Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hugo RR 45+

Hugo Road Race: Race Results and Report, May 30, 2009

Team members: Burt Henry, John Talley, Joe Paulson
Author: Burt Henry

It was hot and sunny for the 78 mile classic Hugo RR today. This race usually breaks up due to the wind, but it wasn't very windy today. Nobody was quite acclimated to the heat yet.

The Vic's boys essentially did nothing aggressive for the first 50 miles of this race. At this point our field of around 40 was down to about 30. Attacks then started coming pretty frequently. With maybe 25 miles left I countered one for my first attempt, and then when we were caught, Joe countered.

All 3 of us did a good job marking attacks and not being complacent. After the last turn home, when we had about 20 miles left, the attacks began in earnest. We had a slight quartering tailwind from the left for the last stretch.

I make one really strong attack with about 15 miles left. I drew up Bruce Hodgkins and Jim Dickerson. We were away for a couple of miles, and then a group of 3-4 came up marked by Talley. We couldn't get organized and got caught.

With less than 10 miles to go, a rider in a red kit snuck away with no fanfare. I looked around and saw Mike Williams, the rider who won Deer Trail, was still in the field so I didn't think much of it. Joe and Bill Kellegher jumped hard but it was chased down. At this point Dickerson rolled off the front. I was having a bad stretch and Talley was riding near the front, but he had told me he was fighting cramps. Joe had just been pulled back.

I thought this might be the race, so I hit it hard on a hill to bridge up and my left calf/hammie seized up. I then went back into the field and finished what was left of my 5th bottle. Kellegher then asked me if I wanted to go with him up the road, and I gave it a go again. While pulling through on a hill it happened again, so I decided to sit in and try to stretch and recover. There were only a few miles to go at this point.

Later we crested the last hill which was maybe 2k downhill followed by 150 meters uphill to the finish. The break of 2 was maybe 200-300 meters ahead. Kellegher was leading the chase followed by Bob Pinkerton, and then Talley and Joe were next. I surged up the left and laid down on the top tube to gain speed. This allowed me to totally rest, and I inserted myself in front of Joe. We were down to about 15-16 at this point.

With about 10 miles to go, I had talked to Joe and Talley and confirmed that we all had an 11 cog. At this point we were going fast but it did not seem all out. As we got closer to 1k I yelled at Talley to go if he could, but he stayed on 2 VC riders. We were fanned out slightly to the left. At just around a K or so, the Mix riders were coming up on our left and I was afraid we were about to get swarmed. I yelled again at John to try to give it a go and he hit the front hard. Pinkerton jumped over to try to get on Talley's wheel and I leaned over and said "no Bob" as I stayed tight on Talley.

Up ahead the break was getting closer and fast. Talley, cramps and all, was bringing it back! I pulled through with maybe 400 meters to go and drilled it seated in the 11. At the bottom of the hill I got out of the saddle and jumped hard to keep my speed. I had to be going 40+, and hitting it with so much momentum, I didn't slow down at all on the uphill. The break was coming back super fast but the finish was coming up fast!

With about 30 meters to go it was apparent we couldn't get them. I passed the 2 riders 10-15 meters after the finish. I glanced back and I had gapped about 10 meters to the next riders. Pinkerton and Joe had been in a battle for my wheel and Joe had gotten gapped. He recovered, but was pipped on the line for 4th by Hendrik Peterson, a rider who had done nothing of note all day until now.

In the 2 up sprint for the win, Dickerson beat Mike Williams. I'm still learning the players, and I had thought Williams' teammate was him.

So the team finished with a 3rd and 5th. It was disappointing to be so close, but it was a fantastic day of racing. We all pushed ourselves and worked very hard. I'm having a blast with mass start racing again, and am rediscovering my dormant fast twitch muscles. It's great to race with team players. It would have been easy for Talley to race for himself and to sit in to get a top 5 with no chance to get the win, but he drilled it and sacrificed his placing. It almost helped get Vic's the win.

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