Monday, September 1, 2014

District Crit Champs - 40 - 44, Sunday, August 31st and San Francisco Giro - Masters 35+ 1/2/3s, Monday, September 1st By Matthew Sloan

"Scottie, we need more power!"

The Masters' district criterium championships were held on a flat, fast-over 30 mph at times, four corner course in Pleasanton. Its sweeping turns could safely be taken at full speed. 

There were a couple of early breakaways. I worked hard to get on one, but unfortunately, it didn't stick. Only Mike's Bikes were well represented, six or seven in all,  so without them in the break, nothing stuck. In hindsight, I did too much work bridging up to what I thought were breaks in the field. Once we got into the strong wind on the second and third straights, the field would slow up and everything would come together. A few wasted efforts on my behalf.

On the last lap Michael Jacques took a flyer. The peloton strung out. It slowed a touch in the back straight. Taking the right gutter, I went hard to get up the field. Unfortunately, I got a little boxed in. As the field sped up on the outside left of the second to last turn, I was caught on the inside. I left myself too much to do to place well but I was happy to come in on the back of the main group. I was hoping to get top twenty but managed to get 21st. I was 4th cat. 3. Dean Laberge, a national champion, won. No surprise to anyone who was in the know. I was a little disappointed until I thought about how far I had come in a year: Santa Cruz to Pleasanton - 60 miles!

Giro di San Francisco
This was an interesting, fun course. A bit of a downhill chicane-with a left hand, then right hand bumpy turn-after the start, then a 90˚ turn, into a slight-take the sting out of the legs-hill with a 90˚ turn at the top, into a long downhill stretch that flowed, into a 90˚ downhill turn, into a short downhill stretch, into another 90˚ turn, into a slightly uphill finishing straight.

I had fun in this race. There were quite a few attacks throughout but nothing stuck. Again, Mike's Bikes were well represented.  

Early on in the race, two Mike's Bikes riders were off the front with a couple of strong riders. I worked hard to bridge up. The tough thing for me was the break never got going. The two Mike's Bikes riders, who I thought would be up for it, didn't do much. After about a half lap of bridging up and a half lap of being in the break, we were caught. I felt pretty tapped, as one says, so I sat in, ate some energy gels, and recovered. I made one attack a couple of laps later but in vain. Again, I sat in and recovered. 

With three to go the field slowed. "A fine time to attack!" My friend from Mike's Bikes, John Funke, thought the same. I got energized thinking I had someone to work with. Unfortunately, John only had the gas to attack. His plan was to get caught and have another of his team mates attack the field. As we got over the hill, I left him. I was out in front for a lap, working as hard as I could, but a hungry peloton speedily ate up the gap! I was, as they say in England, creamed-cream crackered-knackered! It had been fun to have the crowd screaming me on to succeed but I just didn't have it: "We need more power, Scottie!"

A good weekend of racing, and a good lesson learned - I need more power, five to ten percent, please.  I am going to finish off the season with the Oakland crit. Unfortunately, I will miss CCCX next weekend. But I will definitely be focusing on power, power, power, and speed for these last three weeks.

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