Tour de Rock – Week 6 – Talladega Scenic Parkway

20 miles, 1600 ft climbing. 1:13 competition time.

This was a hard course. I had a good start with the pack. When the Sprint section came up, I was feeling pretty good. I pushed the power and kept sling-shotting by Amy, Allison, Alvin, Bill, and Mike. I took #1! Wahoo! Bryan wrote a great B Group Race Report. See below. The climbs were a whole ‘nother story. I held on to the group for 2/3 of the ride. Amy and I mooched off Allison’s climbing ability. Then Scott rolled us up and I couldn’t hang on much longer. Eventually I fell off the pack on the last climb. Super fun. Since Thursday is New Years Eve, the B Group chose to ride on Wednesday right after the A Group. It was fun to watch the Big Gun slam it out before we took our turn.

Sprint                8.0 miles (it’s about 1/3 mile before the real climbing starts) 
Cat 3 climb        9.66 miles (it’s the top of the first hill) 
Cat 1 climb        14.32 miles (it’s the end of the first long climb) 
Cat 2 climb        The finish line

A Group Pics. Jason, Jonathan, Ben, Bryan, Peter

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Tyler (already done and off bike), Jeff, TJ.

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B Group. Amy, Joe, MikeW, Alvin, Bill, Jaime. Back Allison, Scott

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Bryan and Alvin ‘discussing’ strategy

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Amy celebrating a hard fought ride!

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Bryan’s Race Report – B Group – Thursday 7.30pm

At the start of the night I believe the Gunners had an 8 minute lead on the Pushers. After the Gunners A group put a 30 minute and 11 second gap into the Pushers, that gave the Gunners B group a lead of 38 minutes and 11 seconds going into the race. Riding for the Gunners was Bill, Alvin, Amy, and Joe. Riding for the Pushers was Mike, Allison, Scott, and Jaime. The course was 20 miles with a Sprint at mile 8 and 2 KOM’s at 9.66 and 14.32. On to the race.

The Start
At the start of the race everyone stayed together through the early flat sections with everyone taking turns at the front. I can’t quite remember when Jaime fell off the back(I did not know I was going to be asked to write a report until after the race) but I believe it was during one of the short 4-5% grade hills. A few minutes later Scott fell about 70 feet off the draft zone and I started yelling to my team to pick up the pace, but Scott fought hard and was able to get on. About a minute later he fell off again and fell back with Jaime and they started to work together. Don’t know if Scott lost track of where he was because he stays in aero position the whole time, or if the push was too great at that time. Jonathan stayed and watched and we were commenting on all of Amy’s grunting during the early stage of the race and were thinking that it might be bad news for her later on. So the 6 riders in the front were coming to the sprint at mile 8 and I was keeping a close eye on Bill’s screen because he is the master of setting himself up for a shot at first. The pace picked up with about .2 miles until the sprint, I believe it was Bill, Mike, and Alvin looking like they were going to take first but out of nowhere Joe crosses first and throws his hands up and yells “I got it.” Very impressive Joe, 2nd was Bill, and 3rd was Mike. All 6 riders managed to stay together until the start of the climbs.

The Climbs
Everyone stayed together for the first half of the climb, then Bill started to put some surges in until one would stick. Eventually one stuck and he brought Alvin and Mike along. Jonathan and I had noticed that Alvin seemed so smooth riding at about a 40 cadence the whole time. So there was 3 groups on the first climb with Bill, Alvin, and Mike, then Amy, Joe, and Allison, and last was Scott and Jaime. Once Scott and Jaime got to the first climb it wasn’t long before Scott started to pull ahead because of this lighter weight and Amy not feeding the starving Jaime. Coming up on the first KOM(CAT 3) it was Bill who was strongest and then Mike, and Alvin. As the 3 came over the hill I believe is where Bill put a huge move on the downhill of the course. I looked at his screen and he had managed to gain a .2 plus advantage over Mike and Alvin. Alvin want to help Mike pull Bill back in, but I kept yelling at him to let Mike do all the work and let Bill get a further time advantage on the Pushers #1 rider. On to the other riders, I can’t quite remember if it was the first or second climb that Scott put in a great climb and reeled in Amy, Allison, and Joe in. I think it was the second climb where the 4 rode together with Joe, and Amy doing an excellent job of letting Allison and Scott do the majority of work. I believe I kept telling Amy to get into Allison’s draft, and she did a great job accomplishing it. Joe started to let his draft fall into the 20 feet range and I kept on him, until he gave me the middle finger and fell off the group(might not have been that gesture, but that is what it felt like to me). Scott put a push in and got a little space but Amy and Allison reeled him back in. Jaime was staying consistent and trying not to lose too much time.

The Finish
Bill was strong the whole way and probably could have done better than me if he was on the A group. Bill finished 1st at 1:07:53 beating the times of 3 riders on the A group. Second was funny because Alvin was talking about why it was better to let Mike do all the work and not help him catch Bill, when Mike put in a big push towards the finish and Alvin could not catch him. Mike 2nd at 1:10:26, Alvin 3rd at 1:10:32. The final push for the next 3 was Amy and Allison dropping Scott at the finish and Amy finally beating Allison for 4th. Amy 4th at 1:11:43, Allison 5th at 1:11:45, and Scott 6th at1:11:55. Joe worked hard to put time into Jaime and finished 7th at 1:13:13, then Jaime 8th at 1:17:04. 

Final Results
Gunners: 4:43:21
Pushers: 4:51:10
Gunners gained another 7 minutes and 49 seconds.
Final total for the week is Gunners up now by 46 minutes.

Tried my best Bill, hope this is an okay recap of the race. I am not a writer(make any corrections if you like Bill). Can you forward to the whole group

Bill’s Race Report – A Group – Thursday 6pm

This was a wonderful example of a hard-fought battle over the course of the stage.  Well done to all riders!!  Riding tonight for the Gunners were Ben, Jeff, Peter & Bryan; riding for the Pushers were Tyler, Jason, Jonathan and Tony. 

As usual, the stage started out with a big surge.  Jonathan got started a second or two late, got about 40 feet off the back and was never able to catch back on to the lead group. Tony also fell off the lead group shortly after the start. He spent much of the stage close to the group in front of him, but was never able to catch on, and eventually fell well off the pace.  As the stage progressed, the lead group kept up a blistering pace, and spit Jason out the back on one of the early smaller climbs as well. 

So, going into the sprint point, the lead group consisted of Bryan, Peter, Jeff, Tyler and Ben.  Tyler was the first to try to put his stamp on the sprint with a huge surge, but Ben was able to match his surge and better it, coming around him for max points.  Jeff was also able to catch and pass Tyler due to Tyler’s early effort, getting second, while Peter and Bryan were further back.  The push for the sprint was so massive that it dropped Bryan off the back and he was not able to catch back on, dropping the lead group down to Ben, Tyler, Jeff & Peter. 

After the sprint, it was on the the first categorized climb of the day, a Cat 3 climb which was short, but steep.  The leaders put in a blistering pace on this climb which Peter was unable to hold, getting dropped off the back on that climb; and once off the back of the group, he fell back quickly.  So, Ben, Jeff and Tyler went at it as a group of three, with numerous surges being made for the KOM points.  Jeff finally made the big move towards the top and was able to accelerate so hard that Ben and Tyler couldn’t quite match his pace, giving him the best of the points at the top, followed by Tyler, then Ben. 

As this action was going on, Jonathan, by dint of steady hard work, had caught up to Jason, and the two of them hooked up and worked together for the rest of the stage.  Shortly thereafter Bryan was able to reel in Peter, and the two of them also worked together for the balance of the stage. 

After the first categorized climb, there was a series of flats and small descents, and the groups which had formed stayed together through these features.  Once onto the big climb for the day, Ben, Tyler and Jeff again traded haymakers heading for the top, seeing who could deliver the most power per pound.  On this climb, a Cat 1 climb, Tyler was the one who was able to make the strongest move at the top, gapping Ben, with Jeff a bit further back.  Over the top of that climb and into the descent, the pace at the front went up quickly and Jeff came off the back, never able to quite catch back on.  This left just Tyler and Ben at the front.  Ben pushed the pace on the descent and was able to open a gap of several hundred feet on Tyler, which was to prove decisive. 

Behind the leaders, Jonathan was towing Jason up the climbs, usually dropping him about halfway up.  However, Jason would catch him on the descents and tow Jonathan for a while, eventually gapping him, only to have Jonathan catch and gap him on the next climb. Peter and Bryan worked well together, with Bryan doing a lot of the work for that pair. 

As the two leaders went onto the final climb of the day up to the finish line, Tyler made a huge effort to catch Ben.  One agonizing foot at a time, he brought the gap from several hundred feet down to less than 200 feet, only to have Ben match his pace.  The gap stabilized, then started to get bigger, one foot at a time.  Tyler made a couple of attempts to try to bring the gap back down, but Ben had just enough for him this day, and over the course of the last 3-mile climb was able to very gradually put about 25 seconds into Tyler.  Meanwhile, Jeff was cranking like a locomotive behind them, and was almost able to match their unrelenting pace up that climb. 

And, that’s how they finished, with Ben at 58:54 (before bonus seconds), Tyler at 59:18 and Jeff just behind at 1:00:04.  Peter made a move at the line and was able to nip Bryan at 1:02:49 to 1:02:50.  Jonathan dropped Jason up the final climb and came across at 1:08:49, with Jason finishing at 1:10:53.  The final finisher was Tony at 1:15:13. 

At the end of the night’s two races, the Gunners had managed to claw back 38 minutes on the Pushers, virtually reversing their losses from the week’s first two races.  So, as of the end of Week 6, the overall standings show the Gunners at 84:13:24, while the Pushers have 84:58:59.  In the individual standings, here’s how it looks: 

Place
Name
Total Time
Gap
1
Ben
5:25:36
0:00:00
2
Jeff
5:26:10
0:00:34
3
Bryan
5:30:22
0:04:46
4
Tyler
5:35:15
0:09:39
5
Bill
5:36:08
0:10:32
6
Peter
5:36:45
0:11:09
7
Jason
5:48:43
0:23:07
8
Jonathan
5:55:01
0:29:25
9
Alvin
6:05:09
0:39:33
10
Mike Webb
6:08:52
0:43:16
11
Kirk
6:17:57
0:52:21
12
Gregg
6:18:02
0:52:26
13
Scott
6:23:10
0:57:34
14
Tony
6:23:37
0:58:01
15
Joe
6:25:10
0:59:34
16
Allison
6:28:03
1:02:27
17
Eugene
6:30:39
1:05:03
18
Trevor
6:32:29
1:06:53
19
Hank
6:40:04
1:14:28
20
Bob
6:47:57
1:22:21
21
Luis
6:48:51
1:23:15
22
Amy
6:56:41
1:31:05
23
Philip
7:10:29
1:44:53
24
Deanna
7:10:35
1:44:59
25
Allen
7:12:07
1:46:31
26
Cheryl
7:16:03
1:50:27
27
Lynda
7:17:44
1:52:08
28
Mike Wade
7:18:04
1:52:28
29
Lindsay
7:22:39
1:57:03
30
Lisa
7:33:05
2:07:29
31
Danny
7:33:14
2:07:38
32
Nicole
7:39:06
2:13:30

Here’s the standings for the sprint points: 

Ben
26
Bill
21.5
Kirk
16
Joe
13
Trevor
11
Gregg
10
Allen
10
Tyler
9
Alvin
7
Eugene
6
Philip
6
GT
5
Jeff
4.5
Luis
4
Jaime
3
Michael B.
3
Danny
3
Mike Webb
2
Hank
1
Lindsay
1
Mike Wade
1

And, here’s how the KOM points shape up: 

Tyler
70
Bill
55
Kirk
32
Jeff
32
Ben
30
Hank
23
Bryan
21
Lindsay
18
Gregg
18
Mike Webb
18
Alvin
15
Allen
15
Bob
13
Danny
11
TJ
10
Deanna
5
Eugene
3
GT
2
Deanna
2
Philip
2
Luis
1

So – that’s how things shape up at the end of Week 6.  Next week will be a stage for the sprinters – we’re done with the huge climbs for a bit. The following week will be our two-fer; the regular weeknight stage, plus the Queen stage that weekend.  The Queen stage will be a long stage, 50-60 miles or so, with some climbing.  I’d like to propose the following schedule for the weekend stage:Saturday at 7:30am “A” race; Saturday at 12noon “B race; Sunday at 7:30am “C” race; and Sundayat noon the Monday night group. 

Until then, you have our wishes for a wonderful, happy and prosperous New Year!!!

 —

Bill’s Race Report – Monday  Group

The riders tonight were Allen, Deanna and Mike Wade for the Pushers, and Danny, Lindsay and Lynda for the Gunners.  All faced the course of the day with just a dab of trepidation. 

The race started out as expected, with all the riders staying together for the first 8 or 9 miles (except for Lynda, who got dropped within the first 1/4 mile). At the sprint point, Allen played his cards right and put in a good dig to take the best of the points from Danny, who was a couple of seconds behind and Mike Wade, who was a few seconds further back. 

The group then came back together until they hit the first climb of the day, a Cat 3 ascent.  This climb was short, but rated as Cat 3 because, while short, it was steady and somewhat steep.  On this climb, the field started to string out.  Lindsay was strong and tried to get away a couple of times, but Allen and Danny were able to stay with her.  Deanna had a mechanical near the bottom of the climb, and lost a couple of minutes getting it sorted out. Mike tried to stay with the group, but eventually started to drop back on the steeper parts of the climb.  About 1/4 mile from the top, Lindsay accelerated and Allen couldn’t quite match her move, passing her just after the top, while Danny took the KOM points for third on that climb. 

After that climb, there was a short break consisting of some descents and flats, then it was on to the major climb of the day, rated as Cat 1. The three leaders stayed together up that climb, with Lindsay doing much of the work at the front.  Towards the top, Lindsay and Danny started taking turns attacking Allen, but he hung tough and was able to out-sprint both of them at the top, with Lindsay beating out Danny for second.  Behind them, Deanna had caught up to Mike and pulled him over the top about 1/4 mile behind the leaders. 

Down the big descent, moves were made.  Danny went first, putting a nice little gap into Allen and Lindsay.  Allen waited for Lindsay to move, and when she didn’t, he finally had to go after Danny himself, dropping Lindsay in the process. However, he could not complete the move to bridge over to Danny, so by the bottom of the descent, Danny had about 500 feet on Allen, who had about 1/4 mile on Lindsay.  Deanna and Mike were another 1/4 mile or so back. 

Danny then really started to come into his own on the final climb, matching Allen surge for surge and holding his lead.  Lindsay, meanwhile, was coming on hard, slowly but surely cutting into Allen’s lead, while Deanna and Mike were also slowly making up ground on Lindsay.  However, Mike couldn’t hold this pace, and got dropped.  Lindsay kept working and eventually caught Allen, settling in so she would not bring him up to Danny.  This allowed Deanna to eventually close the gap and link up with Allen and Lindsay about 2 miles form the end. 

Deanna set off after Danny, pulling the others along.  However, Danny responded like a champion, and didn’t allow the gap to get below 500 feet.  As the race drew to a close, the grade softened, and Danny was able to use his superior strength to expand the gap back to the Deanna and the others, securing his first win by 38 seconds.  Allen had one more surge left and was able to fly by Lindsay and Deanna for second, while Deanna held off Lindsay for third.  Mike came in aboutthree minutes later, and Lynda finished off another 8 1/2 minutes further back.  Overall, the Pushers put about 8 minutes into the Gunners tonight, closing the gap on the overall to about 43 minutes.

Bill’s Race Report – Tuesday’s C Group

The racers tonight were Kirk, Philip and Luis for the Gunners and Bob, Gregg and Hank for the Pushers.  MIA were Cheryll and Nicole. 

The race started briskly, but all racers stayed together until after the first small climb.  Bob did most of the work up that climb, and promptly got drooped on the following descent.  He lost a few hundred feet, and tried valiantly to come back, yo-yoing from 300 feet to 600 feet back and forth before the other five finally were able to make their advantage stick. 

This group stayed together until the sprint grew close, at which time the pace really picked up.  Various riders made their surges, but Gregg is the one who was finally able to make his stick, getting there a second or so ahead of Kirk, who was another second or so ahead of Luis.  Shortly after the sprint, the group came back together. 

And so it stayed until the first big climb.  On that Cat 2 climb, Luis was the first one to drop off, leaving just Kirk, Philip, Gregg and Hank.  Luis dropped back a lot quickly, allowing Bob to close the gap on him. As they approached the top of that climb, there was a lot of dicing for the KOM points, but Kirk was finally able to make the best move when it counted, beating Philip and Hank to the top. In the descents and flats following that climb, there was more action, but the lead group still stayed together. 

On the climb up to KOM point #2, Philip dropped off the back and blew up explosively, dropping back fast, and leaving Kirk, Gregg and Hank to sort matters out between themselves. Each of these riders tried to make some sort of move, but all moves were brought back. While they were fighting among themselves, Bob was able to come back and pass and drop Luis, then Philip in short order.  Luis stayed somewhat close to Bob as Philip continued to drop like a rock. 

At the top of the final climb, Kirk went first, then Gregg for a moment, then Hank put in a big move that dropped them both.  Kirk stayed with Gregg for a moment and then went after Hank, but Gregg was able to pull him back and pass him before the top. At the line, Hank’s time was 1:11:02, followed by Gregg at 1:11:07and Kirk at 1:11:14.  Bob came in a couple of minutes later after a strong solo ride at 1:16:34.  Luis was a few minutes further back at 1:19:10 and Philip crossed the line last at 1:35:22. 

In the overall, the Pushers picked up about 27 minutes, leaving them about 8 minutes behind the Gunners.  Tomorrow night is a special night, with two races; the “A” race at 6pm (early) and the “B” race at 7:30.

 

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