Read a few featured Race Reports from 2018
One of the year's more exciting wins came from Gerry during the Wilmington 2/3 race in Delaware. Recount that win below:
"AJ and I headed out Friday afternoon to the CCNS Kermis for a 9:10pm race. Gina, Tara and Meredith headed down earlier. The plan was drive two hours to CT to race the Kermis, then get in the van and just drive on to Jersey and meet the girls at a Marriott, then continue to Deleware in the morning. We got to the hotel at 2am. Before I dive into actual bike racing, a key part of this story was a text I sent to AJ earlier in the morning:
Gerry: Second guessing Wilmington, convince me otherwise. AJ: I already signed up and need a ride AJ: This is the last big check off the box for your 1 AJ: Harden the fuck up AJ: Anything else?
The forecast was full on rain for a race 6.5 hours away. A race with 8 corners and a lot of elevation. But AJ won me over, and we rolled out of Boston around 5:30.
The Kermis was excellent and AJ and Gina owe you a race reports for their huge wins. I played a supporting roll in that show attacking and trading turns with AJ following everything that went after Cole, who was up the road for half the race. Eventually it all came together and I limped my way to 10th. Legs felt pretty heavy after that one, but oh well, that stopped bother me a couple years ago.
We leave the hotel in Jersey around 9:45 in search of breakfast, we found a baller spot but at a pretty significant cost of time. Don’t worry, AJ confirmed the feedback trainer fits in the van and I got in 15 minutes of Z1 on the way to the race. Get there, pin up, course is soaked and it’s tighter and faster than I thought. Oh well, I’m here and I historically race well in the rain. I line up in the back knowing it was a mistake. I spend the first few laps closing gaps and getting to the front. Made it, all is well. Kelly Benefit had about 7 guys in the race and were GLVing the shit out of it. They’d attack and as soon as they got caught they’d send the next guy. All race. The race was fast especially considering the rain and all the corners: 25.5mph average. My plan was to not see the wind until late In the race. I wanted to try to finish in a small group and not have to pack sprint in these conditions. With 20 minutes left in a 60 minute race, I attacked and no one came with me. I stayed out there a lap, took a prime, then went back to the field to recover. Looks like I’m sprinting from the pack...or so I thought. Kelly keeps on playing their game up until 2 laps to go then take over the front. They’re not going fast enough, but their organized. I recognize the lack of speed immediately. We’ve done it so many tines: attack all race for a break and then have nothing left for the lead out. I attack over them into the third corner on the final lap. It’s a 90 degree right into a steep downhill which bottoms out with another 90 degree right. I’m fully committed at this point. Next is another 90 degree right, a steep kicker, then a 90 degree left at the top. This is it. Kelly’s gassed and I have the legs to fly up this. The field is going to look at Kelly to do the work. Get to the top, take the left, then it’s a long long slightly downhill drag into another 90 degree right, the sketchiest corner on the course for sure. I keep the gap all the way to the corner and then sprint up the next kicker. At the top of that kicker is the final 90 degree right onto the long uphill finishing straight. I give everything’s that’s left, take a look back with 200m to go, Not.Even.Close. I bury my head for another 100m and then post up for way way too long. Honestly, I posted up so early because my legs couldnt pedal anymore...and selfish reasons of course. Hearing them yell “It’s Zipcar!” on the mic will never get old.
It’s 11:23pm, 2 more hours until we’re home. We stopped in Philly for some damn good grub on the way home and I just finished a McDonalds hot fudge sundae at the rest stop. We also cleaned up with over $1k in prize money, collectively. This trip was so worth it."
Next up is Jamie Cohen, writing about her win from the Chris Hinds 4/5 Crit from earlier this season:
"Being a #biken00b with no sprint watts, I knew to do well in this race I was going to have to get in a break and use the length of the race and the wind to my advantage. We had 21 ladies in the field so @GDShaffer and I were hoping to shed some of the less fit of the bunch early on by pushing the pace. We had decided we would try to make a break at around minute 40, the thinking being if it's a small group, 20 minutes of hard effort is still a long time; if we wait any longer, too many women in the field may feel antsy and chase, threatening probability of a successful break.
So when the official rang the bell for the first prime I looked down at my Garmin and we were 8 minutes in. @GDShaffer threw down some epic #watts to win the prime and I jumped around her -- "hop on my wheel!" I yelled to her. Two bikereg girls, a RaceCF girl and a CRCA girl followed and we had our break. 52 minutes of racing left -- not exactly our plan!
The Break: I wanted to work together with the group, but every time I took a pull and pulled through gaps were forming so I filled them in to try to ride as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In hindsight, girls were probably letting gaps form so that I would fill in and they wouldn't have to spend time on the front. But remember, #biken00b. As a result that meant I was taking almost every other pull. @GDShaffer yelled for me to go to the back of the pack and sit in. I obliged. My next time on the front, recovered from some time in the back, I pushed the gas, pulled off and flicked my elbow to let the next lady pull through. No one pulled through. I turned around and had a 4-5 bike length gap on the break. Looked down at my Garmin: 28 minutes into the race. No time to think... fuck it, i'm going! I put in a hard dig to extend the gap and put my head down to work hard.
The Solo Break: Thoughts going through my mind as I looked back and saw the chase group not far behind me: "Was this a mistake?" "How long can I hold this power?" "Should I just go back to them now?" "If I go back now I'll still have some energy left for a sprint." "Who am I kidding, I don't have a sprint, only hope is to stay away." Mike Morse was spectating just pass the finish line so I asked him for a time gap and he said 12-15 seconds. Didn't seem like much, best to keep motoring.
I caught the first field with ~8 laps to go and hopped on front. Being a #biken00b I wasn't sure if I could work with them or not, and more importantly wasn't sure how useful working with this group would be. I also wasn't sure how much of an effort the chase group was putting in, but was committed to staying away. So I sat on the front and pushed the pace. When the official said 3 laps to go I knew I was in the clear.
After the race I caught up with @GDShaffer who said the chase group wasn't organizing to chase! Another fun race in the books!"
Last but not least, we have a "How the race was won" from Matt Shaffer's winning ride at the Mansfield Madness M3/4:
"Yesterday, Ken and I got in the winning break in the 3/4 race at the Mansfield Madness crit (https://www.road-results.com/race/9840) and I got the win. Here's a report on how the race went down, and my strategy, from my perspective.
-Setting: The race was at the Stafford Springs motor speedway venue, a pancake-fat, half mile loop (see Ken's Strava here: https://www.strava.com/activities/1472104233 ... I pressed the wrong button on my watch and have zero data). The only moderately technical part is is the little chicane they add on the southeast corner of the loop, which can cause some sketchiness and an accordion effect if you're 20 wheels back. This was the 3/4 race, and I knew that Ken and I would be among the strongest riders there, but there were some very strong guys and good turnout from B2C2, ERRACE, and Butcherbox.
The temperature was mid to high 30's, and it had been very windy earlier in the day, and was moderately gusty by our race. The wind felt like it was mostly coming from the North-Northeast direction--it felt like we had a huge tailwind on the backstraight straightaway, and a brutal headwind on the northwest oval turn. Normally, I wouldn't rate the chances of a breakaway succeeding to be very high on this course, but I thought the wind could change that and play to our advantage. Going in, I knew that Ken and I would be marked at least somewhat, and on such a flat course, if we tried to launch our own breakaways, we might beat our legs to death to no benefit. I remembered how Gerry and Cole won at the Cyclocnauts Racer's Criterium last year--Gerry dangled up the road in the break, Cole was marked by the field, but dropped 1200+ watts to get clear and get a clean bridge--and thought that could be a good template for us.
The start: The field was actually pretty jumpy from the start, perhaps filled with early season energy and jitters, with quite fast early laps for a 3/4 field on such a cold and windy day. After feeling it out, I felt like it was better to be 2nd to 5th wheel and take some wind occasionally rather than to tailgun and get caught up in chicane sketchiness and the fast tailwind chase right afterwards. Ken and I both did some moderate efforts to close some gaps, but I wasn't committing to anything at that point.
The move: Ideally, I would have wanted to wait until like 16 laps to go to make my move, but about 1/3rd of the way through the race (with ~28 laps to go), there were 2 guys up the road who looked strong and who didn't seem to be coming back. I didn't know who they were, but one of them just looked strong, and the other was in a CCB kit. I ended up at the front going through the chicane, and decided to launch off the front on the back straightaway with the tailwind. My logic for launching non-sneakily off the front was that I wanted some partners to come with me, but the chicane accordion would stop the whole field from coming along. When I looked back I saw Colin Reuter, and a gap, and told him to pull through. He refused, and I debated whether to give up on an uncooperative effort or keep pulling. I decided on the latter and dug deep and got the break through the headwind and onto the next straightaway. I looked back and saw that Ken and Andrew Goodale were also with me, and we had a good gap on the field. The move got cooperating, and within one more lap, we caught the two guys up the road--Minuteman and CCB kits.
The break: The breakaway was just what you expect from any breakaway. A delicate balance of cooperation and competition. The CCB and Minuteman riders seemed strong and did their fair share in the break, Ken was taking very smooth and fast pulls and kept the group moving. I felt like Colin Reuter (B2C2) and Andrew Goodale (Butcherbox) were not pulling as hard as the rest of us, and I was trying to figure out if they were playing games or just actually on the rivet. I really wanted the break to succeed, and since Ken was in the breakaway with me, I was able to take some very riskily hard pulls. With about 15 laps (~7.5 miles) to go, we had a 30 second gap, and some of the breakaway seemed to feel content and started easing off, but I felt that the breakaway's chances were still marginal. Ken and I did more than our fair share of work in those laps. I yelled at people to pull harder--I don't like being a jerk, but also don't like losing races--and think it had a small effect. Once we got under 10 laps to go, I felt that there was not enough cooperation from B2C2 and was particularly worried about Andrew Goodale saving up for a sprint. So I attacked once with the tailwind and then got pulled back. At this point in the race, I obviously still wanted the breakaway to stay away, but I also wanted to start hurting our opponents a little. So, I kept pulling hard, but instead of taking long smooth fast pulls, I started taking shorter pulls where I would accelerate harder, particularly with the tailwind, as a way of keeping the pace fast, but keeping the breakaway partners on the rivet.
The finish: With 3 laps to go, we were still 30 seconds clear of the field, and so we started recovering and playing games. I'm not good at timing sprints, so I thought the ideal strategy would be for me to jump the field with ~1 lap to go, forcing others to chase, and allowing Ken to slingshot around them. So with 2 laps to go, I started to dangle off the back of the group. Andrew Goodale knew exactly what we were up to, though, and marked my wheel, even as I was dangling 20 meters off the main group. So, I nixed that idea and got back into the group, not sure what the revised strategy should be.
On the bell lap, coming out of the chicane, Ken made a hard move and got a little gap. With us sharing the same kit, I was able to sit up and force CCB to chase and get on his wheel. Ken's calf cramped and he pulled off, but the race was over: With the momentum I had, third wheel, I made my jump right at the center of the u-turn, at the end of the headwind section, and got a little gap and held it to the finish line.
Lessons learned: Two lessons I learned at this race: #1, Good warmup is key. Last year, I showed up to races an hour in advance, raced to get numbers pinned, and did some stupid sprints in the parking lot, and, as a result, would feel like I was on my back foot for the first 20 minutes of the race. This race, I got a full, structured 45-minute warmup on the trainer, and felt way more confident and in control from the start of the race than I ever have. #2, Breakaways are hard: if they weren't, they wouldn't be a breakaway. One of the best things I did as a Cat 3 last year was to race lots of elite races and even try to get in breaks in them, to learn just how hard you can go. I learned that the breakaway is not the smooth steady tempo effort we want it to be. To stay away, you'll all have to be stepping back and forth over the red line over and over. And maybe you need to yell at each other a little. If the break succeeds and stays away and snaps up all the points, you'll all love each other by the end anyways."
Great year for GLV in 2018, looking forward to even more wins, race reports, and highlights for 2019!