The relentless winter of 2015 has finally back down and regional road racing has officially begun! Three BJL Coaching Athletes got after it this past weekend and had some solid results. This is a good sign for a great racing season ahead!
On Saturday, 3/14/15, yes, Pi Day, Branch Brook #2 was ON. Although #2 in the series, #1 was cancelled due to snow--the first time this has ever happened to my knowledge. And while the snow was clear, the skies opened up and dumped down buckets on the competitors for this initial race. The weather did not dissuade Frank S. who toed the line in both Cat 4/5 events. Despite getting hit by a car while out on a training ride a few short weeks ago, Frank rode two solid races and finished up 13th then 10th. These are both noteworthy efforts when most folks chose to train indoors on this nasty day.
Also on Saturday was Grant's Tomb Crit, and absolute classic located in New York City. Kathryn C., the 2014 Women's 4 defending champion, threw her hat in the ring in the 3/4 Race. Kathryn played the role of instigator, animator, and super domestique while saving enough energy to sprint for 10th place. Read her detailed report here:
On Sunday, Paul L. dropped down south of the Mason-Dixon line to compete in the Richmond International Raceway Criterium. Yes, a Crit held on a motor speed way. A 3/4 mile "D" shaped oval to be exact. Although two racers broke away and lapped the Cat 3 field, Paul unleashed his sprint for the first time this year for 5th in the field, 7th overall. This was a great way to blow out the carbon and dust off the cobwebs for the big block of racing Paul has planned.
Be on the lookout for more racing action in the weeks to come!
Race report from Kathryn C.:
I ended up racing in the 3/4 field today because of the course. The cat 4s race on a modified course which essentially has no turns...boring! I just couldn't bring myself to sign up for it.
I'm not sure if I was just trying to find an excuse to animate, but after a quick assessment of the field, I thought I would be in trouble in a field sprint and decided I was going into attack mode. I pretty much spent the whole race trying to escape off the front and covering all moves. I actually think if I could've gotten one or two girls to go with me, we may have had a shot at staying away, but nothing seemed to stick. With it being the first race of the season, I don't think anyone really had the confidence to fully commit to an attack.
With about two to go I tried to play it a bit more conservatively, but wheels were getting sketchy in the wet conditions and teams were lining up. I was probably a little too cautious going into the final turn (a long sweeping 180) and didn't have a great spot to start the long sprint. While my legs felt great, I just didn't seem to have it together for the sprint. It's a pretty long finishing chute and I should've trusted my instincts to hold off a little longer to really push it, especially because I don't have a lot of top end at this time of year. I finished 10th beating a whopping two girls in the final sprint - we must have had some fall off the back beforehand.
All in all, I'm really happy with how I felt for this time of year. I felt strong on the climbs and recovered quickly when covering attacks, I just didn't have the positioning or pop for a good sprint. I must admit, I had way more fun than I did when I won last year and I got a great workout. It seems that the more foolish my tactics, the more fun I have! I actually feel like I have an ok grasp on tactics, I just tend to say screw it and take to the front. It's probably a good thing cross is my focus...
Thanks for all of the help you've been giving - I think we are definitely on the right track!
I hope your weekend if off to a great start!
PS - you know you're doing too much work when the winner thanks you after the race for covering everything.
Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.