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My 2nd Cat 4 race, solo break at 18 miles to go and getting bridged by one rider around 5 miles to go.
Report Date:
Saturday, 15 Sep, 2018
While low numbers continue to plague this road race series, Andrew Martin was one of 3 entrants in the 40+ field. With that being so, it was combined with 4/5. So, while being a cat ... more3 and a shorter distance, it was time to sandbag and have some fun. The plan was to try to blow the race apart, punish the cat 4/5 racers, and in the end, hopefully help out a few former Bat City racers to a good result. It was the decided the best way to do this was attack from the gun and just keep launching bombs all morning. An early 4 man break started, but it fell apart after a few miles due to not everyone pulling hard enough. Up over the wall and the ensuing climbs, Andrew kept attacking with one of the Bat City riders and over the course of the 4 laps the group did get whittled down, with about 2/3 of the field remaining at the end. There was just one 40+ racer who didn't contest the finish, so Andrew rolled over the line to collect the prize money of the day to cover expenses. Looking forward to the next San Marvelous race, but definitely going to be jumping back in the 3/4 where he belongs.
Report Date:
Saturday, 5 May, 2018
A new Texas Cup road race on the TXBRA calendar in 2018, the Jacob's Well Road Race was advertised as a hard man's race, and it stayed true to it's name. Plenty of hills, wind and ... moretight farm roads made the course an instant classic. The Night Owls had Ramsey and Andrew in the 40+. Both were active at and off the front at times. Throughout the race, it was difficult for any breaks to get established. Most often, it was a solo break from DNA that dangled out there. There was one danger 2 man break but it was eventually brought back and a bunch gallop was inevitable. But before the field could get to the finale, there were a few climbs that ultimately broke up the field and created a selection of about a dozen strong men. Although initially dropped, Andrew was able to fight back to make the selection. On the run in, one of the stronger climbers in the field, Alex Rodriguez (ATC), was able to force a gap with another rider on a climb and it was able to stick. The rest of the chasers couldn't get organized as there was no team make-up that could work or counter off each other. In the sprint, Andrew ended up settling for 11th. But a great course, a great race, a great day.
Report Date:
Sunday, 22 Apr, 2018
Quick writeup here. The race was off to a really fast start with other strongly represented teams sending guys off the front regularly. One such break looked like it was developing ... morewell, with about 4 guys and two from one of those teams. I decided to try my luck at bridging up despite my pre race goal of not doing anything stupid prior to half way through. After bridging up we worked pretty well together for a lap or two then a few more people bridged up including my Ramsey. I believe by this point we had about 8 people in our breakaway with a 5-10 second gap on the main field. Didn't seem like the other teams were willing to give it full gas for the lap or two it would have taken to really solidify the break. At one point this group broke up and I ended up with one other guy off of the front. Manged to work with him for a lap then sprinted and got the preem! At this point I needed to recover a little bit so I let the main field catch back up. Shortly thereafter it all came back together and stayed that way until the end. Ramsey kept himself in perfect position to contest for the win in the final sprint, and I was able to jump from about 25th place in the pack to get 8th in the final lap. Overall really fun race and great victory for the team! Now to defend the jersey...
Report Date:
Thursday, 22 Mar, 2018
Late again, we barely made it to the starting line, due partly to me, and partly to a huge traffic jam on I-35. But they kindly waited an extra 5 minutes for us to make it to the line, ... moreand the race was on, sort of.. For the first 20 miles, we rolled easy. One rider was off the front solo, but none of us were worried. It's an 84 mile race. The field was small, maybe just over 20 riders. Giant Lakeside had 4-5 riders, and were clearly targets to keep an eye on.

By mile 20, Giant started to attack the field. Dennis and I took turns covering the moves, and letting other people in the field do some work too. I took a couple of fliers that failed, because a Giant rider would follow me, but not contribute. By mile 30, another attack went. Dennis went to cover, and I moved towards the back. When the field settled, I counterattacked, and dragged the same Giant rider who was marking me before. I thought it was another failed move, until I saw 3 other riders bridge up, with a gap behind them. We caught the solo breakaway, and formed a 6 man paceline. The rest is in the video.

We got another good result. Now, the goal is to switch our focus to criteriums in April and May.
Report Date:
Saturday, 17 Mar, 2018
Last time I was in a pro race a couple of months ago, I got dropped, my legs cramped, but the beating I took that day made me get my act together. This time, I came more prepared.... more

I can't say the same for my teammate, who showed up to the race with 15 minutes of sleep the night before (again). I know owls are supposed to be nocturnal, but Jesus.

Nevertheless, we both did pretty well. Didn't I say we'd come out swinging?
Report Date:
Sunday, 4 Mar, 2018
The initial breakaway for the hilly 60 mile race started at just mile 7. We had maybe 6-8 guys with us. Some bridged up, some dropped. There were a few attacks up the hill to shed ... morethe fat, and that turned out to be the right thing to do, because they were slowing us down. At mile 30, I could feel my right leg starting to cramp, probably because I worked hard in the first few laps trying to increase our gap on the descents. As a result, I was careful about burning my matches, and spinned my legs out as much as possible.

After a couple of attacks in the break, four of us remained, a junior, Strike Cycling, and Daswow. The Daswow guy (Tyler) initiated the attacks out of the breakaway, and was the one I had my eye on. He was wily, and started skipping pulls. It was hard to tell if he was actually tired, or saving for final lap. Eventually, he dropped his chain, and off the back he went. It was better for the breakaway, because his contribution to the group at that point was minimal.

Three of us remained. We eventually had a 1:30 gap on the field. I actually dropped my chain twice, but was lucky in that I was able to save both while on the bike, and chase back on quickly. Eventually, our pace settled, and I began to plot my move. With a cramping leg, initiating attacks up the hill, followed by prolonged intense effort to the finish was out of the question. I could only follow the attacks, and hope I don't cramp. The junior had a highest gearing of 53/14, meaning he'll spin out on the down hills. Strick Cycling (Patrick) isn't the best at descents or corners. So my plan was to attack on the steepest descent ~1600m before the finish, in order to create my separation for the win.

The rest is in the video
Report Date:
Saturday, 3 Mar, 2018
Since the Tommy K race a month ago, I've been focusing on adopting more structure into my training. Intervals were mandatory. We're still building up to full fitness, but our work ... morein the last few weeks paid off. Our team were represented in the winning breakaway, and I broke away from the field solo and took 7th. I was pleasantly surprised by how well we did, this being only my 2nd race as a cat 2. But the job's not done. We want more podiums.
Report Date:
Sunday, 25 Feb, 2018
For the first omnium of the season, the Night Owls send two racers, Andrew Martin and Mark Bozarth-Dreher, to compete in the 3/4 and 4/5, respectively. The omnium format for the Davy ... moreCrockett Classic was a Saturday AM 8 mile time trial, a Saturday afternoon downtown criterium and a Sunday road race. The biggest challenge of the weekend was the wild weather. Saturday morning was misty, but still a warm enough 63 degrees. But by the afternoon criterium, a cold front was blowing in with temps dropping to the lower 40s. By Sunday, the temperature was downright brutal for a bike race, a steady 33 degrees, not warming up a single degree the entire morning or afternoon.

In the time trial, Mark put in a great ride for a top 10 finish and Andrew finishing mid pack. The key in a time trial is your equipment. Mark was on a road bike with clip on bars. Andrew on a road bike. While there were some hills to negate the advantage of a time trial bike a bit, the long flat sections were advantage to those on time trial machines.

The downtown criterium course was slightly changed from the initial course presented in the race bible. Instead of a "L" shaped course, racers were looking at a rectangular course, with the north end more of a rounded turn around the Houston County courthouse. Crockett is the Republican capital of Houston County. One visit to the Moosehead Cafe in downtown Crockett and you can see why. Reminder: Hillary lied! Mark was first up in the 4/5 criterium. On one of the opening laps, he was attempting to bridge to one of the early attackers. This looked like it was going to be a brilliant move as the early attacker from Dallas Bike Works ended up staying away, picking up all the lap bonuses and with his 3rd place finish in the road race on Sunday would sew up the overrall. However it was not to be as during the bridge attempt with another rider, Mark got caught up in a crash as the other rider crashed coming out of the southern 90 degree turn and could not avoid it. Instead of taking his free lap, Mark attempted to chase, but could never catch on to the field. He ended up being out of the hunt for the overrall, and in retrospect should have taken the free lap, but lesson learned for next time. In the 3/4, Andrew was very active. An opening lap attack didn't stick and it was coming down to a bunch gallop for 2nd as a rider got away with 2 to go. Andrew made the decision to try to be the first out of the southern corners to see if he could get enough of a gap to hold off the field. However, the two 90 degree turns were not taken agressive enough and he came out of the corners onto the finishing straight into the headwind with not quite enough of a gap. He was caught with 300 to go and rolled in 23rd. This aggressive decision took him out of any hope for the overall.

As mentioned the Sunday road race was in brutal conditions. In the 3/4, a few guys rolled off early and stayed away for the majority of the race. Andrew tried getting in a few moves to attempt to bridge, but the field wouldn't let him off the leash. As there was a little precipitation, it was still so cold that glasses weren't fogging up, but theywere icing over! A rolling course with some pretty sizeable climbs in this lollipop course didn't whittle the field down too much as the final 15 or so miles were straight headwind. Once into the headwind section, Andrew made sure to stay up front in the top 15 as this race was headed for a bunch sprint. He put himself in great position for the slightly uphill sprint, but didn't unleash a very good sprint due to the combination of a decision for a bad wheel to follow as opposed to following the wheel of the winner, Will Sharp from Hot Tubes, and starting the sprint too late. But a finish of 5th was still a great result due to really good positioning. In the 4/5, it was a large field of 80 racers. Mark did launch a solo attack early on, but was never given more than 30 seconds was was brought back before the tailwind section. He did a tremendous job of staying up front and was able to get away late in the final 3 miles from home with one other rider. They worked together well to keep a gap and Mark finished it off solo with a few bike lengths over his late break buddy. It was a fantastic result for Mark in just his 3rd road race, showing not only his power but his race management.

Overrall it was a fun weekend of racing in Crockett, Texas and great results for the Night Owls. The locals were all very welcoming and happy to have the racers in town. Hopefully next year, there will be a bigger squad and you will see the Night Owls up there fighting for the overall.
Report Date:
Thursday, 22 Feb, 2018
TL;DR - DNF, not enough training, need to plan things better Last year (2017), Tommy Ketterhagen raced for the last time here. There was a breakaway, where my teammate Dennis won. ... moreI was riding behind them with the main pack, in good position for the field sprint, but just didn't have the legs at that time of year to close it out. Tommy sprinted right past me, won the field sprint, and gave a nice self-congratulatory "WHOOO." My immediate thought was - ok, this kid's been training. A few days later, I saw on social media that Tommy was killed in a hit and run, by a distracted driver. I didn't know him personally, but as a cyclist in the cycling community and an avid cyclist who frequently navigates these increasingly dangerous roads, his death struck a chord with me. This year, the race was named after him, and Kelley did a great job organizing it.

6:00 AM. the alarm went off. race was at 9, I needed to pick up 2 teammates, and there's an hour drive. But I hit the snooze anyway, because I only had ~3.5 hours of sleep, and my monkey brain thought that an extra 10-20 minutes may somehow help rectify that. I've been doing this for 3 years now, and should know better, but long story short, the three of us arrived at the race with only 20 minutes to spare. I realized that my license wasn't even up to date. We all scrambled to try to register, change, put our bikes together and make it to the staging area. Dennis (who was racing with me, and somehow manages on NO sleep) and I both only managed to pin on just one number. It was my responsibility to make sure we get there on time, and I dropped the ball. But when you're on the bottom, there's nowhere to go but up.

And we were off. I see the familiar faces, some in new kits, most were better cyclists than me, in almost every aspect. I wish I could be more optimistic, but I was coming out of off season with an average of 6 hours of training a week. Most of everyone else were doing proper base training of 12+ hour weeks. The plan was to basically hang on, try to stay near the front, react to attacks, and make the break, which was bound to happen on a windy day like this one. The efforts I was making just to keep up felt harder. Before long, I found myself near the back of the peloton. the sight of 80+ riders strung out in the distance in front of me was an awakening of how much competition there was.

So I got in the zone. Having only access to one lane of road to share with 80+ riders, moving up was difficult. But there were always moments and places, where the opportunities to move up would surface. I used every safe opportunity to move up, and gradually, ended up in the top 1/2 - 1/3 of the field. It wasn't enough. Shortly after the first lap, there's a surge, and a gap opened. It grew, and grew. Some riders up front saw what's happening, and attacked. Nobody wanted to close the gap, and I was on the wrong side of it, too far back to be able to do anything about it. Most of the strong riders were in that selection, and I thought that was it. We're done, enjoy the rest of the training ride.

For 3-4 laps, we chased. Initially, I thought there was no way we were catching them. But the breakaway seemed to consisted of 20+ people. I imagined a group that large would have its share of slackers who weren't pulling their weight. Meanwhile, there were a few willing guys on our sides who weren't giving up, guys who probably should be with the other group, but weren't. We took turns chasing. I helped out some, and tried to get some pace lines going. There were times when we got as close as 200 meters to the lead group, and times when they were out of sight. On lap 4, someone jumped, someone else followed, I was near the front, and I reacted to the move as well. Looking back at my power data, it was not a huge effort, but it definitely felt like one at the time. My legs just weren't conditioned to handle repeated surges like that this time of year. I don't know how many were able to latch on to the attack, but all of the strong guys bridged up to the breakaway. There were a few more surges of strong guys in our new group trying to get away, and us other guys reacting to the moves. Eventually, I could start to feel the cramps building up in my quads with each hard pedal stroke. The acid was filling up the blood. I started to move back, hoping to allow the rest of the pack buffer the acceleration, so that I can hitch a ride near the back. That didn't happen. The last guy went by me, and I was done. In the distance, I saw my teammate Dennis chasing down a gap. It looked like it hurt..

I was dropped, but I had also just past the finish line, and decided to do another lap. Stragglers from the initial pack split apart, and turned into smaller packs of 6-8 people. Michael from Voodoo was in one of them, which was doing a paceline. "Might as well get some training in," he said. I did about one rotation with them, before my legs were cramping up. both of them. everywhere. I came to a stop, and stood there, in the middle of the road, for maybe 3 minutes, doing micro stretches, careful to not fully cramp, because I knew if I did, I would fall right over, and it would totally suck. Eventually, I started pedalling again, and came across another group of stragglers. These guys were doing "conversation pace." perfect. The silver lining is that the race was a rude awakening, letting me know, exactly what I needed to do to be up there with the big dogs: ride more long rides, do more intervals, better manage calories, get enough sleep. Give us a couple of months. We'll come out swinging.
Report Date:
Sunday, 21 Jan, 2018