2013 LAMBRA Masters Crit Championship Race Report
June 23rd 2013 was the date for this year’s Louisiana and Mississippi Bicycle Racing Association (LAMBRA) Crit Championship. It was a hot humid day and PAIN was the forecast. Well for our team “PAIN” is always the forecast. The location was the LSUA campus in Alexandria Louisiana. The course was technical with many turns and was a little longer than most crits at 1.25 miles for each lap. The Masters start time was 9:15am, the race was 45 minutes, and the winnings were 3 deep.
This was a combined field of the 40+ and 55+ races. In the 40+ field my team (Acadiana Bicycle Company Race Team) had four of the total seven racers. The 55+ race had a total of five racers so the field size was smaller than most master’s races, but the guys that showed up were strong. Having a team was the advantage we needed.
The morning of the race there was no talk about team tactics. We ride together frequently every week and race together often so there is no need to waste time talking. We already know what we need to do. There was no team leader. The “TEAM” is the leader. The goal is to get at least one person on the podium and we spend our race time working together towards that one goal. We spent our morning hydrating, warming up, and joking around having a good time.
At the start of the race Scott Gurganus (Team LASport) asked if it would be ok if he led-out the group for the start. There were a few jokes about how Scott may want us to lead him out for the finish. He had a GoPro camera mounted to his seat post facing behind him so he wanted to get everyone on his video as they passed by him at the start. Everyone agreed that was fine. The clock was reset and the officials said go. It was nice not having to clip-in and then start sprinting from the get-go. We just took our sweet old time and eased into the race. After passing by Scott’s GoPro John Dias went straight to the front and started setting a tempo. Our entire team of four lined up behind John. Glenn Richard was first, then Charles Kibbie, Kevin Landry, and me.
Halfway into the first lap our team captain Kevin Landry decided it was time to get the party started and put in the first attack. John Dias was already on the front and started chasing Kevin. John is a super-fast rider that rides for the S3 team. I have been in two break-aways with him this year so I know this from experience. I hadn’t settled in yet and found the best lines to take through the corners and John had the pace pretty high so I was having to go pretty hard to stay in contact with the pace line. As Kevin was being caught I started thinking about where I was going to launch my attack. Two turns later we had a long straight stretch where the finish line was and this section had a tailwind so I figured this was a good place. I was also hoping that John was a little less likely to chase me right away because he had just chased Kevin. I rounded the corner then started building momentum while trying to stay close to the pace line for a little bit of draft. Then as I neared the front I went into a full sprint to get a quick gap and then settled into my sub LT wattage. Halfway down the start/finish stretch I looked back and saw I had a good size gap. I still didn’t know the corners intimately yet so I would stop pedaling before the corners and start again after corning on some of the steeper turns. I just wasn’t being that efficient at first, but as I stayed off the front I begin picking better lines and pedaling through the corners. Kevin Landry had been working with me on cornering in crits so I was focusing on wattage on the straight away and finding lines I could pedal through in the corners. It was early in the race and the heat can really affect your wattage output so I held back just a tad so I would not start decoupling. This was a “C” race for me and Jed Darby had me do a 20 minute test on the Monday before the race. From this 20 minute test I did on a hot humid day I was able to use the watt numbers to know what to hold during the crit. I was off for a few laps and every time I looked back the only person I saw chasing was John Dias. After a while John had closed the gap, but was not completely closing the gap so I started to back off just a little bit. The next thing I know my teammate Glenn Richard came alongside me and said “Come On. Let’s GO!”. (video time 21:32) I jumped on Glenn’s wheel, but the group immediately reacted and caught us. There was a surge at this point. John got on Glenn’s wheel and as Donald Davis and Scott Gurganus went by me I had to sprint to try and latch onto the back of the pack. I feel off the back and got gapped so I had to dig deep and close the gap while my teammate was off the front on an attack. The pace was high and when we rounded the corner into the start/finish stretch the attacks started going off like fireworks. I ended up on Donald Davis’ wheel which is always a good wheel (video time 24:43). I ended up having to sprint out of a few corners to finally catch the front of the group. Just as I caught the front of the group my teammates Kevin, Charlie, and Glenn just kept attacking one after the other while I dangled on the back covering the back of the pace line surges. After a few laps I was able to settle back into the pace line to recover while my teammates were still taking turns attacking.
¾ into the race Glenn hit a bump and the front of his seat bent downward (video time 34:40). I saw Glenn jumping up and down trying to bend the sent back straight and he started telling me to go on without him. This left Kevin, Charlie, and I to finish the race.
We were nearing the end of the race and I had been sitting in the pace line patiently waiting for the absolute best time to attack. As we rounded the corner into the start/finish making it three laps to go (video time 38:07) I figured this was it. I started moving up the right side and noticed there was a small gap between the edge of the road and my own teammate Kevin Landry. I figure we may rub elbows as I passed him for the attack, but being the seasoned veteran that Kevin is I didn’t think that would startle him at all. Just as I was approaching him he looked back and saw me coming. He had just enough time to learn to the left as I flew by on the right. Kevin immediately went to the front so anyone wanting to chase me would have to go around him.
Like Kevin always says “You are 100% committed at that point” so I went as hard as I could. Jed has me do one minute+ VO2s for a good part of the year so this is something I was confident in. I had done hundreds of these while training and I know the watts I can do. I dialed in the watts and focused on pedaling through the corners and just basically forgot about the heat or anything else that might hold me back. I knew I needed an initial gap that was large enough to discourage a chase with only 3 laps to go and when I looked back I believed I had it.
My teammates just sat in for the final laps and when it looked like I had the win for sure Kevin and Charlie focused on their own placing.
As the group rounded the final turn Charlie said it looked like everyone was bunching up on Kevin’s wheel so Charlie started his sprint and Kevin backed off of pedaling to make everyone else hesitate. It worked and Charlie got 2nd and Kevin got 3rd.
An awesome day for Acadiana Bicycle Company Race Team and Pefect Endurace.
I then raced the cat4 race where Adam Falgout, another Pefect Endurance cyclist, took first.