• feed is down …

    by  • May 1, 2008 • race coverage • 19 Comments

    yeah, i’ve been slacking on the site.  and so, to fill in some space … the return of RANDOMS!

    – – –

    oy.jpgTour of the Gila ~

    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!

    nosquirrels.jpgThe 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.

    israeli_might.jpgI 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.

    – – – –

    Giro day Italia ~

    you know, i think this race is starting soon.

    . . . Y A W N . . .

    – – – – –

    Wente Crit redux ~

    woos_finish.jpgwell, i have to say that i’m growing more and more into the fanclub of the women’s EastonSugarCRMSpecialized team.  But that team name … ?

    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.

    or_crash.jpgand 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,

    ~m

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    19 Responses to feed is down …

    1. jenvm
      May 1, 2008 at

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m so proud of our team and accomplishments. We have that magic combo this year of great women who are talented riders willing to race for one another and appreciate each others’ efforts regardless of results. It’s a special season for us, so your nickname is perfect! Thanks again.

    2. May 1, 2008 at

      JVM, you’ve worked hard to put together that dream team. congratulations on all that you do! you deserve all the success you’ll see this season.

    3. chatterbox
      May 1, 2008 at

      hernando – thanks for the updates on Gila and such. I know I can trust this as my go-to site for updates – esp. on the action amongst the X chromosome crowd. Go VAC! Go SugarESpecials!

      Also, thanks for the reminders on the corner diving. I was using that a lot last year to move up, because I was too scared to move through the middle of the pack (and so I did something yet more dangerous???? doh!). Anyway, I’m now working on using the ‘through the middle’ method of moving up. It’s less ‘instant gratification’ and more finesse, but I’ll get there.

    4. roman kilun
      May 1, 2008 at

      In my opinion, if you have to say “inside” when going through a corner you are probably about to do something dangerous. Plus, some people have an irresistable urge to shut the door when someone comes in hot and yells “inside.”
      To be clear, I think its fine to pass on the inside when there is room.

      Lets take each keep each other safe.

      Roman

    5. Michael Hernandez
      May 1, 2008 at

      don’t yell and doors open up like magic.

      and remember, we’re talking about passing when there’s a speed differential and riders may not expect anyone passing them … not cornering.

      but with cornering, cutting the inside tangent is always going to cause problems in the long run, even if there is room.

      sure, we can get away with it (lord knows i do) 9 times out of 10, but that one time when it goes bad not only hurts the one doing it, but the riders we bang into.

      nah, it’s rarely necessary to chop corners or try to advance in them. when it is, everybody is usually ‘game-on’ and prepared.

      but when it’s lap 4 of an hour crit … i think that’s silly and try to avoid it myself.

      most the time.
      m

    6. Michael Hernandez
      May 1, 2008 at

      oh, and chatty … getting the fitness is half the fun!!!

    7. May 1, 2008 at

      The picture of the “Don’t go here” on the corner is perfect. This should be a handout to all riders in case they’ve over-gu’d themselves in the parking lot and are tripping the light fantastic!

    8. May 1, 2008 at

      Great analysis and advice, with photo illustrations, even.

      Yeah, Easton/SugarCRM/Specialized is a pretty long name. It barely comes in below the 32-character limit that cyclingnews.com mentioned in an April Fool’s article.

    9. Michael Hernandez
      May 1, 2008 at

      brown boys to the front!

      But the stage was dominated by the Mexican Tecos-Trek team, whose orange kits were at the front of the pack the entire day, with Ladino’s pink leader’s jersey just visible tucked in behind. Other teams reported that the team’s pace was more than adequate to control.

      “Tecos was riding a hard tempo; they were impressive,” said Wren. “It was a hard pace even sitting in.”

    10. Michael Hernandez
      May 1, 2008 at

      and woohoo!!!

      amber rais won herself a stage!

      nice work Rais!

      Preliminary Women’s Results

      1. Amber Rais, Tibco
      2. Alison Testroefe, Aaron’s
      3> Anne Samplonius, Cheerwine

    11. roman kilun
      May 1, 2008 at

      Yeah Teco’s did a good job riding the front today. Maybe they even rode a bit too hard but only time will tell.

    12. May 1, 2008 at

      Unfortunately, Max crashed out of the lead group today with three other riders. He finished the stage but GC hopes are gone. Major bummer….says he was feeling good too.

    13. May 1, 2008 at

      Yeah, I like SugarESpecials. I’ve been trying to figure out how to shorten Easton/SugarCRM/Specialized, and I think you hit on a good one. Thanks for the props :)

    14. Anonymous
      May 1, 2008 at

      Amber is racing with a broken rib?? She’s my HERO!!!

    15. May 1, 2008 at

      ahhh you gotta luv “corner diving” and the best part is you don’t have to hold your breath for 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds …

    16. Grey
      May 2, 2008 at

      No. Gila was always my dream girl, especially on paper, man I would pitch a tent as tall as those Cat. 1 climbs looking at those stage profiles. Then we’d drive all the way out there to go on some dates. The first date, well it wasn’t as great as we’d hoped, but it’s just a TT. The second date was a gut punch…man, I thought this was my kinda lady, but she’s a lousy kisser and I definitely don’t understand her sense of humor. The third date would go okay, but left me feeling like I’d been run over by a car. I’d go on the fourth and fifth dates cuz I’d driven all the way out there, but I got so drunk I don’t remember them.

      I met her cold and dirty distant cousin Tour of Willamette and while I didn’t really think I’d like her that much she was a lot nicer to me, at least the first time.

    17. Michael Hernandez
      May 2, 2008 at

      it’s comments like these that allow me to forgive that grey doesn’t get his blog on

    18. Nicola
      May 2, 2008 at

      Grey – funny funny stuff! I had to read it a couple times!
      Rachel executed her first leadout to get Virginia the field sprint – 4th, Rach got 5th.

    19. Grey
      May 2, 2008 at

      I’m glad you appreciate my humor, but it’s also true. I think I must not deal well with altitude or something. When I was a 3 I was one of the better climbers in our district, and I got my ass handed to me at the Gila.

      That said I wouldn’t trade those road trips/experiences for anything. Jeannie Longo raced with us one year as prep for the HP race in Idaho, and my favorite story is when she went with the split on the first climb of the inner loop stage that then descends the road that’s the final Cat. 2 climb on the last stage–hella twisty and sketchy–and the race officials said she put 2 minutes on the rest of the break on that descent then soft pedaled til they caught up. That so rules!! Little old french lady the size of a 12 year old boy pwning all these cat. 3’s…awesomeness.

      Good on Rachel/Virginia for taking the field sprint. I loved the finish to that stage in that weird hospital place.

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