Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gabe, throwin down at Sea Otter

35+ Cat 4 Road Race
The road race started bright and early at 8am on Friday morning. It was foggy, a bit chilly, and there was a constant breeze. The race got underway w/ the neutral start down into the valley where we were scheduled to run 6 laps and end w/ the final climb out of the valley to the uphill finish. There were 3 CR’s in the race w/ Pete Sproul, Mitch Karno, and myself. The game plan from the beginning was simple…. survive until the final climb and grind it out to the finish.

The race started off on the .5 mile climb at a hard tempo. The climbers were off the front and determined to split the group. Once at the top of the climb, it was carnage behind and the group was divided in half. We were down to about 25 riders in the lead group w/ all the CR’ers still present. The pace was a constant hard tempo around the course w/ the pace picking up every time up the .5 mile climb.

At the halfway point, we were down to 17 riders and going into the final 2 laps, it became evident that no one else was going to be getting dropped. The group appeared to take it a little easier on the final lap, saving their legs for the final push up the 2k finishing climb. Once we started climbing out of the valley, the pace picked up and riders started to drop off the back. Pete and I managed to stay w/ the lead group up until the final 1k where the hill kicked up and got steeper. Both Pete and I got unhitched and began to lose ground on the leaders. The race ended w/ Pete coming in 8th place and me right behind in 9th. Mitch gave it all he had and came in just outside the top 20.

Once I came across the finish line, I rode up to Pete to give him a pat on the back for a job well done. But before I could say “good job Pete,” his first words out of his mouth were, “Gabe, I finally beat you!” Apparently Pete wasn’t racing against the other 50 riders, his goal was to come in before me. What Pete didn’t realize was that once he attacked for his 8th place finish, I was playing the team role and blocking for him, guaranteeing his top 10 finish. Although Pete doesn’t believe my “blocking for him” excuse, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! As far as I was concerned, there wasn’t an inner squad rivalry between Pete and myself, but after Pete’s untimely comment, there is now!!! :o)

35+ Cat 4 Circuit Race
After Friday's road race, which was suited for the climbers, I was looking forward to Saturday's Circuit Race which was more suited to my strengths. The course is fast w/ one steep, but short climb.

The race started w/ a hard tempo leading into the first climb. I was surprised that the pace started so hard, so early. At the start of the race we had over 40 riders, but going into the final 6 circuits, we were down to only 8 of us. Of those 8, there were 2 teams represented w/ 2 riders each. And from the way all four of them were chatting, it appeared they all knew each other. With the 6 circuits remaining, one of the riders from the represented teams went off the front. I sat in waiting for someone to chase and see how the other team would react. It became obvious that there were 3 riders of the remaining 7 blocking and neutralizing any organized chase for the rider off the front. I glanced around and the remaining solo riders were looking gassed, including me. It was now a race for 2nd. On the final circuit and coming into the final corner, I positioned myself perfectly on 3rd wheel. I tried to catch everyone off guard and lead it out early, but I made the mistake of shifting down and sprinting at the same time. My chain didn’t like the torque w/ the shift, and the chain skipped. My plan of catching everyone off guard failed once my chain skipped and I had a hesitated pedal stroke. I did manage to wind up the sprint and hold on for a 4th place finish and a spot on the podium.

I left Sea Otter satisfied w/ my efforts and results. My goals coming into the races were top 10 finishes. I successfully accomplished my goals and exceeded them w/ a podium finish in the Circuit Race. With the season halfway over, it’s time to take a few weeks off from racing and start to recover physically and mentally.

See you on the road,


Greg Knowles said...

Sounds like all the cat 3 chicken ranchers made the 805 proud. Good job guys!

Anonymous said...


Time to upgrade to RED! Nice job out there....