Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ronde von Manor/Manda

Last weekend was the Ronde von Manor/Manda races. Ronde von Manor was on Saturday and Ronde von Manda was Sunday.

The Ronde von Manor course was 5 laps of the Cronometro TT course from a couple of weeks ago. I had 3 teammates with me, Jesse, Alec, and our new Minnesota transport Jason. The course was rolling with the one punchy climb that messed up my TT ride in the Cronometro. I wanted to make sure I stayed up near the front to make sure that if separation occurred over the climb I would be able to go with it. The first three laps were a series of attacks that JPB managed to put a rider in most of but nothing stuck. At the end of lap 3 a very active Mirage rider attacked yet again. The pace was getting frantic and I wanted to get control again and force some other guys to do some work so I talked the San Jose rider at the front not to bring him back. This worked through the rest of the 3rd lap and then Jason joined me at the front but nobody wanted to work including a Team Lifesize rider who refused to pull through at any point but sat on the front and disrupted any rhythm. After Jason did a pull but nobody would help and they kept putting him in the wind, I managed to get the Team Lifesize rider on the front. The Mirage rider was still up the road but in sight so when the Team Lifesize rider reached for his bottle to get a drink I attacked him hard. He didn't chase and I bridged up to the Mirage rider. We worked together halfway through the fourth lap but he was tired from being off the front (my point in sticking him out there) and I had done to much work throughout the race and we were caught a little while after the punchy climb. Going into the last lap a PACC and San Jose riders attacked. I knew at this point a breakaway wasn't likely and I'm a weak sprinter compared to my teammates so I went to the front and did a long pull to get the peleton close enough to the two break riders that they gave up. My legs were feeling the effort but I started to recover just as the entire field was neutralized and stopped as the P12 field caught and overtook us. As we sat there I could feel my legs locking up. I drank everything I had on me but when we restarted and the pace heated up as we approached the finish I couldn't stand up and could barely pedal hard without cramps seizing my legs. I finished with a pack finish and unfortunately none of the other guys were able to unleash a sprint.

Ronde von Manda was a pancake flat course but twenty mph winds made it incredibly difficult. The race started with a short headwind section followed by a right turn to a crosswind from the left. Everyone was riding in the gutter and poor positioning on my part put me near the back of the pack. I struggled to jump around riders that couldn't hold the pace till a crash created a sizable gap to the field. I chased through the rest of the crosswind portion and into the tailwind portion tailwind of the course. The field wasn't taking a break and kept the pace high and I couldn't quite close the gap. As we neared another right turn to the crosswind from the left section, the moto ref rolled up next to me and told me I should close the gap down before we got to the crosswind section or I probably wouldn't be able to close it down. "Thanks Captain Obvious!!" I couldn't respond but the comment did anger me enough to give it an extra push and get on right before the turn. I quickly decided I wasn't taking another chance sitting near the back. The field was sitting on the center line but the crosswind had a slight tailwind with it so I went up the left side of the field till I was near the front. I then worked my way over to the front right side of the field where I was perfectly protected from the wind. I stayed here through the headwind section and did very little work. My body felt great going into the second lap. As we turned right into the first crosswind section the field strung out in the gutter again. I used my cyclocross skills and rode up the right side of the field in the broken road/grass gutter behind a UT rider. We were both moving up till the UT rider dropped his front wheel in a crack and went down across the road. There was no place to go and I ran into the sprawled rider and went over the bars. Fortunately I was able to angle my fall towards the grass and managed to walk away with only minor road rash and some bruising. Unfortunately, Alec was right behind me and crashed as well ending the race for both of us.

This was the last weekend of racing for several weeks. Now is time to get some rest, focus on some quality training, and enjoy the Spring Classics.

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