08 June 2005

Romancing the Sprint, Or, Who knew Cat 5 had team tactics?

So I’ve been sick, really out of it cold and flu stuff for the past week or so. So as a result I missed two weeks of FBF (Floyd Bennett Field) racing fun, including the first race with Euri the machine from Miya Shoji out of the 5’s and in the 4’s. So finally yesterday I was able to race again. A week out sick and then a week of training and trying to get some form back resulted in a fairly good ride last night. The Cat 5 race was fairly quick at 24mph average for the 5 lap, 11.5 mile course with a large field of 41 starters.

Now this really isn’t impressive for FBF, however the fact that we were racing in 90 degree weather with a 15mph wind coming out of the south made it all the more intense (read draining). Not much happened in the early portion of the race, a few mechanicals and some squirrelly riding around a large puddle on the back flat kept the pace nice and light. A small group of riders broke off the front on lap 3 with myself, a Kissena rider, the two Miya Shoji guys and a few others (about 8 in all). We were caught on the back straight, but stayed towards the front and kept the pace up into the last lap.

On lap 4 something happened that would shape the finish of the race, the wind shifted from corner 3 to corner 4, right into the finish. Previously, the group had been slowing after corner 3 with any breaks being formed after corner 4 heading into the start/finish. So in the bell lap a two-man break formed on the back straight. Nobody thought that they would keep away, especially with the wind on the back half of the course, so the group just kicked the pace up a bit and slowly reeled them in. Then after passing the 1km to go point the pack started to wind up for the bunch sprint. All of a sudden teams became organized. People started lead-out trains with the riders pulling off into the field completely wiped after their turn at the front was done. This kept those of us without teams swerving through the mass of cast off lead-out men and fighting to contest the sprint.

This was when I made my mistake. I pulled off to the left of the field in an attempt to pull up a few spots, but I forgot that the wind had shifted and pulled out too soon. I did move up, to about 15th – 18th by my count, but not as far as I feel I could have. But I did have a good strong sprint at ~34 mph (again into the wind) according to my computer and I did move up a good 5-6 places as well.

Overall the race was definitely a success and I can’t wait till next week when I use FBF as a training race for the Kissena Prospect Park series.

Till next week.

-Dan

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