yeah, i’ve been slacking on the site. and so, to fill in some space … the return of RANDOMS!
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yup, it’s here again … that logistic nightmare of a race held in a dying mining town in southwest NewMexico. Racing in New Mexico is like dating the less attractive sibling of the person you’re really interested in.
and if you’re not careful, you might like it. and then where does that leave you?
Apparently, ValueActCapital’s hired gun Leah Goldstein was able to destroy herself more than the rest of the girls and take the new Stage 1 out in Mogollon. Historically Gila has begun with the TT … setting in stone a lot of the team tactics as boys and girls meter their efforts accordingly the final 4 days of racing. But this year, with the TT as stage 3 … i think it’s opened up this race like x-mas.
The men’s opening stage was trounced by the messicans from Tecos. I always remember those guys coming up and stinking shit the first couple days at Gila … then rocking everyone to smithereens on the final climbing stage. This year they get to ride at the front from stage 1 and see what it feels like. I’ll be very, very surprised if that team survives the Inner Loop stage today. But, wouldn’t that be awesome for us brownies!
The Inner Loop stage is one i’ve always loved … the climbing is shorter and more position-oriented, and the descents are MADNESS! It’s a stage for the hard all-arounders and I just don’t see Tecos able to keep all those Tour of Georgia legs under control. I know a few legs were heavy coming straight from the southeast to Gila … so, look for today to be an absolute streetfight. damn … wish i was there.
I think ValueAct will be able to defend the big Israeli’s lead for the women’s race. And, i dont’ think there will be anyone who can challenge Goldstein in that TT … she knows it like the copious veins on the back of her hands. I remember she and a teammate of hers at the time stayed with us up in Reno for a couple weeks to do some altitude training … and all i can remember of her was that a) she is like some military commando who can kill 200lb men without spiffing her hair-do or breaking a sweat; and b) she was so, so, soooo pro. This chick took biking to bidness, if you know what i mean.
So, i think she’ll run rail to rail at this year’s Gila … but it will be hell-work for those VAC chicks. Allpress, Ruiter, and their new recruit from Proman Zell are positioned well in the GC … so, can mark attacks if needed or just line up and ride tempo for their leader. Should be interesting.
And since logistics are so daunting for this race, it looks like rival teams are in the 3-5 range for numbers … which will make it even harder to push VAC off the hot seat. My guess? look for Aaron’s to try and rock the GC.
Hey, and our own Max H-Stiles is sitting well in 4th in the incredibly competitive Cat2 field at Gila. As we know, Gila has been the launchpad for a number of young pro’s making their way into the public eye. Nice work, Max … keep it cool, calm and collected today, bud.
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Giro day Italia ~
you know, i think this race is starting soon.
. . . Y A W N . . .
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Wente Crit redux ~
jayzuz, we gotta work on that ~ i think i’ll just call them the SugarESpecials.
Anyway, the SugarESpecials were all over the Wente crit … sealing the deal with another field sprint win for MaryEllenAsh. Ash has won or podium’d on big event cross country mtb races, SuperD’s, road races, and even a track shindig, or two.
i mean, c’mon … that’s my kind of rider.
But having the juice in the legs to finish off a 300m headwind sprint is one thing ~ staying safe and well positioned in the pack is another. The SugarESpecials do their work in riding as a team … spreading responsibilities and thinking on their feet, er… pedals.
excellent squad to watch.
But, it’s probably a good idea to talk about some of the crashes out at Wente this year. In the women’s race, there was a 2nd $100 prime that was viciously fought for by a number of riders. The effort was massive and Hanan Alves-Hyde was able to nip it across the line. The acceleration for the prime strung out the pack for 70-80 meters down the finishing stretch … and, predictably the front sprinters began to slow down and recover, waiting a few seconds for the pack to catch them.
Well, like any strong field will do … the slow down after the prime sprint jump started a few riders to launch counter attacks. It’s a perfect time to do so, but also a tricky bit of bike negotiation if there is a swarming of the pack … because a swarming can shut the door in an instant on your attack. In this instance at Wente, some counter attacking rider(s) saw an opening inside of one of those slowing prime sprinters … just enough room to the right of the rider and the curb – it was narrow, but there was room.
Now, diving inside a rider isn’t against the rules and often can be no danger at all … however, it is still ALWAYS a risk and absolutely contingent on communication. Sometimes, a quick “inside” spoken (not yelled) to the rider you want to dive under is all that is needed to keep that rider from over-reacting when they feel you swoop by on the inside. But, if that rider isn’t expecting you to dive under and … well, maybe is a bit in the red after a hard effort … mayhem can ensue.
And at Wente, mayhem did ensue. The prime sprinting rider wasn’t prepared for the inside pass of another and reacted instinctively by moving left to avoid the inside diver. That caused a bump from the rider on her left, and … the falling began.
It’s all riders responsibilities to choose actions that will ensure safety, in my opinion. It’s like the proverbial tango taking two. So sometimes … it’s just not worth it.
and related … is the bad habit of corner diving. As we all know … sometimes the pack will take a line through a turn that is neither the fastest nor, sometimes, the safest. However, often the unsafe-r thing to do is dive into that corner to move up a couple spots. Hopefully we all know what i’m talking about … cuz i’m out o’ minutes on the blog-O-meter.
But to take a moment more, if there is room on the inside of the corner for you to dive into … remember, there may not be room AFTER the corner as you drift into the line the pack is now taking. We all do it … but it’s certainly a more advanced move and one that we should know the consequences of if using it.
but whatevah, i’m out o’ time. lates,
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