Rolling Thunder Cyclocross Race November 3rd

Monday, May 11, 2009

Belt Omnium - GAS doubles up

John Juras and his crew did a great job putting on the 2009 Belt Omnium. Subway sandwiches and beer were included in the $30 entry fee. $30 for two races, beer, $5 foot long, giant cookies, and great organization. Thank you John.

The time trial course was flat. Just before the turnaround there was a 300 foot rise that was very typical of any central/eastern Montana roller. It was tail wind on the way out and head wind on the way back. Aero equipment was key. Highlights of the Time Trial:

*TAMERA: T laid down a 23:5ish. Since folks don't know the significance of that time I'll put in perspective. I don't know the exact times but she would have placed 5th or 6th in the men's cat 3's.

*RIDE CLEAN DAN: The AZ transplant didn't disappoint in his Montana debut. He slayed the time trial. He won and I think put a minute into second.

The road race course was much hillier then I expected. On the drive in Nacho Tack kept showing me these hills that were part of the course. I tried to store each climb in my head. I decided that there were 3 on the way out and 2 on the way in. The 1,2,3 race started off slow. Riders were taking off clothes and chatting. On the first out and back, the cat 4 group was getting close to catching us. Jeff Twohig and a rider from GNC formed the first break of the day. They held 30 seconds for 10 or so miles.

Climb #1: This was the slowest climb of the day. Frykman led into it. I could see the top the whole time and wasn't super worried about anything getting away. I was breathing hard, but still felt like everyone was warming up.

Climb #2: Groupo compacto. Frank lit up the climb with a couple hard accelerations towards the middle. My legs were stinging bad. I remember looking at Twohig and thinking...he was just on a breakaway and seems to be climbing fine...I'm hurting...this could be long day.

In between climb #2 and #3 there was long flat stretch. Into the flat crosswind section I tried to stay up front because it was guttered for 5-8 miles. It was better to be on the front then in the back. GAS, had the same strategy as Curry and Brian worked with Josh and I.

Climb #3: Nacho Tack led into the climb. I was really worried about attacks so I didn't come around him, in fear that I'd go to quickly into the red. I was happy that folks didn't start moving around Josh until the last 1/3. I suffered hard on the last 1/3 of the climb and was really excited to get over the top. Freightrain led the descent.

This was the first time I started to notice the group was dwindling. None of the strongmen had showed any signs of weakness leading into climb #4.

Climb #4: Frykman stormed up the first pitch like he was Jens Voigt leading Sastre in the Tour last year. Halfway up Marshall took over and set a tempo that was right at my limit. 20 more seconds at that pace, or a smidge faster and I would have been off that back. I'm sure you've been in that position where your climbing cross-eyed and your just praying that no one else attacks.

Back onto the flat the pace slowed. I was very happy to be in the group (Curry, Brad, Frykman, Herzig, Frank, Dan, Trek V, Tack, Willy, Marshall). Tack attacked hard two times in a row. I knew there would be a counter from someone as soon as Josh was caught. With the group that was was sure to be someone fast. Sure enough Brad launched and I jumped on his wheel. Oh crap....last time I was in a break with Brad was very short lived. Last year's Bearmouth race, Brad completely road me off his wheel. So, I decided to sit in while we gained an advantage over the group, in fear that I'd completely blow up and fall out of all the groups on the road. After I relaxed a bit....I realized Brad was creating a big gap. Without GAS or Tack chasing, there wasn't enough cohesion to bring Brad back. A bunch of thoughts kept creeping into my head. I could still see the group over the horizon and figured that with Scott, Dan, and Marshall still there....the pace up the last climb would be super fast. I didn't like our chances. So, I continued to sit in a try and save something for the last climb. My goal at this point was to try and stay away as long as possible to keep Tack off the front.

Climb #5: My legs start cramping. Brad starts groaning.....I think to myself yes he's getting tired. Brad speaks, "Shaun, I don't think I can take you to the finish line." Sounds good to me, we'll get caught and my job will be done. I knew that Brad was tough, but I'd never experienced it with him on the road.. Holy crap this guy is ridiculous. I sat on his wheel for 10 miles and now he's going to drop me?!!? The answer is yes. The gap slowly opened. I tried to calm down but I could see Herzig lighting the road on fire behind me. I thought about trail. I thought about my Motebacane 29er. I thought about the week before trying to chase Dale down on Snowbowl Overlook. I shifted down into my 39x18 and turned the gear over like my single speed. I got to the top just as Herzig caught me. He had Dan, Marshall, Tack, and Curry with him. Brad was gone. Josh said something to me and I thought he was mad (that's how tired I was...Tack never gets mad). What he actually said was just sit in. For a mile or two I was really happy. Then I realized the goal was to win the F-ing race. Tack still had a shot and Brad was still up the road. I attempted some weak pulls, but Brad had timed it to perfection. Kudos to Nails. Tack won the sprint for second.

For a better race report read Melanie Melendrez's report about racing for the first time.


Kyle said...

Nice report Shaun, great racing.

Amy and Brian said...

Shaun, way to read the move and make the break, I saw it all happen, very smooth, maestro. -Brian Frykman

Coach Brad said...

Thanks for the great report Shaun. You left out the part where I tried with all I had to get rid of you several times, but you were to strong. I was pretty worried that you were going to hang in there all the way and take the win. Anyways, great ride. See you at Cow Country. I say we ride the last 20 miles together off the front again, sound like fun?