Fayetteville Cat 3 race

Report Date
Monday, 20 Feb, 2017
Fayetteville Cat 3 race. Felt great. Got to the start line. It was only 30 something of us in the cat 3s race. In the P12, however, pretty much every pro showed up to race. You had Sheehan, K House, Uhl, Strickland and others. Anyways our race started easy. Sort of. Ok. 5 minutes in, on the first hill, when everybody is still warming up. I’m sitting at the back of the race chilling. 1 guy attacks, ok, then 2 more, then 2 more join. I’m sitting and thinking to myself. This is bad. But I’m still cold, back of the pack, 30 places down, and spangle the dude that got 2nd last time is sitting right next to me. Can’t be that bad? And… we let them go. It’s first lap, I slowly start rolling to the front and start taking easy pulls among other guys. We are not going chase pace but still at a good clip.

I’m thinking, all of the Shama team is here and their main guy is with me, surely, they’ll do a lot of the work soon. I see one of the Shama guys goes off the front and Don chasing him. They get 10-15 seconds and eventually get brought back. Don saying the Shama guy didn’t really do his pulls. I start working a little more but Shama is always breaking the rhythm. I ask what’s going on? And I get the answer: “We have a guy in the break”. Wow. It dawns on me. Their whole team has just been blocking the whole entire time. This is pretty bad. Very bad. First time for me in a swamp like that.

I’m feeling pretty desperate, I’m thinking, if we keep rolling like this then we are off the podium and will never catch the break, which is probably executing a perfect paceline and are all smiles and happiness. Damn! There’s no point saving myself just for 5th of 6th place. I tell Don, don’t work I’ll try to bring the break. Don got over 300 FTP and the best power to weight out of our team for the hill sprint. If he doesn’t work at least we might get that uphill sprint at the end. I get to the front and give a good dig at it for 5 min, stretch the whole field. We get some small train going and then Shama breaks it again.

I try to organize something again but can’t get anything going. At this point I know who the strong guys are. There are only couple of them that are in the front. I feel like by now, I know their FTP and their mother’s maiden name.

Plan B, I go to the first one of those dudes, and like a shy high school girl trying to get a date to the prom ask: “Do you want to on a break with me?” Reply: “Full discourse, I got a dude in the break”. Damn! Nobody wants to dance! I find one guy in the black shirt (the climber) and he’s willing. Good. I start the attack and we stretch the whole field. I try another time with another guy. And another time. Every time, Shama is bringing us in. After a while I stopped caring about bringing something with me and just start attacking of the front, willy-nilly. No go. They mark me and bring me in. It’s as if they figured out my plan after my 10 tries.

Plan C, I got to be really sneaky. I’m thinking I’ll wait for Shama to get on the front in the head wind and then attack from 7 places down. Get a good run at it. OK… Stretch of headwind. They go to the front into the headwind. They have to spend some energy otherwise you’ll just stop and roll backwards. I dig deep… all out sprint into the headwind from 7 places down. Great! It worked! I got a gap. It’s growing. I got maybe 15 seconds… I look back and they are chasing… uphill coming up… I’m trying to keep my power consistent… They are closing in… I crest the hill and they are 30 feet behind. I swerve to the right as if I’m giving up. I look back and nobody wants to close the last 20-30 feet. I’m thinking, they did a lot of work up that hill. I go at it again, this time no response. I see the gap growing and eventually I lost sight of them.

I spend maybe good 15-20 minutes at the front by myself and I’m thinking: what the hell am I doing? There’s a whole team in back and a whole break away in the front and I’m just here dangling in the middle. No way I’m going to time trial to the break by myself. They have over 2 minutes on me by now.

I look back Spangle and the Climber are bridging to me. Great! Ohh the pack is not that far behind. We start working but still not hard enough. We get swamped by the pack.

All of a sudden I see a new Shama guy. He got dropped from the break. Ha! Shama put the wrong guy in the break. They should have put Spangle in there. All of a sudden 5 guys are very motivated to chase. And we start working! Finally! I’m cooked but still… I start working with them and tell Don to stay back. Save yourself. We work for the whole last lap and close down over a minute.

Couple Ks to the finish and the gap is 2 min. I realize we are not going to bring the break in. They have 4 guys vs our 5 that are working. Not going to happen. So, I start slowly ramping down my pulls. At this point I think it’s only 6 or 7 of us in the chase group.

1 K to go slightly uphill, one of the Shama guys is leading out the train and guttering everyone hoping to keep the pace high to drop dead weight and sprinters. I’m sitting on his wheel. 500 meters to go uphill starts… 200 meters to go…. The climber starts an attack I get on his wheel. I look back and we got a small gap. I’m sitting in a nice draft. I light up my last big fat match get in the drops and do my thing. I cross the finish line with 2-3 seconds gap. The climber & Don got 2nd and 3rd respectively of out the chase.

Got 5th overall and managed to get my entry fee back plus a nice meal. Lesson learned. Don’t let a break of 5 go from the gun and don’t get into a swamp where everybody has a teammate up the road.
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.
Drago, Big Red
Home Town:
Austin, TX
Sprinter, Rouleur
Road Category: