It was a busy weekend for TAI. 2 different races and some Series podiums to be had.
Saturday at the Heiser Farm saw Stacy, Sarah, Courtney and Jan go: 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th. Report from Jan:
Courtney had a strong lead going in today so the focus was on Stacy and Sarah to see if we could solidify their placings. Stacy needed to watch and beat Anne U-D from Upper Echelon. It was a points battle between them. Sure enough, like predicted Anne took off early in the race, but Stacy was right on her. They took another rider with them, but she soon came back to the chase group. Anne did all kinds of things to play with Stacy’s head, but Stacy stayed tough. That left the rest of us sort of chasing. The field was so small overall that in order to make it any kind of a race, we needed to keep up the racing and could not just sit back with Stacy up the road. TAI and UE were the only teams present and we decided to work together. On the hot spot lap, I went to the front before the dirt section. Had I only internalized and listened Sarah’s advice! Sarah had warned to be aware and ready for attacks, but when Heather took off taking the remaining 4 with her….. I was gapped and it was all over for Janny. Shortly after the hot spot, Sarah bridged up to Anne and Stacy. As Sarah left Heather behind, she solidified her overall placing.
Dirty Circles: There was a lot on the line all the way around. BAR points, series points. The results aren’t posted on OBRA yet, but I’ve heard from a lot of you, so I’ll update ASAP.
Masters 4/5: We had Brad and Aaron in contention for the podium, and Keyon showing strength in his first ever road race. Report from Aaron: At the hotspot on the end of the second lap, Brad and I found ourselves at the front going 3rd, 4th for the intermediate sprint. Shane Gibson from Half Fast Velo was defending the top spot for the series, and pushed the pace all day, testing us. Last lap, we chased as he got away to win. Brad was 4th and I was 5th. Keyon, learning pack riding on the fly, was on the front a ton. Great day of racing!
It was windy and fast in Woodland today. HPC was defending, and a lot of guys were “doubling up”. On two sections of the course, it was a echelon from centerline to gutter, no one wanting to be on the rivet. Jeff described it as “When ever we had the cross wind, there was no working together by anyone. The line of riders was single file and as far over into the gutter as possible. Or right on the centerline.” Mike was in the winning move by Bedford from HPC, but it was cooking fast. Alex took the group win placing 4th on the day.
Men’s Master 1/2/3:
In another screaming fast race, David got Kyle positioned with Josh Liberles from HPC and Paul Burcia from Veloce. Kyle took the podium in 3rd!
The women had a full weekend of racing; always on the podium and always about team racing. Report from Stacy:
Goals: Going in Stacy is in 3rd for the series. Since prizes are for the series only, our main goal is to keep her in that spot (and perhaps improve if either of the women above her showed weakness). Secondary goal is to win the race today!
Competition: We have a large Women’s 1/2/3 field for the Dirty Circles finale race. Over 20 (that’s large for us women). Three significant teams: Ironclad (2), River City (4), and of course TAI (4: Stephanie, Courtney, Sarah, & Stacy). A couple strong solo riders in the mix too.
Strategy: Steph, Courtney, & Sarah attack to tire out Ironclad, who we expect to be the major sprint contenders. Stacy stays fresh and keeps an eye out for breaks that look dangerous or opportune (no series leader).
Lap 1: Ironclad is attacking. We chase them down a couple times, then let one of them off the front. We hold her ~200m off the front so she can ride out in the wind. At the end of the lap, the hotspot bell is rung.
Lap 2: Working with other teams we gradually reel Leia in. After the final left turn, positioning for the sprint starts. With a strong right-to-left crosswind, everyone is pegged on the center line. Some dicey bobbing and weaving going on. I end up on the front too early and bail. Courtney gets some points in the sprint.
Lap 3: After the hotspot, there’s a flurry of hard attacks in the crosswind – some from Ironclad, some from us (an especially hard attack by Stephanie). As we turn north, we settle down and realize there has been a major split and the series points leader has not made the cut!
The Break: The break of 7 has Courtney, Stacy, and Sarah from TAI. Ironclad has two riders. River City has one rider. We have two solo riders with us as well. At first we’re a bit disorganized, but Courtney brokers a deal for everyone to work together until we have >90 seconds on the chasing pack. It’s in all our best interests and with some excellent echelons we quickly accomplish the task!
Lap 4: Well ahead of the chasers, it’s back to Ironclad and us (TAI) trading attacks. Breaking away solo seems unlikely, but we’re hoping to tire out Ironclad for the final sprint. Courtney and I are attacking while Stacy is keeping mostly fresh out of the wind.
Lap 5 (Final Lap): Courtney puts in a killer attack as we head east. As we turn north, Ironclad catches her and I counter attack. Ironclad chases again. It’s a slugfest and we’re trading body blows! Heading West, we settle down, but we lost Courtney on that last attack. As we make the final left, I’m trying to help get Stacy into better position, but my legs are not cooperating. Ironclad ramps up the sprint and all the attacking takes its toll and I lose contact – Ugh. Stacy is toward the back of the (now) group of 5, which is actually not such a bad position for a windy sprint. Ironclad is also feeling the effects of our attack-fest and finish at the back of the sprint. In the sprint, Stacy gets 3rd, behind HeatherV (one of the strong solo riders) and Lelah (River City).
Results: The series leader (Amy) was not in the lead pack and lost 1st place for the series to Ironclad’s Anna. Still I believe Amy still had enough points to hold 2nd place. So we achieved our goal of keeping Stacy in 3rd. We podium’ed the race, but didn’t win. We tired Ironclad out, but in doing that the solo riders stayed fresh enough to beat us in the sprint.
Quite a finale! We attacked & chased incessantly – so hard our personal results were compromised. That’s real team spirit. Congratulations to Stacy, who ended up our fearless leader for this series. She did a metric-ton (2.2 times a normal ton) of work to snag a podium spots for race #2, today’s race, and for the entire Dirty Circles series!
So, after yesterdays efforts by the Women and even without todays points tallied, TAI is the #1 team in OBRA. And it’s only March. Awesome!
Aaron and Brad
Brad and Keyon