In an effort to gain a little more crit experience (this grasshopper is still learning the finer points of short course racing), I decided to join Knapp and Pendlebury out in Indiana over the weekend for the I *heart* Goshen Criterium. Mild temps and abundant sun made for some good conditions on a fun course that included a 180 hairpin turn; there was some head/cross wind on the back side of the course but nothing too serious.
May 5, 2013 Cone Azalia
7 laps of 10.1 mile course. 4 miles of dirt.
Sun and 68 degree. Medium wind out of the east
Team Panther showed to Michigan’s version of Paris-Roubaix with a strong squad. The cross winds and the potholed dirt roads would certainly play a role in deciding the race. The winner would be a hard man. I flatted after only 7 miles. I hit a particularly square cornered pothole and pinch flatted. I had my rear wheel off already as the wheel truck slammed on the brakes. I tossed a new wheel in and and got rolling again, and was quickly paced back to the field. Probably the best wheel change of my life.
While I was fixing my mechanical Sven Bauman had slipped off the front solo. It was pretty early in the race for a bold solo move, but if someone could do it, it’d be Sven. At this point it was time to start racing aggressive. Panther started sending guys up the road. Nothing was really sticking. I waited for a few attacks to come back and then I made my move. I attacked into the head wind home straight and got a pretty decent gap quickly. I pushed on and rode solo for 8 miles, but was eventually caught.
More attacks went as the field was dwindling because of flats and a hard pace and no place to hide from the cross winds. A group of 4 riders went and were able to make a sustainable gap. Panther had only one rider in the break. Paul said “we need another ride up there, Martin, GO.” I went, but couldn’t complete the bridge and I was reeled back in. I rested in the wheels for a minute or two and hit it again into the head wind. This time I was able to make it across. When I got to the group up the road, most teams in the race were represented. I thought it was going to be the move that stuck, but there was some serious dysfunction and several riders didn’t want to pull.
That group of 6 was brought back and more attacks went. But everything was brought back together by a train at the railroad crossing. The whole group was stopped, everyone could catch their breath and only 8 miles remained in the race. The Panther boys kept it aggressive leading into the finish, keeping the other teams on their toes and forcing them to chase. The remainder of the field sprinted and Panther was able to get four in the top 10, with Paul Martin in third.
- Martin Vecchio
Saturday’s event Race at the Lake saw Paul Martin jump into an early group, joined later by Kirk Albers, but not before Cruikshank and Quinlan had established a gap from that group. A slow grinding chase brought it back together with ten laps to go, a further reshuffling and it was five riders coming into the finish, Paul Martin on top, Kirk Albers in third.
Coming out of a seemingly endless winter in our area of the country, Joe Martin was the first test for our legs at the NRC level in the 2013 season. However, minimal racing leading into JMSR, we did have fresh legs on our side.
The opening stage was the Devils Den Time Trial, a 2.5 mile uphill jaunt that takes under 10 minutes. Short, but certainly long enough to inflict plenty of pain on one’s self. All of the Panther/ Bakehouse riders rode respectively with Andy Seitz being the team’s best finisher in the top 25% of the high quality field. Continue Reading »
Saturday saw the first Race at the Lake of the season, and the first time I’d been free on a Saturday to have a go at it. Flurries and wind made the conditions less than friendly, but the turn out was good regardless and i lined up with Paul, Andy, Jeff, and Johnathan.
The first few laps saw the usual flurry of early activity, and after having a go at getting away without much success, Atwell countered and got off with three others. Shortly after Andy bridged, followed a lap later by Paul and Jeff with a few others. I tried to bridge clean as well, but the field insisted on coming.
Continue Reading »
I did some training this weekend that involved riding from Bloomington up to Indy (65 miles) to race some local 60-min. crits at Eagle Creek Park both afternoons, then hitching a car-ride home with a friend. The weather was pretty nice with mostly favorable winds (W and S), and the goal was to simulate some racing intensity on already tired legs and get in 4-5 hours of riding each day
Continue Reading »
We had a decently fast start. Since we had a strong presence we figured we’d try and stack the move – no less than 2 of us in anything that gets any distance.
Coming through the long uphill headwind drag I attacked in the gutter and just put my head down and laid into it for about a minute and initiated the move. At that point it was just myself and one other rider. Eventually Paul, Dan Quinlan, and another rider bridged up.
The 5 of us continued to roll steady and quick. On the back third of the course in the heavy cross wind section Martin and another rider bridged up to us. Having 3 of 7 was good.
Jeff Pendlebury and I headed to Mt. Morris in southwestern PA for our first race of the year, a 50 mile road race with three pretty good climbs. We knew it was going to be a tough day as there 8 riders from the Kelly Benefits team from Maryland and lots of riders from DC and Virginia who haven’t been training in snow for the past few weeks.
With the climbs coming on the second half of the course and without a big team we decided to save our matches and not try to follow every breakaway. Coming into the first major climb Jeff and I moved to the front of the field but my climbing legs were not ready to bridge across to the break on the steep part of the climb. As the road turned into a false flat I started to feel better and made a move to get across to the break, coming within 15 to 20 seconds. However with several Kelly Benefit riders up front, Jeff and I didn’t get much help chasing except from a strong Cleveland Brothers/Caterpillar rider even with the field split apart and the break in sight just ahead of us.
Over the next two climbs we couldn’t close the gap and we rolled in about a minute down on the break. I finished 13th and Jeff 25th, good training and motivation to get on it hard in the next few weeks.
- Paul Martin
The last couple years I have always suffered at the hands of the Marian course and this year was no different. Thankfully, I had two incredible teammates (Knapp and Atwell) who were much more ready than I was.
Even though I got off to a slow start in the 100+ ride field, I started to feel better and started to help the team to the best of my ability. We pulled a couple breaks back, we countered a couple moves, Atwell countered himself, but eventually we all knew it was going to come down to a field sprint.
March 23 Del Ray Twilight Crit
80km on a .62 mile circuit – 8:30pm start time
This race was part of the big USAcrits series of races. Downtown Del Ray Beach was packed this warm saturday night. The race was definitely a spectacle for the rowdy fans and the bar goers that lined the street.
The course was dark. Some of the corners were tight and I was hanging in the back of the race to get used to the course and trying to keep safe for a while. In the first 15 mins of racing I saw now less than 4 crashes. Some of them wild and spectacular. One guy, I think riding not even near others, crashed into the barriers and clobbered a fan who cinematically launched his popcorn in the air.