Field: E4 – 32 Starters
Finish: Rich 4th
Racing this course earlier in the season I had led the field for the last half lap and came in to the final corner top 3 and then got swamped on the line taking 12th … so this time I forced myself to be patient and contest the sprint.
The first 35mins of this crit were mellow; a few surges but without any teammates I was content in sitting in the bunch and letting others do the chasing and just focus on position in the final 2 laps. With 2 laps to go I found myself in the top third of the bunch. Final lap and I worked my way up to 5th in the bunch, coming in the final corner I was where I wanted to be. I was able to contest the sprint and worked my way through a few riders to take 4th.
Ideally (hindsight) I should have moved up a few more positions prior to that final corner. Hiding 5th or 6th for most of last lap and then making the final turn in 2nd for 3rd would be ideal … lucky I had another opportunity later in the day.
Field: E3/4 – 38 Starters
Teammates: Rich, Simon and Deniz
Finish: Rich 6th, Simon 14th, Deniz 34th
Racing with teammates is a whole lot more fun …
With Simon and Deniz both achieving their upgrades for this season (whoop whoop) I had two teammates working for me in this race … the plan was to ensure a bunch finish and for Simon and Deniz to lead me out on the last lap.
It’s a great feeling being able to sit in the bunch knowing your teammates are up front doing some work … evil laugh. Both were very active throughout the race closing down gaps and covering many surges … many thanks! Coming in to 2 laps to go, the bunch together, the race was about to begin for me. Crossing the line with 2 to go I made my move on the inside and worked my way up to about 10th wheel. The pace was high and the bunch was starting to string out. Hitting the bell lap I see Deniz come around the outside and hit the front on the back straight of the course … I had moved up to about 5th wheel … here was my lead out. Deniz pulls off just before the second last corner and I am feeling good. Coming in to the final turn it was on and I had been able to move up to 3rd, behind the eventual top 2. I was really pumped to keep this position but my line in to the final corner wasn’t good … slightly impacted by the line taken by the rider in front of me but I should have done better. Loosing speed, I was left to contest the minor placings, eventually taking 6th (a close finish for 4th through 7th).
Happy to have taken a top 10, but disappointed not to have finished it off better after all the work from Simon and Deniz.
Great work by Simon to take 14th after all his work throughout the race and hats off to Deniz for hitting the front on the final lap.
Field: E4 – 38 Starters
Finish: Rich 4th
Here is Rich's report:
At 86miles (138kms) this was the longest race I had done in some time, coming in to the race I had no idea how my legs would hold up. The mood was good at the start line with a few jokes going around the group, so I was hoping for a rather enjoyable day.
Over the first few miles I found myself in the top few in the group, which ended up being a great place to be as I could clearly see the potholes that ended the race very early for a few in our group and many more from the other categories (including Deniz … major downer).
The race was two 43mile (69km) laps.
Lap 1 was very contained. A few accelerations but no breaks and the group seemed very happy to let the racing begin on the second lap; there was even an agreed neutralisation for a nature break nearing the end of lap 1.
Moving in to Lap 2 knowing the racing would begin. The pace was increased but steady. 100km in and people were getting anxious, including myself. A few breaks went, but only 1 to 3 people at a time, and they were closed down quickly and I was happy to do my part in doing so.
Then the best move of the day went. 4 riders went off the front; strong riders. I was sitting about 4th wheel in the chasing bunch. “Next person to go and I am on their wheel” … I tell myself. Bang … off goes Philly from the WYLD STALLYNS Racing team. I jump and get on his wheel … look back … it is just the two of us. We bridge the 100m to the break and we now have 6 guys ready to work together. We stayed off the front for 10-15mins, rolling through. The move caused a reaction from the bunch and we were pulled back with about 25kms to go.
The pace stayed on and steady for the remainder of the race. A few surges and attempted moves, but nothing that worked or that was looking like it was going to work; a sprint finish was on its way and my focus now was on positioning. I found myself at the front of the group often, but there was a good group of us willing to roll through. With less than 5kms to go a single rider goes off the front and was holding us off; I found myself at the front and the yells started to come from the group … “go go go” “if we want to get him we need to go now” … I had no intention of burning all my matches to pull the group up to the breakaway rider. I turn to the group a little frustrated … “well stop talking about it and do something!”. That got them going and the group started to work together again.
Turning on to the overpass with 2kms to go I am at the front of the group, not knowing where the finish is I wanted to get a visual of it as we crested the overpass.
1km to go and the single breakaway rider is going to be pulled back. With 500m to go there is a fast left/right set of turns. A few guys, including Philly, take the left too hard and wide and take it through the dirt. No crashes, but race over for them.
We make the final turn and the line is there … 200m away. I was in great position, 4th wheel and a sprint ‘lane’ was there and open. I open up but have to shut it down quickly as the rider to my right cuts through my line. I freewheel over the line for 4th place … a great result, but knowing that there was a “what if” - what if I could have put in my full sprint; but that is racing and overall very happy with how the legs felt after 138kms of racing.
Field: E3 - 49 starters
Teamies: Mr Merco (Ben), Mr Regalado (Deniz) and Mr Modesto (Andrew)
Place: Ben 15th, Andrew 24th, Deniz DNF
Here is Ben's Report:
Dunnigan was a bit more successful for me than my last 2 races. Pack finish, horray!!!
The course is 2x 43mi (-ish) laps. Mostly flat, good-reasonable pavement, but a couple bumps and fun corners. Personally, I really like this course (especially as I climb like a turtle these days).
Couple attacks - especially from Adam Martin who one the Jens Voight award; Andrew had a dig on the 1st lap too and bridged up to the 2man break but they just shrugged at him which sux.
Lots of flats - we past five p/1/2 riders at about 1/2mi into the race; Deniz flatted at the 1st corner which sucked big time! Sunil flatted but managed to chase back on (Monster!!!) Probably 10 flats in our field all told!!!
Crashes - we had 2x crashes within at about mile 80 and 81. I think people we're on the rivot and starting to black out (I know I was), and that's when mistakes happen.
We chased back the final break with about 4mi to spare, so the pace was on. I took the wrong line in the final sprint, but didn't have the legs to jump anyway.
Congrats Rich and Simon for their great results this weekend!!!
Was stoked to have teamies to race with, thanks Andrew and Deniz!!!
Field: E3 - 28 starters
Result: Simon 5th
Here is Simons Report:
After a 15-minute warm-up (longest all season), the race got underway. My only goal in this first race as a Cat3 was to not get dropped. Being so, I stayed mid-pack most the time. About half way through the race, I unintentionally broke off the front for about a lap and a half. The field caught me but I hadn’t wasted much energy so I hopped right back into the field of 28.
With two laps to go, a Michael Winery rider gunned it to the front and tried to break away. I was on his wheel for a lap and a half. Going into the last turn, I had just broken off second wheel and was setting up for a full sprint. I was going all out when I clicked into a gear just a bit too big for my own good. I was passed by some heavy gunners but managed to throw my bike for what seemed like fifth/sixth place.
After a brief cool-down and some time, I checked results and voilà! 5th place. My prize was a Suisun Harbor Criterium T-shirt and 1 upgrade point.
Much happy. Very bicycles. So wheels.
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.