Monday, March 26, 2007

Gainesville GA Cup - Competitive

The weather was perfect for the road race in Gainesville on Sunday -- about 60 degrees at 8am. MAX was represented in the competitive division by me and Richard Hilton, who was trying his first road race. I like the Gainesville course because it requires a few minutes of all-out climbing effort, then gives you some time to recover before the next big effort. That's an easier thing for me than sustained effort on the flats or low hills.

The competitive class had a big field -- about 80 riders (the field limit is 75, but they let a few folks register on race morning, I think). The new start/finish was on top of the small climb that follows the Mabry climb, and it was a much better location than the downhill finish last year.

The first time (of 6) up Mabry hill (a little less than a mile at about 8 or 9%), the front group lost about 50 riders off the back. There were lots of Aarons riders and a couple of other teams had 3 or 4 riders each. After the second climb, we had about 20 or 25 riders in the front group, and two riders went off the front. They stayed out there a long time (I think at least a couple of laps), but were eventually pulled back.

The front group kept changing in size, because we'd lose 5 or 10 riders each time up Mabry hill, then some riders would chase back on by the time we reached the other side of the 10k course. At the base of Mabry on the final lap, I think we had about 18 in the group and two guys with a small lead off the front. Lots of hard accelerations strung the group out pretty good on the last climb and then we broke up into a few clusters as we approached the finishing hill. There were a few guys behind me from the front group, but not many. I finished 16th, and was very pleased with my ride. Richard did well for a couple of laps and had a good intro to road racing.

A few notes from other races:

  • Keith, Todd, and Brett from MAX rode the TT on Saturday.
  • Christian won the elite TT on Saturday, had a decent crit, picked up a few KOM bonuses in the RR, and won the General Classification.
  • Jeff rode well in the elite crit and the RR. He stayed in the front RR group for several laps, threw a chain, chased back up, drifted back on the hill, chased back up again a couple of times. I think he finished about 15th.
  • Bill, Ron, Dale, and Andy (Roadmasters) and David Parett rode hard in a Masters RR with a very tough field, but I don't know any results.
  • I think Chad finished 8th in the pro crit, then did a lot of work early in the RR.