Apache Pass RR & Driveway Update

Report Date
Friday, 5 May, 2017
Last Sunday I wanted to race with my bros Freedom & Alan. This was our first cat 3 race together. You know, special occasion type of race. We got to the start late as usual (not my fault this time) and barely made the race. I had time to put one or two pins in my number before the race started. And was trying to put another one at the back of the race with one hand. No dice. Just pricked myself. I need to work on my fine motor skills.

Anyway, the goal was to try and help Freedom and Alan since I was thinking for sure my wheel wouldn’t last till the end. I just got those new 62mm Reynolds tubeless wheels. But I didn’t put sealant in the front tire testing to see what would happen. Well, without sealant it loses about 20-30 psi an hour. Unfortunately, I found that out too late on Sat night and all the bike shops were already closed. So, I asked Jake to give me his CO2 during the beginning of the race since I didn’t have a baggie. Thinking I would top it off during the second lap. We tried to get it out, but it’s not so easy when you are in the middle of a race. We gave up. Chased back on.

It’s was a 55-mile flat windy race. 2 loops. Perfect for plus size dudes & dudettes. During the first loop, couple miles in, 2 guys went ahead and the pack didn’t react. Fine with me. I was happy & preoccupied, sitting in for the whole first lap probing and waiting to see what would happen to my front tire. It was super windy and chill pace if you knew where to find the sweet spot to draft to avoid the wind.

On the second lap, to my surprise, my front tire was still fine. Great! The pace didn’t really change and the break in the front was nowhere to be seen. At this point, something needed to be done about that break, I felt good, didn’t hit the front even once on the first lap. I decided to rock the boat little bit. Start attacking. Figured, I’ll attack once or twice see if we can get something going. Freedom came along couple times with me, then other guys went to the front and we picked up the pace and the attacks. Freedom was having his own issues with brake rub. So, bad day for him. I went again to the front in the tailwind section trying to inject some pace. All of a sudden I hear go, go, go! I turn around and I see this strong Elevate dude sitting on my wheel and we have a 30-foot gap. Damn, wrong dude on my wheel but ok, he’s strong - so I’ll work with him. I’m thinking we’ll go and make the other strong fellas chase us & tire them out while Alan & Freedom chill and suck wheels. It kinda worked. Alan managed to win the pack sprint at the end.

Back to the break. Our break happened about 16 miles to go and the pack was chasing, keeping us in sight, 30 seconds behind. We kept working & rotating every 30 seconds. The Elevate dude kept motivating me: “So and so many miles to go”. I kept thinking those new wheels really work well. Man, I felt like I got a 30 watt boost to my FTP. Or maybe, it was the old bearings on my 8-year-old Easton’s. Who cares? It works.

We passed through those Texas cobbles once again and I noticed that my back wheel all of a sudden is way out of true. Shnit! Those pot holes! Later I found out that 3 of the non-drive side spokes were completely loose. Good thing I didn’t taco that wheel.

Anyways, we finally get to the final headwind section. The pack is still 30 seconds behind. And I see one solo guy in the front. He managed to drop his companion that we passed couple miles back. I’m thinking we got this. At one point, he was 90 seconds ahead. Now we only have to close about 45 seconds. I actually love the headwind in a break for 2 reasons. First, it’s suits me better. You hammer for 30 seconds then completely rest for 30. Kinda like short sprints. It’s not consistent FTP effort. Second, the pack usually gets really disorganized in a headwind. Nobody wants to pull into the wind, and torture themselves. No good rotation. Everybody is thinking – why me?

2 K to go and we finally catch the solo dude. Wait, What? I look up and see Jonah Norton. Hellloo! I’m happy to see him. He was probably not happy to see us. :/

1K to go. It’s 3 of us. I’m getting flashbacks to the classics I’ve been watching. The pack is nowhere to be seen and I’m thinking. We are almost there! We made it! Let the cat & mouse games begin! Nop! The Elevate dude just went to the front and drilled it. Why? Fine, I’m happy to get dragged to the 200-meter line.

At this point, Johan is for sure spent from his solo massive effort and the Elevate dude just drilled himself. Nothing left to do but sprint to the line. I cross the finish line with around 2 seconds gap. No more cat 3 RR for me. Will upgrade for next RR.

Driveway Update.

I managed to get the driveway 3/4 leaders jersey last series, courtesy of Lucas not showing up. Many thanks to his parents for not driving him anymore from Houston. Phew!

So today was the first Pro 1/2/3 race where I didn’t have to race the 3/4 before. Definitely makes a huge difference. The P123 crits are a lot about position. Unlike the cat 3 road races where the strongest usually wins and crits to some extent. Unless you missed the break.

Here, every single guy is a beast that can handle the bike really well. We had TDF pro race with us today. This causes the bikes to go a lot faster and closer. Especially in the last lap. Whereas in Cat 3 I could somewhat easily get the position that I wanted, here it’s an all-out d$#k punch in the last lap. Super aggressive! If you make a mistake you will lose couple bike lengths in a second. The bikes are so close that if you look back – down you go by slamming into the wheel in front of you. That’s what happened today. Bad crash! 2 feet to my right side. Broken collarbone, punctured lung. Sounded & looked horrible. Catching wheel at 35mph sucks a#@ bigly! I had to fly out to a small patch of grass and then catch on to the field. Heal up buddy. 😊

Back to the race. It’s the speed loop. Last lap, I see Tolley. Great, just the right amount of watts to follow. I manage to get on his wheel as he passes by. I make a mistake on the turn and lose 2 positions. Shnit! 800 meters to go. Sitting probably around 12th. I can’t get a good draft. The guy to my left - won’t let me in. He couldn’t care less. Not scared and won’t let me in. Can’t make him move or get in. Fine! Eating wind! 600 meters to go. Somebody yells from behind. Go Dennis Go. Damn! I’m thinking they want a good wind block as lead out. I’m also thinking that somebody has confidence in me that I can go at all at this point. No idea who it was. We are probably at 36mph now. Cool. So, I go. Sprint! I managed to pass couple guys. The problem is that I can’t put my head down and be aero. We are at around 40mph at this point. Some guys pop. I have to go around some people and see where I’m going. Manage to cling to …. 7th. Alright! Alright! Alright! Pretty excited about it. Top 10 in the P123 is a big deal for me.
Born in Moscow, Russia. Lived in Israel. Started riding when I came to Austin 17 years ago at the age of 18 & got my first bike - Trek 1000.... more

Joined UT Austin Cycling Club. Though the years, visited all of the Hawaiian Islands on the bike - camping, riding and climbing the volcanoes.

Got the racing bug in 2016 after visiting Mellow Johny's MOTR group ride. First race was 2016 Cat 5 Meegan Baab RR - never looked back since.

Code monkey behind Thea.com & StructuredDomains.com.
Sprinter, Rouleur
Road Category:
Drago, Big Red
Home Town:
Austin, TX