Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Gapers Block Crit Series

I decided that I would try and ride all of the Gapers Block Crits put on by Half Acre, since I only worked 2 blocks from the Park. I would be a fool not to.

Day 1, well the goal of today was to just hang in the pack and see how the legs were going to react. I should have known that there would be a massive attack as soon as the whistle blew. I was in no way ready for that. All the training I have been doing has been base for the most part. I still managed to stay with the pack and coasted in to the finish for a top 20.

Day 2, I felt better today, and I knew that the first lap attack would be covered immediately. To my surprise, they waited untill the 3rd lap. When it happened, the field split with 15-20 riders making the split. I was not one of them. I did do some work in the front for a lap or so, then just sat in the field being sheltered by the wind. In the last lap, I took an inside line and was sitting around 4th as the field started to ramp up for the finish. I was able to make my way into 2nd position at the turn where I was able to pass that rider and won the field sprint. That was for 16th place. (Note, do not sprint in the 53/11, it looked good but didn’t get any speed)

Day 3, today is a good day. I felt good. The legs are starting to come back and the accelerations were not hurting as much. I received some good advice before the race from someone I respect. Basically, sit in the top 6 to 10 positions until the end and not to do so much work. Well, I stayed in the top 10, but I did way to much work. I reeled in a few brakes and pulled on the front more than I should have. In the 2nd from last lap, we had a solo rider go off the front, but I already burned all but one match so I didn’t chase. I was hoping that the field would drag him back, but they ended up slowing down. On the last lap, I wanted to be on the inside sheltered from the wind, but that didn’t happen. I ended up on the outside and fighting the wind as we all ramped up the speed. As the field strung out, I was able to work my way in to 7th from the front. We were now single file and going into the corner. I made it around one rider, but didn’t have the legs to really open up, so I ended up in 7th place. (Note, the one who does most of the work usually doesn’t take the win.)

Day 4, it was too cold and windy for me. LOL, I sat this one out. Those guys must be crazy. ;-)

Day 5, it’s the last night and there are not as many riders. I guess they are resting for the races this weekend. I already put it in my head that I was going to sit in and do no work on the front unless it was absolutely necessary. That’s when Adam Herndon, from XXX, made a huge acceleration off the line, and I wasn’t going to let him go. As we started into the wind on the back side, I looked back and we had gotten a good gap on the field, but I was in no mood to hold off the pelaton for 30min. I knew that some teams were going to be really working hard for the win on the last night. I told Adam that I wasn’t going to go for it, so he really had no choice but to let the pack get us. As the race went on, I did exactly what I planned, sit in the top 8 riders and cover all the big moves that came. With 2 laps to go, I started to move myself into the spot I wanted on the inside in 4th or 5th. The field was kind of hesitant to do anything, since no one wanted to start the lead out. On the last lap, I was sitting in a good spot. I’m on the inside with plenty of room to make a move. That’s when the field went in to sprint mode. A rider made a move, and I was able to get on his train on the inside next to the curb. I’m now sitting 5th. I have two riders in front of me, with two more riders sitting to my right just in front of me. We had about 75 meter till the turn when Teodoro Ramos from Iron Cycles came flying in on the inside. There was really no room, but he mad a nice shoulder dip away from me but we still bumped pretty good. I saw him take a look back, and I knew this was the move that I was waiting for. He made a huge acceleration to the front and I was right on his wheel. As we entered the last corner, we were sitting 1-2 with me on his wheel. He was still building speed, so I had to launch as soon as the bike came upright out of the corner. I was able to come up to the side of him as we were flying to the finish line. At this point, it was either of us to win or lose. At the last second I threw my bike at the line and took the win by a foot or so. That is my first win in cycling, so I was very happy. I only hope that this is a sign of things to come.

Bob Murray