Monday, April 26, 2010

Domestique Violence

Well, I am back home in Canada.  The Vance Creek Classic was a good race, one that I would certainly like another crack at.  I would like to express my gratitude to our housing-host.  Thanks David.

After missing out on Tour of Walla Walla, Team Westwood/Cannondle made a last minute entry to the Vance Creek Classic.  At 150km this race was a right proper length.  The terrain had some of everything.  A steady climb capped of with a steep punch,  a screamin' downhill, and some narrow rough farm roads subject to strong winds.  The team for the race consisted of, Sam, Mike, Ryan, Scott, and myself.

The purpose of Racing is always to win.  However in a race additional purposes may also be served.  No one on our Team had ever done this race, and the short notice entry meant that no one was "targeting" this race.  So in addition to results, Scott discussed some additional objectives for this race.

Objective one, race as a team not as 5 individuals.  To help accomplish this Scott gave some specific direction and purpose.

Sam is a first year Espoir and has never raced this kind of distance.  Ryan has had difficulties with the intensities at the end of long races like this. 

 Objective two, was to ensure that Sam and Ryan finish the Race.  As a team we sould employ strategies to try and ensure this.

I was to try for the early breakaway.  It is important to have representation in an early breakaway because this allows your team mates to shelter themselves in the pack while other teams will be forced to chase.  Mike was also to watch for moves that would go in the first quarter of the race.  The plan was that the efforts of Mike and I would allow Sam and Ryan to shelter in the pack so that they could race more aggressively in the last 40km.

The first 15km were very aggressive.  All of the teams would like to be represented in an early breakaway, but if the break is too large then it is a threat to the favorites.  There are many attacks, I cover anything and everything that I can.  Eventually a two man breakaway forms, the pack accepts this and the pace slows.  Unfortunately I am not in the break.

There is no need to panic.  There are a couple riders from a couple teams keeping things rolling at the front.  The advantage of the breakaway grows but it is under control.  For now the team can just chill.  We will try the waiting game.  With a small break of the front it is much like a staring contest in the bunch and we hope that another team will blink and start chasing.

With over half the race gone by the breakaway is at a 4 min advantage.  Then the pace of the peleton hits a stand still.  No one is riding tempo and we begin to crawl along at 25km/hr.  It is decided that this has gone too far.  We Blink.

 As a Team we missed the early break.  So as a Team we take responsibility for the race.  Team Westwood/Cannondale is at the front forcing the chase.  We are cruising along at a cool 45km/hr.  At the start of the climb we are still forcing the pace, the gap is coming down.  Scott warns that we will be attacked near the top of the climb, not to panic, and that this is it.  So I tell Mike to sit on and try to rest for a moment.

We are attacked.  The pack blows into three groups and the 2 man break is caught at the top of the climb.  There is now a lead group, a chase group and the peleton.  Mike has gotten into the chase group, the rest of us are in the peloton.  The pace is still very aggressive.  We sit on, and hope that Mike`s chase group will catch to the lead group.  However there are riders in the peloton that are not happy with the situation.  They are chasing hard and catch to Mikes chase group.

There is a very dangerous Break off the front and the entire team now in the peloton, these are desperate times.  We try to reorganize at the front,  the gap hovers just over 30 sec for the next lap and a half.  However there are repeated bridge attempts that disrupt the fluidity of our chase.  These attacks are very wearing on us and we can no longer sustain our high pace.  With 20km left in the race it has become futile and Scott calls me off.  I am shattered.  We finish the race, Mike places well in the bunch sprint.

We did not win, but Team Westwood/Cannondale did allot of good things in this race.  We know we are capable of riding as a team, and with more practice we will be able to grab a race by the horns and make it what we want.  We took responsibility for the race.  Racing with responsibility and purpose is the professional thing to do.  If we can race like professionals then we will get results like professionals.

Next weekend Team Westwood/Cannondale p/b Vision Sports will be at Race the Ridge in pitt Meadows.

 Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

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