alright....a little race report and some commentary to go with it.
first things first: description of friday evenings course. 3 races on friday were the first day of the 100 version of the tour of kc(ok, not 100th but alot anyway). an approximate 1 mile loop covering 4 right hand turn. the start/finish was situated on top of a hill. rolling down from the start line takes you down said hill into a 90 degree turn and back up another hill into turn 2. now back to turn 1. at the race speed of 28 to 32mph in the cat 4 race, this became a somewhat sketchy corner depending on who was next to and in front you. suffice it to say it was safest up near the front if not leading the pack into that turn. it took until the second lap for me to realize i was going about 2-4 mph's faster than everyone else thru that corner during the race. no matter who was next to me, i was putting multiple bike length gaps on anybody near me thru that corner. turn 2 was at the top of a hill that could be taken at 4 or 5 bikes wide. this led the racers into a long straight away that covered 2 city blocks. this actually heads the racers back to the east and is generally a fast part of the course. however, on this nite, the wind was out of the east by north-east. thus making this a slow section of the race, cuz everyone was sitting up do to the grinding hill we just flew up and very few cat 4's ever make it to the front of a race.(gutsless asses!). turn 3 should have been a fast 90 degree, but with the head wind it was fairly tame. thru turn 3 we turned south and with the wind at our back, this is where things seemed to pick up. a few 'lazy wheel suckers' would poke their heads to the front trying to reposition themselves in the pack. this led us to turn 4, which was a fast but 'soft' cuving turn that takes us to the base of the 200 meter 9% grade finish hill. neither of the 2 hills on the course are difficult until you add race speed and 45-50 minutes of racing. this is enough to throw nails into your wellplanned out thoughts for a good sprint finish. i know a 1/3rd of the 4's field was spit out the back in the first 15-20 minutes. and the bigger sized cat 4 racers who generally mix it up in the flatter crits were not going to have a shot at winning this race. also mix in the fast technical downhill turn 1, and you had some guys white-knuckeled and just flat out afraid to lat it hang out on this course.
I realized early on that i was faster than anyone thru the first turn, but it took 20 minutes to figure out that i was working too hard on the 2 hills to stay near the front. i finally figured out that i could save some 'bullets' by soft pedaling up the start/finish hill, lose about 10-15 bike lengths and make it all up before i was even past the apex of turn 1. some cat 4 guys really need to practice taking corners at speed. not at 25 mph but at 35. jeez, its amazing, you would have thought some of these guys had never thrown their legs over a bike before. other than jockying for position and fighting to keep it, not much excitement happened. i kept upright, which i failed to do last year on this same course(got tangled up with a white knuckeled racer on turn 1 of the race's last lap). everyone else kept upright as well. no wrecks, unfriggin'believable!! Teammates Joel and Brian stayed near the front and out of trouble as well. With joel doing a lot of work at the front, chasing down a bunch of attacks and bridging up a few times when some guys let some wheels go. Brian and myself chased down a few as well. hoping to get lucky and maybe hop on tthat train that might just head out of town. Nothing stuck in the end though. i think maybe 35 to forty of the 60 starters were together on the start of the bell lap. Of course the past reallly wound up with tyler henson from loclacycling.com launching his much anticipated bell ringing attack. this was good, because it strung it out and kept things safer going into the last few turns single-file. but of course, wel all bunched up again between turns 3 and 4. with the pace quickening prior to turn 3, i began to look for my teammates. not being able to find them, i latched onto a good alternative and a great 'wheel-out' in mark cole. i figured if i could at least stay with him until the finish i would get a really good result. mark is new to crit racing but has shown a knck for sprinting on the 'tuesday- nite' crit series. he also has a ton of power. heading into the soft turn 4 i was still on mark's wheel, but a split second of hesitation and a look down i was immediately off marks whell and back 2 bike lengths. there goes my free ride. just before the base of the hill it was 'off to the races' . launching myself into the 'pain-cave' i finished a respectable if not somewhat dissapointing 8th.
close but no cigar! with a post race recovery drink of chocolate milk, it was back to the drawing board.
OverlandPark Grand Prix race report coming soon......
cross' is coming!
Steve Tilford Eulogy
8 months ago