• Early Bird Crit #2 – Attack of the Juniors

    by  • January 16, 2011 • race coverage • 10 Comments

    specialness.jpgAs i mentioned last week and in the team reviews the Specialized Juniors have been looking especially strong this year.  Larry Nolan and his merry band of master pro’s have put a tonne (love me for my British spelling) of work into the Specialized Junior program.

    Each year a few of their progeny go off to interesting cycling projects with development teams, schools, or the USAC national program.  Today, one of their lemmings, rode the early bird fire to out sprint his break-mates: Nate English, (is there a race that he isn’t making this year), and former Lance band mate, and current Specialized Masters Mentor, Dylan Casey.  Below is the quick blow by blow from the winner, junior rider, David Benkoski:

    “I went to the front of the pack, saw a break with Dylan Casey and Nate English, I bridged with Chris Turner. Rotated with Dylan, Turner, English, and a rider from Mikes Bikes.  The Mikes Bikes rider popped himself and then Turner vanished. Dylan and English and I rotated, and drove the break to nearly a minute. English attacked, and then Dylan countered, English pulled him back with me on his wheel, English then launched a few attacks, which I followed. English launched his sprint out of the sweeper, and I came around him for the finish.” [ed. note: by finish he means "the win."]

    natebird.jpgA couple of things stood out for me.

    1. Nat English: Pretty quick time at San Bruno, props from Roman Kilun at Early Bird #1, and subsequently props from Early Bird #2 winner David B. who said English was doing most of the pulling.
    2. Specialized Team “team work”: We all know how hard it is to execute a team plan.  Today it was orchestrated by a handful of 40 year old guys and a bunch of 17 year olds.  I think anytime you get a rider under 26 years old to execute correctly you got a keeper.
    3. David can sprint. At least he can out-sprint the break away climber types.
    4. Mikes Bikes is a cream puff outfit

    For those out there bitching about the teamwork and fact that there was some serious horsepower in that break, enabling the victory … that’s bike racing. Seriously, in what world do you let two guys from a strong team go off together in a break? I’m sure nobody thought these guys would make it – so they just waited, and waited, and waited, until it was too late.

    dontbecool.jpgThe reality is English is looking like he wants to make a real run at becoming a bike rider, as does Benkoski.  I’m a Benkoski fan, having watched him develop at Hellyer and on the Valley ride here on the Peninsula,  and will become a Nate English fan, as well, if he keeps up this kind of racing.  These guys are making the early season interesting!

    I’ve known David a few years and figure he is worth a few lines.

    • David is Belgian… and French. We can forgive the french thing.
    • He’s got a good sense of humor, having traded barbs with The Rand, through the years.
    • David loves the bike racing.
    • He’s coachable for a junior. He took some early advice that if he was serious he should go learn how to ride at the track, Hellyer Velodrome, and it was there that he got hooked up with Larry and the Specialized program. At least I hope he’s coachable – thats important if you want to go big.
    • If he started a blog I’d read it – while not as “funny” as me I think he’s got some Rand like potential.

    I do not have any info on how the women finished so if there are any updates out there please send them in the comments section and I can get a little

      “UPDATE”

    section of this post going.
    – – –

    Photo credits: Erika Kali

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    Former NorCal resident now residing in Madison,Wisconsin. I race cross, but I'm named after a velodrome. Support your local bike shop, NorCal race promoters, and go learn to race on a track. Hellyer Velodrome - http://www.ridethetrack.com

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    10 Responses to Early Bird Crit #2 – Attack of the Juniors

    1. DAZED & CONFUSED
      January 17, 2011 at

      BAD NEWS FOR THE BREAK, THE GOT IT DONE BUT THE PACK WAS DUMB.
      THE ENTIRE FIELD WAS CLUELESS THAT 3 GUYS WERE UP THE ROAD. AFTER A FLURRY OF ATTACKS EARLY, THE MAIN PACK CAME TOGETHER AND EVERYONE THOUGHT IT WAS ONE BIG FUN RIDE. TOO BAD THE THREE BRAVE BOYS WERE GONE OUT OF SIGHT AND THE ENTIRE FIELD NEVER MADE A EFFORT TO BRING THEM BACK. EVERYONE I TALKED TO IN THE FIELD THOUGHT IT WAS COMING DOWN TO A FIELD SPRINT. HA! EVERYONE WAS DAZED AND CONFUSED WHILE 3 FAST BOYS HAD A STEALTH RIDE TO THEMSELVES.

      CLASSIC!

    2. January 17, 2011 at

      Dear Dazed and Confused,

      A couple of things…

      1. Writing in all caps: Usually this is considered the email equivalent of yelling. I can’t really imagine a smartphone issue that would require all caps so you might want to look for the ‘caps lock’ button on your computer and turn it off.

      2. Is the fact that the pack was acting like a bunch of retards “BAD NEWS FOR THE BREAK” of is that bad news for the pack?

      3. I really hope you are not trying to tell me that these guys shouldn’t have won because the pack was inattentive because there are all kinds of problems with that.
      A. Its riders responsibilities to know what is up the road.
      B. Who on earth would let Nate English and Dylan Casey go up the road
      C. I’m sure the break could be seen by the pack for a good chunk of the time they were away.

      As Cat 1/2/3 riders we all are aware that the strongest guy does not always win. The tactical nature of cycling is important and it sounds like something that the current peloton could use some help with. ‘Dazed and Confused’ is a good description, and a common one for races at any level, it’s like blaming a bad race on the wind.

    3. January 17, 2011 at

      Dazed & Confused is actually right about one thing..and one thing only..”the entire field” didn’t make an effort to bring them back. I talked to plenty of people that knew there were three of the front…only the ones at the back hanging on for dear life, and perhaps “dazed & confused” didn’t know about it!!

    4. DAZED & CONFUSED
      January 17, 2011 at

      CLEARLY I WAS DAZED AND CONFUSED, ME AND ALEXI GREWAL;! HA!
      I JUST LIKE BIG LETTERS, NOT YELL TYPING HELLYER, so here small letters for you! if I had even smaller letters I would be whisper typing. And papa yoda, I was at the front but none of the folks up there were doing anything but cruzing and taking big pulls at times, but no chase effort!

    5. January 17, 2011 at

      EXACTLY as you stated Mr.Confused… No collective chase was done by the peleton which included the Olympian Alexi Grewal, Since we are mentioning names I saw some strong pulls at the front by Hollywood, D~Day, and Mr. Counter Attacker, but maybe he was just attacking as usual!! Either way the Old Pro, Nate, and young David rode a strong race. kudos to them for keeping the pace!

    6. Darth Vader
      January 18, 2011 at

      Yes Yoda…
      nice to see a break sneak off and hold the field off. Some might have known they were out of sight, but no one put the hammer down in a combined effort to chase. Dazed & Confused was on the Clif Bar team and he was trying to rally Webcor, but no luck. Fun times at a practice race. Now I want to race track where I can see everyting go down right in front of me, or at least on the other side of the track!

      Let the real roadies race the Central Coast Circuit races, or Snelling.

      I will be riding a fixed gear at Hell Ya! R

    7. Love Panda
      January 18, 2011 at

      Hellyer is cool! Dazed & Confused is super cool!
      Yoda is big time cool! but I thought Darth Vader went bye bye from Luke Sky Walker, I will have to check my smart phone for that clarification.

    8. ryjo
      January 18, 2011 at

      Who ya callin’ cream puff?

    9. sluggo
      January 18, 2011 at

      If you didn’t know there was a break up the road, you only have yourself to blame. It’s not our job to tell you. I know these are only practice races, so practice!

      Some of these teams continue racing all through the season like this & wonder why they can’t put a guy in the break.

      You can almost set your watch to it.

    10. Jill
      January 19, 2011 at

      On the topic of juniors, Team TIBCO Juniors Aliya Traficante and Page Robertson played a big role in getting their Team TIBCO II teammate Katie O’Neill to the line for the win in the Early Bird W4 crit that day. Aliya, who is 13 years old and about 80 pounds soaking wet, gave Katie a tremendous leadout. Looking forward to seeing more from these youngsters in 2011!

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