Monday, July 25, 2011

San Marcos Crit

Sunday’s San Marcos crit was one of the last opportunities on the So Cal racing schedule for the hard men of the area to showcase their strengths. The Swami’s Dev Team had a great showing, and with the exception of Matt Shackley and Chris Burnham who raced in Bend at Cascade Classic, we nearly had the entire squad on the start line (rumor was Anton was crushing triathletes’ souls at Solana Beach Tri).

The 1.7-mile course lay out rode more like a mini circuit than a crit and featured a punchy climb on each lap. Over the course of 75 minutes, this would surely wreak havoc and make it an attrition race.

In the opening laps, Alex Jarman chased down and jumped into early moves that formed up the road. It made for a few blistering laps out of the gate and the race announcer even commented how riders were getting dropped after the first lap.

The new-Swami-on-the-block, Jon Hornbeck, was carrying great form that he unfortunately never got to use at Cascade after a high speed (45 mph) downhill crash broke his bike and sent him home after stage one. He put that fitness to good use yesterday though as the two of us launched multiple two-pronged attacks to further tire the group out.

On one lap halfway through the race, Jon went so fiercely up the hill that he gapped everyone and he decided to wait up top on the false flats for us to catch up. As the group rejoined, Orion Berryman – supposedly riding on only one good lung – launched out of the group at the start/finish and two guys went with him. No one else reacted. With 30 minutes to go, we did not know the strength of Orion’s breakaway companions but we knew Big O would drive the group.

With Big O’s break up the road, the group was content with letting me and Pascal set a half-hearted tempo. Eventually riders started jumping but we covered each and every move. With three laps to go, Big O’s break looked like it would succeed as long as they had something left in their tank for the final trips up the hill. From the group, a Jamis-Sutter pro rider (one of the Borrajo brothers?) jumped and took two riders with him. Trevor wanted in on that action so he and Pascal took chase while Jon and I sat up on the front of the main group. They had their gap and were closing fast on the chase group just ahead.

The final time up the hill, the race for the podium was in the bag and Big O earned his well fought third place as the break succeeded. Pascal towed Trevor to the base of the climb and Trevor was able to bridge up to the group and passed one of the chase group riders to take sixth. Pascal and Jon finished with the group and I soft pedaled in a minute later. After putting in his work early, Alex made sure the Swami’s tent had cold Sambazon and Michelob Ultra ready for us. Trevor circled back to the tent a few minutes late as he had to collect himself while passed out in a bush on the side of the road from his late race efforts! Way to leave it out there on the course!

It was obvious this course style suited our team’s strengths and we controlled the race from the gun. While we are still chasing that elusive win, we took steps in the right direction on Sunday and showed we were the strongest and most cohesive team in the race.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dominguez Hills Crit - 70 minutes of circles

Yesterday afternoon was the Dominguez Hills Kool 'N Fit crit with the 1/2 race going off at 2:15. Swami's was represented with five riders - one of the best represented teams in the 54-man field.

Former Toyota United Pro rider Stefano Barberi took a flyer from the gun and quickly built a 30-second lead in the opening laps. He stayed clear for the first 10-15 minutes and together with Cashcall, we brought the group back to Stefano. Miles did a great job working hard to close down this gap. New Swami, Jon Hornbeck, jumped with a counter attack with Cashcall's David Santos and Monster Media's Rudy Napolitino and they stayed off the front until the 50-minute mark. A few break attempts were made over the next ten minutes and it wasn't until the 60th minute (been watching soccer world cup highlights!) that a group of four got away. In the final lap, Alex and I fell off the pace, Jon sat in the middle of the group and Trevor was in the back of the field. However, Trevor worked his way up through the field down the back stretch, passed more and more riders up the hill through the final corner and sprinted the final 100 meters past another ten or so riders to finish 9th overall.

Looking back at today's race, the Swami's Development Team continues to show gains with every race. Trevor is riding on excellent form these last few weeks so if we can work to get him in better position for the final sprint, we'll tackle that elusive win.