July 30, 2010

Malliot Jaune / Le Champion Pave

This past weekend Kirk and I participated in a couple races in the
Flint, MI area. Satuday was the Malliot Jaune road race in Fenton and
Sunday the Le Champion Pave criterium in downtown Flint.  Saturday’s
road race got off to a rather wet start, but despite the ominous
looking radar the conditions turned out to be pretty nice: just wet
enough to keep things cool but not enough to get you soaked.  The
first third or so of the race was the typical attack, chase, repeat
drill with nothing getting more that a handful of seconds over the
field.  During a lull in the pace, local MTB stud Mike Simonson got
off the front alone…riding on his mountain bike. Granted, it was a
rigid 29er, but still, it was a mountain bike.  The heckling from the
course marshalls was more that I could take, so I attacked on the
biggest hill of the course and bridged up.  I rode with Mike for a bit
before riders from Bissel (Nate Williama) and Priority Health (Andrew
Florian) made it across, forming a solid breakaway.  We got within a
handful of seconds of getting caught at one point, but a few rounds of
extra hard pulls by everyone in the break was enough to demorliize the
chase.  Simonson impresively hung in for quite a while before going
back to the field, even doing his share of the work.  Did I mention
that he was running knobby tires too?

Coming in the finish, Andrew attacked and I countered hoping to drop
the other two in the process. Nate was able to stay on my wheel, and
we slowed way down after that with neither wanting to lead out the
sprint. Eventually I ended up jumping on a small rise before the fast
downhill sprint and was able to get enough of a gap to hold Nate off
until the finish. Kirk also escaped from the field late in the final
lap to take 4th, putting both of us in a position to win the
super-secret ninja omnium which was in place for the two races (there
was buzz about there being an omnium, but no one knew how much it paid
or how deep).

Sunday’s crit in downtown Flint (it’s nicer than you might think, by
the way) featured a long straightaway on bricks, which is always the
sort of thing I enjoy racing on. Great production for a first year
race, and I really hope that it takes off and becomes a big event.
Again the racing started out with lots of short lived attacks. I tried
covering as many of them as possible, while meanwhile KIrk waited for
the right moment to pounce.  When he did go about halfway through the
race, it was lights out for the field. The break of five that formed
was out of sight in no time.  Kirk attacked the break with two laps to
go and was narrowly beaten out by Derek Graham of Bissel.  Meanwhile,
I attacked the field with half a lap to go and managed to stay away
for 6th place.  Our finishes both days put us 1-2 in the super secret
ninja omnium (which turned out to have a pretty good payout, 3 deep),
with Kirk taking the top spot.

-Greg Christian