Field: E4 – 54 Starters
Teammates: Rich and Simon
Finish: Rich 2nd, Simon 13th
Skinsuit: check … ready to roll, ready to race.
I came in to this race motivated and ready to give it a good shot. The course looked good and with an uphill finish I was happy.
The field started off with a bang; a motivated solo rider going off the front for a few laps. The pace was good, the course was technical enough to keep your mind occupied, and the time was flying by. I was gauging my effort the first handful of times up the main climb on the backside of the course; it was too far from the finish to win it there, but definitely a good spot to put the pressure on in the closing laps to ensure good position and string out the field.
I was maintaining good pack position and caught a sighting of Simon every now and then on or near the front (fluro helmets make it easy). He was obviously feeling good and ready for a good result …
With two intermediate sprints to contest a few moves were made, but nothing that continued on past the sprint point. The pack was riding well, no crashes, a few close calls but some good yelling kept most of us in line.
With 5 laps to go I made sure to be in the top 10. Penultimate time up the main climb the pressure went on, but only to string out the field, not a full attack. Holding 3rd wheel my aim was to stay there … I wanted to be up there for the sweeping descent after the finish line to ensure a clear run into the main climb for the final time. Coming through the ‘round-about’ at the bottom of the main climb I catch a glimpse of Simon and his fluro helmet next to me. I point to my back wheel … get on it … I was going to put the pressure on for the final climb and might as well have a teammate on the rear wheel.
We hit the main climb and I hit the front … watching the power … applying the pressure but ensuring I had reserves for the final uphill sprint. I found out Simon lost my back wheel when I jumped around another rider who effectively pushed Simon off our line … I should have been more aware, but I was focused on pushing on.
Leading the field over the final climb, we crest and I make a swift move to the left to bring someone else to the front. They obliged. I slotted back in 4th week … things were working out. The pace was being pushed all the way to the final finishing climb. The lead rider effectively pulls off there and 2nd wheel jumps (the eventual winner) … I jump from 4th wheel and give it everything I have. The sprint felt good, my gearing was spot on (surprising) and I was very happy to hold my 2nd position at the line.
Great result for Simon who sprinted to 13th … a great day out for KRR in a field of 54 starters!
Field: E3 - 48 starters ~ 15 DNP's
Teammates: Ben and Deniz
Finish: Deniz: 25th, Ben 33rd
Ben started out really aggressive already near the top 10. A few breakaway attempts started on hill on the backside, but I really think the E3 field is tired of breakaways sticking; so everything got brought back.
I was hanging out most of the time near the middle and back of the pack. Every time I would make an effort to move to the front of the field, massive surges on the hill would put a stop to any of my efforts.
with about 6 to go, massive attack by Sunil and Stephen (i think) and things get so strung out after the hill, I managed to open a gap between me and everyone else in front of me. I catch up with Ben, thinking that he was gonna stay on my wheel, I motor my way back on to the back of the pack again and thankfully they decided to take a breather on the next lap. Sorry Ben.. I should have waited for you!
Last lap. I'm sitting pretty near the middle of the pack, probably in the worst possible position if i wanted to contest the sprint. But we hit the hill, and POW! Everyone sprints.. people are crossing wheels, 2 guys go into the dirt but stay upright. Chris from Audi get his front wheel tangled up with another bike and bends his spokes. CARNAGE! I sprint my behind off to stay with the pack but the rubber band snaps.
I catch a Thirsty Bear dude with 150 meters to go and sprint with little have left in my legs to win the OTB sprint.
I really didn't know what to expect from this race, since its really not my type of course. I just wanted to finish with the race and not get pulled. I got a good workout in and it was just fun racing and hanging with the boys.
Field: E3/4 - 52 starters Teamates: Deniz, Mike, Rich, Simon
Place: Ben 10th, Rich 12th, Simon 18th, Deniz 37th, Mike 41st
Summary: Dry mouth much?
Here is Ben's Report:
This is the second crit in 2wks that I've enjoyed... I guess my minimalist training plan and Ben & Jerry's dietary supplementation has put me in fine crit-jockey form.
This might sound cheesy, but it's way funner racing w/ teamies than solo! The mixed e3/4's at the redkite races is a great format.
Day started out well when I didn't stick myself or Simon with the safety pins putting on his number. Stoked!
At the startline Rich said, "I was crazy dry mouth all race in the e4's". 1st lap, 2nd corner - I had crazy dry mouth!
Deniz "Mr Regalado ITT" chased down some crazy gaps (solo he caught a 4 or 5 man break!). Mike had a big dig mid race! Pace was nice and high almost all race, which made for safe racing.
...with 6 laps to go I flatted. Neutral 11spd wheel didn't fit my frame so the dude put in a 10spd (it was either try that or go home, so what the heck). I found a couple gears worked, good to know.
Between my flat tire and recovering from a swarm, unfortunately I didn't find Simon (our protected man), sorry dude! Last lap, Rich started his dig after turn 2... I was in 3rd wheel but could barely hold on. He rode on the front like that (monster) until the last corner when the field sprint opened up. My huge beast-mode sprint just got me around Rich by 1/2 a wheel at the line :)
Field: E3/4 - 33 Starters
Teammates: Richard, Deniz
Finish: Richard 5th, Deniz 26th
Here is Richards Report:
First ‘official’ race as a Knight Rider and the #1 domestique has come in full support; an early thanks to Deniz for his efforts on the day.
The plan for the race was to score some upgrade points, so a top finish was my goal. The course was meant to suit me; as many had told me the week leading up. I agree, but you never say that.
We were off on a 4 official lap race, but the 3 mile ‘roll out’ turned into about ½ mile and the lead moto pulled off and we were underway (4 and ½ laps to go). Laps 1 and 2 were contained, Deniz doing his part patrolling the front of the group. It still confuses me why people go off the front solo early, but it happens every race … and off goes “Despuech”**. Today was about patience for me; it would all be decided on the final climb up Patterson Pass road to the finish.
** (From “The Rider” by Tim Krabbe) “After one kilometer, a minuscule rider with a black rag-mop attacks: Despuech. Baloney. This race lasts 140 kilometers. Despuech is crazy. Despuech is only showing us that he doesn’t stand a chance in hell. He knows it too, but still it’s a fact; he has to choose between finishing at the back after shining, or finishing at the back after not having shone at all. Dozens of riders are now thinking the word ‘Despuech’, and people along the route will clap for him. And later all the riders will slide right over him, like a net over an undersized fish.”
Lap 3 saw a group of 3 ‘escape’ to no more than 200m up the road. Deniz was taking some time near the back and I was just focusing on good pack position, I maintained front 1/3 most of the day, doing some work but no more than needed. The pace was comfortable, which was giving me confidence to be ready for the last lap surge. We stretched our legs the penultimate climb up Patterson Pass and again I was feeling contained. The final lap was upon us and you could feel the peloton gaining energy. The pace picked up along Greenville Rd and with perfect timing Deniz is back at the front and in control.
I had my plan in my head, a 5min effort on Patterson Pass Rd to the finish.
Turning about 5th wheel onto Patterson Pass Rd for the final time you could sense the group was getting strung out. There were 4 Alto Velo guys, myself and Deniz and a few singles up in the front group. Leading up to the first ‘kick’ an Alto Velo guy attacks hard. I roll up to Deniz who is on the front of the group now: “Do you know him?” … what I really meant was “Is he worth chasing?” No reaction from us, and you could see by how he was fighting the bike he wasn’t going to survive solo. Deniz is now on the front, I am on his wheel. Deniz pulls off after a minute of two, his work done. I now find myself on the front of the group just before planned ‘go time’. Be patient I remind myself, and I quickly pull of the front and am pleased to find there are others very willing to take the breeze in their face. I force my way back in 3rd wheel. Good position. Solo breakaway man was passed. The kick comes, and we are off. It was hard. The strongest on the day and eventual winner won it there; he put 5m on the rest of us straight away. I found myself in 5th. HR through the roof. Making the final turn before you hit the ‘bump’ I glance back and see there is clear distance behind me. I had 5th wrapped up, but could I snare 4th? Pushing hard up the ‘bump’ I made ground but 5th it was going to be.
Thanks to Deniz for all the work on the front … and the final lap coverage, great timing and positioning.
Field: E4/5 - 45 starters
Teammates: Andrew and Deniz
Finish: Andrew 1st, Deniz 15th
Here is Andrew's Report
We arrive and I feel great. I feel ready, motivated. Deniz is my worker bee for the race. I’m not to do any work until the finish. It’s looking windy but not as bad as last week at Regalado.
So we set off. After the first half lap we are going pretty quickly and I’m near the front. We hit the tail wind section and we are doing around 35mph. We are booking. We take a left right left and left right into head wind and we are down to 20. Already. I’m like I’m barley winded. There are a few guys yelling at everyone not pulling through and one of them that is yelling is not pulling and he’s pretty quick in a sprint. I’m having none of that. I just take the verbal abuse and sit in. I feel great. That guy looks at me and says are you waiting for the sprint? I’m like yup.
Anyway. We stay pretty fast for until midway through lap 5. This is when the action starts to happen. The wind is taking its toll on the people overworking themselves. Deniz starts to pull through and I’m on his wheel. But I don’t follow allowing him to drift off the front. He looks back and I give him the head bob to get going. Although this is not a huge fast move this is the final blow for a lot of weaker riders leaving them off the back. The few strong guys take the bait and the chase is on. I’m just following the reaction and find myself on Deniz’s wheel on the tail wind section and I don’t remember how fast we are moving but fast enough that we are slowly getting dropped. I yell at Deniz “Dig Dig Dig!!” He is max at this point and I can see him start to steam ready to implode. I hit the gas and full out sprint to get to the leading 6 or 7 strong men before the crosswind.
I start to look at the 8 of us and no that I’m clearly the fresher one in the group. It stays this way with my half ass pulls shacking my head like I was hurting, until the last lap.
On the last lap a few guys are starting to putt in some serious digs. I mean full out pain. I hanging on for dear life. At one point I was dropped and had to go into the red to get back. Man that hurt.
We enter the last tail wind section until the left turn 1km out and I’m not feeling that amazing because of the recent attack I had to cover. Everyone slows and I regain my breath. I move up to 3rd wheel at 1km out. One guy seems to be giving everyone and his teammate a lead out and I see 200km approaching. I see the guy in front of me start to downshift so I kick really hard. And was leading all the way to the finish.
I screamed across the line. Couldn’t control it. Really amazing feeling to win my last 4 race in really tough conditions. I was very excited. Thanks for the teamwork Deniz. Couldn’t have done it without you. Later on that evening I send it my upgrade and not even 30 min later I find out that both Deniz and I are both approved for cat 3.
What a great day and week for our small team. 2 big wins in 2 weeks.
Field: E4 - 6 Starters
Teammates: Deniz, Andrew, Mike
Finish: Deniz 1st, Andrew, 3rd, Mike 4th.
Here is Deniz Report:
Leading up to this race, we weren't sure how many people would actually show up to the race. Would there be only 5 of us, or would they combine us with other fields. So race tactics would be kinda as we go, but since have numbers on our side, we had a general game plan going in.
As we get to the parking lot, we could tell the wind was gonna play a big factor. It was blowing pretty hard. As we roll up to the start, we still didn't know how many people would start the race, but then we saw that there was gonna be at least 6 of us in the E4, and they were not gonna combine us with any other fields.
After the neutral roll out to the course, Andrew takes a quick dig and already puts the non KRR racers on the defense. We make a left on to Stoddard rd and Andrew takes a dig and drags 2 guys with him.. Mike and I are with Mr. unattached and make him chase the 3 guys up the road. He flicks his elbow to let mike come through, but since Andrew is up the road, no work. After Mr. unattached keeps pulling for a few min, Mike tells me to go. Right before we make a left turn into the cross wind, I attack and mike goes after me. Now the other guy is cooked and is trying desperately trying to stay on Mikes wheel, and by the time we make the turn, we drop the guy and I sit up for Mike and bridge up to Andrew and the 2 other guys. 1 down, 2 more to go!
At this point we all pretty much soft pedal and catch our breaths. Mr. Unattached guy is within reach, but we still have enough of a gap for him to work extra hard. Right before we turn into the gravel, I move to the front and hit it hard on the gravel with a lovely head wind. Dayka-Hackett guy takes a dig on the left through the gravel, but I move over the road and stay on his wheel. At this point he sits up and goes back behind me. We make turn and we have some cross/tail wind and i keep the pressure on. By the time we hit the final straight before the paved roads, i look back and I see a gap. I look again to see if the non KRR guys are chasing, but it doesn't look like they are. So i keep riding at zone 4, and the gap keeps growing. Keeping it steady I just go into TT mode and see if i can keep the gap big enough. I take a look back before heading for the straight away to the finish line and the gap keeps growing.
I cross the finish line and I can barely see the rest of the guys. Knowing that Andrew and Mike are back there making the 2 other guys work to bring me back. If they can't organize something I might have a chance to stay away. TT mode on! Thank god for my powermeter. Goal was to stay right below my FTP and just spin and go hard as I could through the tailwind sections with out blowing up. I made sure i kept on eating and drinking as much as I could. 1/2 through the 2nd lap cramps started to kick in a big. but as long as I sat and spin, it would be ok.
On the 3rd lap, legs were hurting more and the wind was getting worse. At this point I knew I had a big enough gap to win it, and I just gotta make sure i don't crash, flat or blow up.
The last few KM's I look back to make sure nobody was behind me, and I could just spin to the finish and soak in the win..
Boy did that hurt.. Got my last 3 points that I needed to upgrade and defended my Regalado title :)
I could def not have done it with Andrew and Mike. Perfect teammates!
Field: E4 - 15 Starters
Finish: Deniz 2nd
Here is Deniz Report:
I warmed up for 20-30 min.. then I went as hard as I could for 28 min. It was dry at the bottom of the course, but once i got closer to the top, there was light rain, and that kinda fogged up and dew'd my visor on my TT helmet.. I could somewhat see, and was able to dodge a vulture eating some road kill on the course.
I caught my minute man about 4 miles into the course, and to be fair to him, he was riding a road bike and I think he raced the Wente crit in the morning.
At the turn around, it was really wet so I took it easy and even put a foot down to make sure I didn't slip out like Dan Martin at the Liege.. Then I went as hard as I could with some slight cross/head wind for the return leg.
I came across the line looking back to make sure the guy behind me didn't catch me. Looked like I held him off.
I ended up getting 2nd, and shared the same time as some other dude.. They couldn't get down to the 10th of a second, so we both got placed 2nd. The other dude left before we took the podium pic..
Good weekend for KRR with 3 top 10's!
Field: E4 - 25 Starters
Finish: Andrew 5th
Here is Andrews Report:
Felt pretty good before the race and a added bonus and some new wheels for the race that felt amazing. So we started off with 25. I new on the first prime that I would go for it to warm my legs up for the finish. I won super easy. My plan was just to chill until the end. 6 guys got off the front and it looked promising. This was the 2nd lap after the prime. So I went across pretty easy then they started to screw around and we got caught. I don't get how they formed the break and wouldn't work.
Anyway 2 laps to go I'm in great position in front and told myself that watch for the surge cuz it always happens. Bam. Surge lets go. On final lap I got super pitched in a right hander and had to almost stop to avoid not crashing. I then sprinted as hard and I could had got to the front at 500m to go. 7 matches gone lol. Then Audi clicked right as I sat down (LOL) and I had to mash again and mashed as hard as I could and photo finish for 5th. 3rd 4th and 5th are within half wheel length. Ouch.
I had to go deep passing almost the entire field in the last 800m or so I felt pretty good about my effort. 3 points away till I get my upgrade. They will come soon enough.
Field: E4 - 27 Starters
Finish: Mike 7th
Here is Mikes report:
I was up at 5am to pack the bike and drive 90 minutes to El Dorado hills for the race. It was cold and a little bit windy at the start of the race. The course is about 1 mile with 2 power climbs and lots of tight corners on narrow roads. There was 30 riders in the field at the start and 6 primes on offer.
We did a neutral lap paced by a moto because the course is so tricky they didn't want us crashing each other without seeing the course. After the neutral lap the moto pulled off and we were off. The pace was very high for the first ten laps as multiple attacks and primes kept the bunch constantly strung out. The twisty and tight course also made it difficult to move up and if you were at the back the constant accelerations were very tough to deal with. I stayed in the pack but was hurting early on and once the pace slowed a bit I moved up helped to bring back a two man break. There was a crash in one of the corners but other than that it was relatively safe.
Fast forward to five laps to go and the field was down to about fifteen riders. I was feeling a little bit better than the start of the race and needed to move up a bit to be in the best spot. At the beginning of the last lap I was slowed by a crash and had to make a small effort to catch up to the front six riders but with half a lap remaining we were all together but I was around tenth wheel. Down the back straight I had started to move up the outside but the rider in front of me swerved and I had to make a quick move in order to not get taken out. Into the last four corners and I was in 9th place with only the uphill sprint left. Out if the last corner I opened up my sprint but waited to move out of the slipstream until about 100 meters to go. I accelerated to the line and moved up two placings to finish in 7th.
Overall I am pretty happy with the result but would have loved to be top 5. The race was technical but the pace stayed high and this kept it relatively safe and not as stressful as other crits. The form is starting to come around and Cats Hill is next week followed by team duty for Deniz at Regalado and maybe Modesto.
Field: E4 - 15 Starters
Placing: Mike 5th
Here is Mikes Report:
Flat hot dog shaped course in Antioch. The wind was a strong crosswind that was going to hurt the small field at the start line (15 or so). I did a light warmup as my legs were a bit sore from riding in Marin with Andy the day before.
The race started and I was about sixth going into the first corner. The third wheel crashes and holds up the field but I tightened up the corner and avoided the fallen rider. Two riders are out front and myself and another were in the gap back to the main field. I was starting to bridge up to the front group but hesitated when I wasn't getting any help bridging the gap and wanted to play it safe for the rest of the race (a very bad idea).
The field regroups and starts to chase down the breakaway although the chase was half-hearted as their was only one team with more than one rider in the race. The gap stayed fairly steady at around 15 seconds and then about halfway thru the race people start to get tired of chasing and nobody wants to work (myself included). The gap grows out to about twenty seconds and with the windy conditions it was looking like a suicide move to try to bridge up to the leaders. The laps start counting down and we had dropped about five other riders in the constant accelerations that were required and the crosswinds. A field sprint for third was in the cards so I worked to get in a good position.
Out of the last corner I was in fifth wheel and waited too long to start my sprint so I was only able to pass two of those in front of me for 5th. Not a bad result but just out of the points so it was a little disappointing. I shouldn't have hesitated to bridge to the front riders in the beginning of the race as they stayed away from the first corner. It was fun racing in a smaller field as positioning is easier and moves aren't brought back as easily.
Field: E4 - 25 starters
Placing: Deniz 18th.
Deniz Race Report:
Drove out early Saturday morning with 2 aussies, Ben and Rich. While they were geeking out in their native language, I was trying to figure out what to expect out of this race.
2 years ago I raced this race and only finishing 1/3 laps, I told myself that i'd probably never do this race again. Well never say never. It is a really hard race, but there is def something about this race that makes you wanna come back..
Goal for the day? Do better than 2 years ago and finish the god damn race regardless or placing.
On to the actual race.
I was told to be near the front of the first lap and go all out to stay with the pack. Well I did exactly that.. I as soon as we hit the bottom of the hill after the feedzone, I was about 3rd or 4th wheel. Tempo wasn't too bad, but it wasn't easy either.. I'm feeling good and i'm able to hang with the climbers! We are about a few min from cresting where we hit the steepest part of the climb. I'm already pretty pegged and I try my best not too loose too much ground as I pack slide a little bit.. Hit another steep section and i'm at the tail end of the group and they are starting to gap me!
I catch up with a Pen Velo dude after cresting the climb and we work together to catch the main field. Thankfully, the group is riding easy, and we bridge up after a K.
Through the rollers and flat parts we all are taking it easy until the 2nd mini climb at the end of the course. I'm sitting mid pack, and a few guys punch it on the climb. Again, i pack slide and shoot past the last guy.
After i crested, I bomb down the bumpy ass descent and catch the field again at the bottom.
I skip taking a bottle a the feed zone since still have another bottle of Osmo to go through, and i figured that should last me another lap. We hit the bottom the 1st climb again, and I feel like we are going about the same tempo as the first lap. However, fatigue is setting in. 5 min in to the climb, I can no longer hold 350w to stay with the climbers and I slowly start pack sliding again. I take a few extra digs to stay on as long as I can, but with no avail. Gap is opening up and its time to pull the plug.
I catch up with another guy from Michael David Winery, and we both work together to see if we can catch the group. Once we crested the hill and looked up the road, it seemed like our efforts would be pointless since the rest was out of sight. We decided to just finish the last 2 laps and get a placing.
So I finished. :/
As punishment for not finishing with the rest of the group, I went on a 82 mile solo ride the next day.. Ya know, a recovery ride.