Carnation Farms Circuit Race
Carnation was the third and final installment of the Lake Washington Velo series that HB puts on. Steve Fisher was killing it in the series and had the lead going into the third race. Relevant standings were
Steve -- 22
James Stangeland -- 20
Galen Erickson -- 16
Dave Richter -- 11
Me, Todd Herriott and Dave Flash -- 10
HB soldiers were myself, Steve, Ian Crane, Logan Owen, Lang Reynolds, Joe Holmes, Tiny Alan, Tall Alan, Chris Wingfield, and AJ. With points 10-deep (15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) and a 4,2,1 intermediate sprint, we had our work cut out for us: cover moves with danger men in them, keep the danger men from getting the point sprint, and make sure Steve finished next to or ahead of his competition.
On count one, we did alright. With a virtually dead-flat circuit (10 laps, ~4 mile lap), the racing was extremely aggressive since there were always like 20 guys tucked in and ready to swing dick when the moment arose. With our numbers, we were able to put at least one rider in every dangerous break. With the weird points game going on, the tactics were not like a normal one-day race, and a lot of those moves were destined for non-cooperation. Nothing got more than 10 or 15 seconds.
On count two, we screwed up. We got the prime bell with 6 to go. Coming into corner 2, a downhill right-hander, HB alum Adrian Hegyvary put in a dig, bringing Joe Holmes with him. Those who followed Adrian's killer 2009 season might remember that at this race last year, Adrian attacked through a corner, and that was all she wrote. So with the sultan swinging hard, the bunch got lined out good and quick. Luckily, I found David Fleischhauer's wheel, which gave me a nice draft and a free ride to the front of the race since HSP was doing the bulk of the chasing. Adrian's move came back as we reached the curvy shadowed section of the course, and since I was fresh and everyone else was looking at each other, I jumped and got a pretty quick gap.
(photo by Dennis Crane)
I got into pursuit mode, staying nice and low through the headwind section toward corner 4. I knew my gap was going to come down in the 500-meter finishing straight with everyone gunning for the points, and I also knew that winning the sprint would take a lot of pressure off of Steve (not to mention getting me more points), so I dug real deep. Here's where the team went wrong: we tried to have our cake and eat it, too, putting a couple riders on the front to (ostensibly) keep Steve and Ian from getting swarmed. Unfortunately, the pace they chose wasn't fast enough to line things out for Steve and Ian, but it was fast enough to bring the rest of the field within striking range for the sprint, and as a result, I was caught less than 10 meters from the line--no exaggeration. It was like this (FFWD to 3:00, unless you are enjoying the music):
Dave Richter took the 4, Stangeland took the 2, and I came up empty-handed. This moved DR up to 15 points, and brought Stangeland even with Steve on points. Now Steve had to beat Stangeland to win the series. Not as good as before.
We also botched count 3. Partially because our guys were gassed from working the hell out of the first half of the race (for better or for worse) and partially because we couldn't get our shit together, Steve was pretty much on his own for the sprint, and ended up finishing in the top-10, one position behind Stangeland, losing the series by a point. It stung extra good since he would have won on a tiebreaker had I won the intermediate sprint. Womp womp.
As Joe put it, "the winner is usually the person with the clearest vision when everyone is seeing triple." That said, I think we should have been able to piece together a better race than we did.
On to the C-word Season Ender.
Same crew minus Tall Alan and AJ. Weird format, with 4 $20 cash primes, and $5 to the leader of each lap after the first prime. This time, we were smarter about what we chased, what we worked in, and what we sat on. With Steve and Logan looking good in sprints recently, we wanted to set it up for them. Coming into the last 10 laps, Lang was off the front with Stangeland, but got popped when Stangeland attacked him for a prime. At that point, the two were within about 5 seconds of the pack, but after Lang came back, Stangeland found some reserves and pushed his advantage back out to about 15 seconds with 5 to go. Pretty cashed from the first half of the race (theme?), I put my chips into the chase effort, which was pretty unmotivated for a few laps. With about 2 to go, things finally picked up when people realized that Stangeland is real strong. The gap was coming down, but not fast enough. Coming up the hill into the turn on the last lap, Logan was well positioned right behind Richter. Stangeland's advantage had come down to about 5 seconds, but went to about zero seconds when he crashed himself out in the corner, a la Jake MacArthur. Logan came around Richter to win. Booyah!
This may have been the last weekend of road racing for the year, unless I go to Eugene for the stage race next weekend. We'll see!