Waco Omni Stage Race

3-2-1-Go!  Hill starts the Time Trial.

3-2-1-Go!  Hill starts the Time Trial.

I didn't have very high expectations for this 3-stage omnium. Because of spring break and a business trip, I went into this race weekend over-rested.  For the power geeks, my TSB (Training Stress  Balance) had gone from -28 to +20 in 14 days.  Hill and I drove up to Waco on Friday night, but took advantage of his local connections to have his daughter pick up our race packets, and his mom to give us a place to stay and have breakfast ready.  What a treat!

Hill did the 35+ and I opted for the 50+, which raced together with the 40+ guys. The theme of the weekend was short, fast and intense. The TT was just under 3 miles, with 2 180 degree turns, and sharp 90 degree turn at the bottom of a steep hill.  We both had decent times, finishing 11 seconds apart and in the middle of our respective fields.

Michael takes the GC win in the 50+

Michael takes the GC win in the 50+

The crit course was fabulous....big sweeping turns, but you could never rest with 8 turns in .6 miles. Hill and I both had good results on Saturday.  He placed 5th in the TT and I was tied for 1st place in GC, with a 3rd in the TT and 1st in the crit.  Sunday's circuit race was a unique course: a 2 mile loop through Cameron Park. The signature feature was about a 600 meter climb up to the finish.  It was about a 90 second grind in the small ring. Both our races played out as expected, with a small bunch fighting up the hill for the top spots.  Hill finished in 6th place on Sunday,with a 7th overall in GC.  I had my eye on the guy I was tied with the whole race.  He led the whole push up the final hill, but I was able to pass him about 15 meters from the line and won the race  I got somewhat lucky because I wasn't paying attention to who took the intermediate sprint points and just won the GC by a single point.  Lesson learned: sprint for everything!

Fawley put on a great event...it's on the calendar for next year (Hill's mom is expecting us)!

Submitted by Michael Ereli

Racing in Louisiana

By sitting out last weekend's race, I got bumped from 3rd to 4th place in the Texas Cup standings for the 50+ category.  So, this weekend's race in Louisiana would not normally have been on my schedule, but I needed the points.  This races were being hosted by Team LaS'port out of Shreveport: a hilly 41 mile road race in Rocky Mount, and a crit the next day in Bossier City.  Ned, who had just completed the Leadville Trail 100 the previous Saturday, agreed to come along.

Reward from Rocky Mount, Louisiana

Reward from Rocky Mount, Louisiana

Neither Ned nor I had much expectations for the weekend. He had just complete a marathon event and driven back from Colorado that week, and I was coming back off of a 2-month recovery period which I try to take every June/July.  We were racing in a 40+ field, but I was mainly concerned about any riders who were 50+ and could take TXBRA points from me.  The road race took off from a tiny town, and included 3 laps with one decent climb at about mile 3.  Our field had about 30 riders, and I had done my homework on who the competition would be.  Based on USA Cycling's "Race Predictor" and the results from last year, I had 3 riders to watch: Chris Lowry (cat 1) from Houston, and 2 riders from Louisiana/Florida who had placed 1/2 the previous year.  After the first hot spot up the hill, I added another racer to my "watch list", a rider from OKC Velo who took the King of the Mountain sprint easily. Marcus Kuliska, from Houston, went off the front early with another rider.  As soon as we caught them, the field surged hard, but Ned and I stayed near the front.  On the last lap, at the beginning of the hot spot climb, 2 or 3 riders got tangled up trying to hang on to a surging pack and went down in the middle of the peloton. I swerved off into the grass to get around, but Ned had to practically come to a stop to get around. The pack jammed up the hill about 8 of us got away.  Ned and some of the others behind the crash had to chase for almost 9 miles before they caught back on.  The finish was difficult to gauge. At 1000 meters, you had a 300 meter hill, almost like the finish at Fayetteville, but then you had another 600 meters (flat to downhill) until the line.  I lost contact with the top 4 riders at the top of the hill and then got beat in the sprint to the line by another rider, ending up in 6th.  Somehow, Ned hung on for 10th place.
 

The crit on Sunday was a basic, "parking lot" layout, with 5 ninety degree turns and a long, loopy oval.  The race, and the finish, were almost identical to the day before. We chased a few breakaways, and on the last last lap, there were about 15 of us who had separated from (lapped) the field. I sprinted for 5th and Ned sort of coasted in for about 10th.  The same riders got who placed 1/2 on Saturday, did so on Sunday. The only lesson learned here was to PUT YOUR WHEELS IN THE PIT!  I flatted within the first 100 meters and had to go to the car to get a spare wheel since it was wheels in/wheels out. The officials gave me a "free lap" and put me back in the race, but I found out at the end that they counted me a lap down since I took so much time to get my repair.  

GCCA Masters at State Crit Championships

This year our masters team competed in the age-based Texas State Crit Championships in Roundtop, Texas, north of Austin.  Promoted as the Georgetown Grand, Holland Racing coordinated an family-oriented set of activities and a very professional series of races during the weekend of May 19-20.  Three of our team members competed in the 50+ race and one in the 40+.  With three teammates working together in the 45 racer 50+ field, GCCA was able to bring back the breaks and work for the fittest rider on that day.  With eight 90 degree turns and an uphill finish, the course was one that required power out of the corners and a constant effort to avoid gaps forming between our riders and the pack.  Corvin and Ned worked hard throughout the race to keep things together and give Michael the best chance to either get in a break, or fight for a top spot at the finish. Despite a couple of strong efforts, no break was able to stay away.  Michael remained tucked behind Ned until the last 600 meters of the race. Just 100 meters from turn 6, one of the strongest riders in the field made his jump to be the first into the turn.  Michael was able to jump onto the surging 5 or 6 riders and push his way into fourth place going through the final turn, and sprint to a second place overall.  A great team effort.

Ned, Michael and Corvin after the 50+ race.