This week was a Sprint Week. Since it is also Thanksgiving week, the B Ride got moved from Thursday to Monday. My team was Kirk, Alvin, Lindsay and me. Bill gave a great race recap, below. Lindsay was a last minute replacement and her first time out. She got dropped at the beginning. All the extra time the Gunners got last week (~21 minutes) was given up last night. But, that’s really a function of replacements and schedule issues. The week totals are below. I was feeling pretty good and stayed with the Pack.
I got a sprint point for 3rd place. I also got a 3rd place finish last night, which I’m particularly proud of.
Bill’s B Ride Recap
This was a sprint stage with a notable, but not severe, climb right in the middle of the stage. The intermediate sprint point occurred at Mile 16.00, just after the descent off that day’s climb.
Most of the riders got off strongly and stayed together as a group through the climb. Lindsay, new to the series, was somewhat surprised by the speed of the start and got dropped almost immediately, finishing the stage on her own. Scott got dropped on the climb, while the rest of the group (Eugene, Allison, Joe, Kirk, Trevor & Alvin) all stayed together to the top of the climb. While the group did stay together through this point, there was no shortage of surges and chasing, as riders tested each other’s legs.
On the way down off the day’s climb, there was another surge, and Joe, Alvin, Kirk & Trevor got away from Allison & Eugene, leaving them to finish the stage together. This group stayed together through the end of the stage. However, they also engaged in a lot of surging as they positioned themselves for the intermediate sprint and the finish. In the intermediate sprint, Kirk was able to pull away from the group and finished first, followed by Trevor & Joe.
On the run in to the line from there, Joe, Kirk & Alvin, all being on the “Where’s My Gun?” squad, made some lightly coordinated attempts to attack Trevor and put him at a disadvantage, but Trevor’s counterattacks put them off their tactics enough that Trevor was able to stay with them and keep his power dry enough for the finish.
At the finish, Trevor went early (encouraged by Scott), and was barely able to hold on through the end, taking the win over Kirk, Joe and Alvin (in that order).
Overall, the Pedal Pushers made up virtually all the time they lost last week, and now trail Where’s My Gun by only 20 seconds. Kirk and Trevor are tied for the sprint point lead with 11 (until Wednesday night). The question now becomes how the “C” and “A” squads will stack up, and if the Pedal Pushers will be able to surge into the overall lead this week, or will drop back again. Time will tell.
C Team Report
This was the same sprint stage as yesterday. This race also started with a rush, and Lynda got popped off the back, finishing the day solo. However, she kept strong and, in the end, only lost about a minute to Nicole.
After a short period with the rest of the group together, the men separated from the women, forming two groups: Hank, Bob, Luis and GT in the front group, and Deanna, Nicole and Cheryll in the second group.
After the separation, the two groups settled into a pace, with a few surges and demi-attacks to liven things up. Luis then attacked like a fiend on the climb, getting away as far as 400 feet. However, Hank and Bob worked together and gradually brought him back on the descent. That groups stayed together again until shortly before the sprint point, at which time GT attacked and took the sprint honors, followed by Luis and Hank. Shortly thereafter, that group came back together again, and stayed together until close to the finish. Luis attacked again about two miles out, and once again Hank & Bob brought him back with less than a mile to go. There was then a fast run-in to the finish. GT kept smart and positioned himself well, winning the final sprint and the 20 bonus seconds as well. Hank held on for second, just ahead of Luis, with Bob a second back.
Meanwhile, the ladies were having their own battle, and Cheryll managed to get away from Deanna and Nicole with less than 10 miles to go. The decision was made for Deanna to chase Cheryll, and the two see-sawed back and forth for miles. Cheryll managed to stay more than 100 feet ahead, but the lead got bigger and smaller, with Deanna never giving up. Finally, after a long chase, she finally caught Cheryll, setting up a game of cat and mouse over the last couple of miles. Deanna made her break for the line with about 400 yards to go and grew her lead to the flag, finishing 5 seconds ahead of Cheryll.
Behind them, Nicole held her pace and Lynda hung tough, with Nicole coming in about 1.5 minutes behind Cheryll and Lynda a minute behind her.
Overall, the standings are still a virtual dead heat. After last night, Where’s My Gun held a lead of about 20 seconds. Aftertonight, the Pedal Pushers changed that to a lead of 33 seconds. In the sprint points, GT picked up 5, with 3 going to Luis and 1 to Hank.
Tomorrow night is the “A” race, then we go dark for the Holiday. If the team managers so decree, there may be a “getting acquainted” race on Monday night, followed by TTTs for the “A”, “B” and “C” squads the following three nights. Much fireworks to come!
A Group Recap
This one was a bit of a barn burner. The same course was used as prior nights, along with the same intermediate sprint point.
Once again, the race started with a huge surge which lasted for about 2 minutes. At the end of that surge, Gregg had been dropped and a group of seven others had formed. The seven were Ben, Bill, Bryan, Jason, Tyler, Jeff and Jonathan. It didn’t take too long before Ben moved off the front, and hovered there for a bit a short distance ahead, waiting to see if anyone else would take the bait. Bill was the only taker, making a big move to try to bridge the gap. But he ran out of steam with the gap under 100 feet and couldn’t complete the move, falling back into the clutches of the pack. As soon as Bill pulled the plug on his attempted move, Ben surged again, moving off to a solo effort which took him through the rest of the stage.
A group of six formed behind Ben, who was slowly increasing the gap. The six were Jason, Tyler, Jonathan, Jeff, Bill & Bryan. Since Bryan’s team had Ben off the front and Allen’s team had Gregg off the back, Bryan, Jeff and Bill settled into a evening of sitting on, letting Tyler, Jason & Jonathan do the work of trying to bring Ben back.
As the stage wore on, there were a few attempted surges out of that group, especially on the climb of the day and the descent off it, but they were halfhearted and nothing stuck. So, coming into the intermediate sprint point, all six riders were still together. Ben had already passed, taking the 1st place points, so only the points for 2nd and 3rd places were available. There was a fair amount of jockeying for position which took place, until Tyler made a move coming into the line, was passed by Bill, then sat on until the right moment to pass Bill to take the 2nd place points while Bill got 3rd.
After the intermediate sprint, the group of six re-formed and continued on toward the line. As they got closer to the line, there were more attempts by Tyler and/or Jason to break off the front, and on one of those surges Jonathan got popped off, with Jeff stuck behind him. As a result, those two ended up staying together to the line in a sub-group behind the main group of four.
Those four continued to jockey for position, with Bill & Bryan having the advantage sitting on while Jason and Tyler went after Ben. Ben was weakening in the final stages of the race, and the chase group was able to make substantial inroads into his lead. When Ben crossed the line, the lead was down to a little over 30 seconds. Once again, a sprint went out of the chase group. In this sprint, however, Tyler went first with Bill on his wheel, enabling Bill to come around him about 50 yards from the finish and take 2nd place 30 seconds behind Ben. Tyler held on for 3rd, while Jason nipped Bryan for 4th.
As Jonathan and Jeff came to the line, Jonathan went early and set Jeff up for a huge surge in which he sailed past and claimed an easy 6th place. Jonathan was a couple of seconds back in 7th, and Gregg worked like a madman to hold his gap down to an additional 10 minutes.
So, in the overall, Where’s My Gun reasserted their lead over the Pedal Pushers, taking it out to about 10 minutes. In the individual race, Ben leads at 1:41:58; Bill is 2nd at 1:42:47 and Jeff is 3rd at 1:44:52. In the sprint competition, Ben hold first with 20 points, while Trevor and Kirk are tied for 2nd with 11 points each.
Next week the “A”, “B” and “C” groups will be doing the TTT. The course will be announced shortly. There will be no KOM or sprint points for this stage, nor will there be bonus seconds at the line. On Monday night there will be a non-points race for two new race squads which each team has put together. This race will enable the new squads to get acquainted with the setup and how things work. The TTT uses a different piece of software than you will see for any other stage, as the two squads will be racing side-by-side, able to draft only off their own team members. TTT have historically been some of the most intense stages we have, so it promises to be an intense sort of fun. There will be no drag advantage offered for TT bikes in the TTT.
Thanks to all the racers, and have a wonderful holiday!