•Solo Mack rider keeps hitting the front with textbook soft peddeling. Gap hits 25 seconds. [b]NOTE[/b] - one rider can make a difference and this rider did.
• Lorenzo and I jump the Mack rider and go on rod & reel for 3-4 laps. Gap falls to 15 seconds. “Is no one else really going to work” he says when we hit five to go. “Pull the plug man, I’m not draggin’ them around. Kick their butts in the field sprint” was my reply.
• 3 to go sitting 10th wheel, we are flying and in turn 2 due to some bad placement of manhole covers and water barriers that were leaking water on the road, I skipped my back wheel something horrid. I touch nothing or no one, but a wreck ensues behind me. I feel bad.
• Move up in the final laps and sprint for what is left. Take 7th place and a check. Tristian beat Patrick in the sprint and they go 1,2 respectively.
• Props to Lorenzo for all his work – can’t say that we just rode around in circles today!
So several riders kept asking me when I was upgrading. Guess I’m “that guy” now huh? Well, with Geneva done, that was all I needed in terms of points. I pushed the button a few hours ago boys. It’s been fun, it’s been real. Enjoy the rest of the season and I look forward to racing with you all in the 3’s someday down the road – unless of course I miscalculated my points!