Race Report and Results: Louisville Criterium, Louisville, CO - Vic's Espresso
Team Members: Barry Messmer, Steve Worley, Randy Gaffney, Burt Henry, Joe Paulson, John Talley
Author: Burt Henry
The Len plan for today was no protected riders, cover every break, and if it didn't break apart try to line me/Joe up for the finish. If we let a rider away, Joe and/or I could bridge. No sitting in today. We has less firepower than last week and all needed to work. Randy admittedly wasn't feeling well. We weren't going to set up the full train like last week.
The race was aggressive right away. Numerous attacks went away. Barry and Steve were particularly active early, Nothing got more than 10 seconds though. I think Steve snagged 2 primes. We were in every break.
Later in the race Forrest Newman, a dangerous rider, got away but Worley marked it. Inside of 5 to go I got on Worley's wheel. He was fighting hard to keep us up front. This is gonna be a sprint and I had told Steve that if he could lead me through the last turn and another 100 meters I think I could take it. With Joe was on my wheel I think it would be a done deal.
A couple of laps later (the lap/time counter for this race was hard to follow) 2 riders got away and Joe jumped across to them. Coming around the next to last lap, riders were jockeying for position. Steve had done so much work during the race I couldn't imagine he could have had alot left.
Up the hill to the bell lap, a Mix rider (they had no one in the break) jumped hard to get across to the break. I was near the front but without Steve. I hesitated for an instant then jumped hard to get up to his wheel. I got on through the start/finish and he led me down the hill. Joe's group had maybe 50 meters at this point and the hard charging field was 30-40 meters behind us.
I took over before the turn and at this point I thought "Crap, we are going to catch Joe's group right as the field catches us." That's what happened less than 100 meters after the turn. I had 2 option. Slow and force someone in front of me, and then I could accelerate back on, or drill it. I chose to drill it. I didn't trust my restart snap.
I had done alot of work in the race and the last jump to the Mix rider had me on the red line. I started out seated hard and then jumped out of the saddle and punched it from probably 300M. Uphill. Turning into the wind. I could see a rider on my wheel and it wasn't Joe. When we had approached Joe's group I saw him glance back. I yelled to him as I got close but doubted he could accelerate onto the front of the train.
I was committed now and it felt like the longest(and perhaps slowest) sprint of my life. With less than 100M to go the rider on my wheel lunged around and got a wheel on me. I felt I was slowing. It stayed that way to the line. Lost by a half wheel.
Joe later told me he did little work in the break and was able to punch back up to finish 6th. Talley, Worley, and Messmer finished in the field.
Speaking with Len today he offered insight into how I could have played the last 2 lap scenario differently. He also suggested I hang a pacifier from the rear of my saddle!