Sunday, April 25, 2010

45+ Groove Subaru Spring Criterium

Uphill; Downhill

Joe Paulson, Bill Simmons, and John Talley came out on a moderately chilly and breezy spring morning to fly the Vic's Espresso/Peerless Tire colors with approximately 50 other racers on the up and down criterium course just outside of Golden. Feeling rather outnumbered by several other teams, the boys planned to ride conservatively for the first half of the 50 minute race, and then try to lead out JT on the final lap if it came down to a field sprint. However, recalling the immediate four man break that stayed away the entire race the previous weekend in Louisville, they knew they needed to stay attentive to threatening breaks.

Like a re-run of a bad movie, once again a break disappeared up the road almost immediately. The good news: it was a solo rider. Who could stay away against those headwinds for 45 more minutes. The bad news: it turned out to be Todd Robertson, a member of the previous week's winning move, and the individual time trial winner at Haystack in the 35+ category (no, that's not a typo). Several riders made stabs off the front to try to chase him down, including Jimi Gibson and Rod Yoder. The boys covered the serious looking moves, until Joe found himself up the road with Jimi and another rider. They were able to close some of the distance to the solo leader, but could not bring the gap down below 25 seconds. The field started to close back in, but a bridge move brought five additional riders up, including Rod Yoder and Bill Kellagher from Vitamin Cottage. With most of the major teams now represented up front, Bill and JT were able to work with the teammates of Joe's companions to shut the pursuit down.

With eight laps to go, JT hit one of the recessed manhole covers littering the course, breaking a wheel and cranking his handlebars over so his brakes locked up, bringing him to a very abrupt halt. With no free laps remaining, JT's race ended early.

Meanwhile, with eight riders now chasing off the front, the leader should have been in jeopardy, but the cooperation in the group disappeared as single riders kept attacking, and Joe kept chasing back to them with the others in tow. Joe refused to respond to yet another Jimi move, and he rolled away from the group. On the last lap, Joe got on Bob Dahl's wheel, but they caught an elite women's group (racing at the same time) in the final corner, and in the confusion Joe got gapped. Another rider who Joe hadn't seen the entire break came by with fresh legs, and Joe settled for 5th. The field sprint for 10th was getting hairy, so Bill backed off to live another day, but still claimed a top 20 finish.

The Vic's boys then pulled off their 45+ numbers, grabbed some quick food and drink, and lined up with their 35+ teammates for another 60 minutes of fun!

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