More Race Reports from West Branch

A couple individual race reports from Rob, Tyler, and Colin who competed at the West Branch races. 

From Rob Shoemaker (cat. 4 crit and RR):

Crit: I started in the front as I had planned. The pace was mild at the beginning with not much going on. I had made one ally during the warmup and planned to work with him. Half way through, an unattached rider attacked and went on a solo break until 3 laps to go. We attempted to chase him down via a pace line but some guys didn't know how to pull properly and the chase fell apart. I did some work but mostly observed others and conserved energy for the end. Two guys bridged with 2 laps to go and on the last lap
I bridged the 4 man break. I didn't want to sprint for 5th place and no one else seemed to want to pull the break in so I hammered it out. Unfortunately I didn't have any legs for the sprint and had to stay in the saddle. I finished strong in 12th with the top 12 within 4 seconds of each other. I felt good overall for not having any teammates in the race.

Road Race: I started in the front with Harvey, Mick and Tyler Trask. Harvey got out front and kept the pace high. I took a few pulls until the race settled in a bit and other teams challenged for the front. Heading east, on the first climb I kept pace in the middle of the front and sized up the other riders. On the second climb I moved to the front and pulled on the down hill. I stayed up front as we each kept pace. Once we turned south, Tyler wanted to speed things up and we each took a few pulls until we got into the big roller section. I stayed towards the front and nestled in the peleton to conserve my legs. As we turned to the west Harvey attacked to act as a "rabbit" in hopes of other teams chasing him. He stayed out front but no one chased. As we turned North into the big climb he was still out front and powered up the hill. I didn't want to blow up on the first climb and decided to pace "lightly" up the hill. I dropped a little off the back but stayed in contact. I could of used more gears as my easiest was 39/23. As I summited the climb, I was starting to get dropped. I found two other riders one from O2 and I think one from Leadout. We chased the peleton down within 2 miles. I found my way back into the middle of the peleton but it got singled out as the pace picked up. After we got back into the rollers heading south my legs were getting tired so I stayed in the little ring on the climbs. When we turned west again, CMS got on the front and set the pace. I was stuck in the back and couldn't move up. When we turned into the last climb I was still in the back but powered strong up the hill. If I would of had better positioning coming into the climb I would of done much better. Harvey was up in the front and climbed strong. He ended up finishing 5th. Tyler struggled up the hill but managed 15th. I'm not sure where Mick finished but he was ahead of me. A CMS rider took the win. I had energy towards the top and was catching a few riders and passed one with about 500m to the summit. Overall it was a good race for me in the sense that I had gas in the tank, stayed in the peleton and only fell short in tactics. I finished 29th.
From Tyler Carlton (cat. 3 crit):

As we rolled up to the start line it was apparent that the Cat 3 crit was going to have a small field. The final count was 15 racers and after our little spiel from the officials we were underway. The folks from Team 02/Cadieux wasted no time showing their gameplan as they sent a rider solo off the front almost instantly. The field was content with this, letting him dangle off the front with a ~10 second advantage for several minutes. Every now and then someone would get inspired and pull it back a bit before giving up and letting the break go again. All the while Stephen and I were just being the sprinters we are and sitting in the field.

Eventually we caught the solo break away guy and 02/Cadieux was quick to send another off the front solo. In an interesting tactical decision, they'd never let anyone try to bridge up and turn it into a two man break. At one point Max Staran from Wolverine bridged up to the solo rider, but within a half a lap the guys from 02/Cadieux brought it back.

With about 5 to go there was still a rider up the road that we weren't really making any effort to catch. I was getting frustrated and broke character to do a quick turn on the front since teams were starting to look at us expectantly since we were one of the few teams with more than one rider. I was hoping this would inspire us to catch the break, but no such luck.

With one to go the race came back together. As soon as we hit the hill on the backside of the course the attacks started flying. My goal was to drag Stephen to the front so he could dust everyone in the sprint, so I swung out left and put the hammer down. All was well until a guy that was burned out from the break decided to swing over right behind me and cut Stephen off. I couldn't stop now since the flurry of attacks had put riders off the front with less than half a lap to go, so I just pressed on in the hope that Stephen could free himself and get back into a good position.

Going into the last corner I had caught the would be breakaway. One guy tried to light up the sprint right from the corner, but at close to 250m out I new he wasn't going to make it.
I tried to be patient since I was already way in the red from the leadout attempt, so I waited until inside 200m to open it up. I quickly caught and passed the early sprinters that had run out of gas. As I passed the 100m marker I was still out front, but could hear someone huffing and puffing coming up behind me. I gave a quick glance, hoping that it was Stephen, but alas it wasn't and I had to dig a little deeper as the finish line was in sight. Eventually the line came and I crossed it first and Stephen quickly rolled in behind me in third.

Definitely not the way we had planned it, but I guess you can't complain with putting two guys on the podium. The final effort also gave me some power PR's as I managed 712 watts for the last minute and fifteen seconds.

All in all a great race, and just a part of the wonderful day that AAVC had at the West Branch Crit.

From Colin Hebert (cat. 3 road race):

The pace on the first lap was moderate, everyone was playing it safe until we got to the big climb. Going up the climb at the end of the first lap, I was being conservative in anticipation of the hammer coming down any minute. I remember seeing a small group of guys going off the front, but I was happy to let them go. My focus was to save energy and make it to the end of the race. I didn't find out until the end that Stephen had made it into that break.

Danny and I were together in the group that remained. After we crested the climb, I looked back to see who was behind me and saw no one. Several riders got shelled and there were about 10 of us left to chase the break.

A small group of us stayed together for about another lap and a half. Daniel Painter went off the front and I remember wishing him luck as we turned into a headwind. A few minutes later, Danny bridged to him and I did what I could to buy him some time. Their gap steadily increased, and then there were five of us left.

The five of us worked really well together for the rest of the race. It was fun to be in a well-organized rotating paceline, especially on the east side of the course into a headwind. The wind out of the south got progressively stronger throughout the race, which made it even harder for the two small breakaways groups.

With about 3 miles to go, it was my turn to pull. Our pace was the same, but we were on the south side of the course and approaching the turn into the final climb. One of the guys behind me attacked and two others followed. It was a hard attack and I couldn't accelerate fast enough to catch on. Looking behind, our other companion was 100 feet back, so I saved energy for the climb in case one of the guys ahead of me blew up on the climb. I crossed the line by myself ending up in 9th place.

Looking at the results, it looked like Danny's two-man breakaway group almost caught the three guys in the lead group. Kudos to great rides by Stephen and Danny!

Also, I want to recognize the valiant effort put forth by Kevin. Kevin has been posting excellent results in Cat 4 over the last year and upgraded to Cat 3 just the day before. The West Branch road race is not an easy place to start out in Cat 3 - we'll see great things from Kevin this year!

This was the view from the back of the race, Stephen and Danny can tell us what it was like at the front.