Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yale Race Recap: Men's A

Hills! Finally!

Yale Cycling, in particular, Chris "Taco" Rittacco (sp?) put on a great race weekend as always. I'm fond of the races to the top of east rock. My best results of each of my 3 seasons as an A rider have come there, and this year was no exception. I picked up 3rd in the time trial by riding hard enough to power about three and one third light bulbs for 14.5 minutes. I was bested by 2 amazingly strong guys from Harvard, one of whom, Jordan, only just upgraded after dominating B's all season, and one of whom hasn't lost a TT he's done this season, and, based on his times at Yale & Boston, probably also ever in the history of time trials. No shame in losing 15 seconds to those studs. I felt confident going into the road race. After all, Lee beat me last year by 20 seconds, and I got him at the end of the road race on the steepest slopes of East Rock. Hopefully this year would be no different.

And, it turns out, it wasn't. About three laps in I had a small gap toward the top of the climb, and by following a falconesque (falcolnian? falconlike?) descender from VCU, we stretched the gap. Jordan from Harvard was also in tow, and he was great to have pulling on the flats. It was an ideal situation. The course had three parts: the twisty descent, a windy flat section, and the climb. (The climb really also had two parts, shallow, steady, straight, and steep, variable, twisty, but I digress.) And the break du jour was an amazing descender, a brilliant, 6'5"-ish time trialist with a diesel engine, and me, punchy grimpeur. Also, one of the better climbers in the conference is the teammate of Jordan, so he was a bit handcuffed, unwilling to work too hard to chase down his teammate, lest he bring other people with him.

We worked well together for a few laps until the VCU fellow got popped toward the top of the climb. It was me and Jordan. I needed just 16 seconds to claim the KOM prize again. I worked just hard enough to maintain the gap over a 3-man chase group, saving what I could for the finish. I may have exaggerated the toll the break was taking on me, breathing hard, panting, etc., while also encouraging him to work really hard, which he surely did. Unfortunately for him, a small break is a bit like a poker match. Bluffing and deception are part of it. I felt very comfortable on his wheel just as we approached the steepest part of the climb, two switchbacks at 1200 meters from the finish. I attacked right where it pitched up, and gave everything I had for the next 2.5 minutes, which turned out to be many more lightbulbs than I expected to be able to power after 2 hours of racing.

Jordan actually ended up getting 4th. About 300 meters to the line he punctured. This allowed 2/3s of the chase group to catch him. It's a shame. He deserved a podium for his efforts. Here is the finish line picture. I'm pointing to the logo of our primary sposnor, Breakaway Bikes, because they are awesome and had my bike in perfect running order and weighing in at sub-16 pounds for the race. Thanks to the mechanics there, Shawn & Richie, who built my tubeless powertap wheel and installed my Gore shifting cables on short notice! Those guys rule.

Hopefully I'll see some photos of me the next day sporting the KOM jersey on facebook or something and be able to post a link later.

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