Location: San Francisco, California
Date: Monday, September 2nd, 2013
AVDT E3 Team: William Ho, Mike Jarvis, Robert Orcutt, Chuck Edwall, Gerald Sylvester, Magnus Gille, David Keefe (AV)
Result: 16th of 70
Course/Conditions: 6 turn crit with small power climb. Decent wind. Great course and crowd, with good warm-up under the tents and Suffolk-SunPower banners.
Background and Reflections: In a twist I'll start with the end: One of the great things about AVDT is that you will always see a race report. Personally, this is probably the most disappointing race and report all year - but you're getting a report, whether we want to write it or not. Bottom line - This field was virtually same names and size as San Rafael, and after blowing that podium for me and team with my dive into the fence on the final turn (taking William with me), I wanted that blemish corrected at the Giro. To sit there looking at the podium afterwards and seeing guys we've beaten numerous times, and the top 4 steps occupied by guys we had just beaten on Saturday was just so absolutely unsatisfying. We've beaten these guys, but they beat us when it mattered on one of the biggest NCNCA stages - and that's simply the fact. They did it when it mattered and that's racing.
Pre-Race/strategy: The plan from DS's Mike and Shin was to manage breaks and I would serve as protected rider, with sprint lead-out - Chuck, William, then me.
Our team lined up early and were all pretty well positioned. I stayed up near front well positioned for first 8 laps or so, during which I was able to see the usual animators were the one’s trying to establish a break (same guys from past races who disappear at end) – was nice to see that with so many of them and a bit of extra excitement with the Giro, there was no desire to let break get too far out. Once the first break was out a little ways, and we kept it where it was and started to reel it back I felt comfortable (or as comfortable as you get, which is a little nervous) that a break wouldn’t go away. At that point, I made the mistake of relaxing into protected mode and stayed mid-pack for good portion of the race with occasional serious move up. This was the big difference from Giro last year and San Rafael – you could sit-back in the pack. In past, the pace would stay so high, and string-outs so constant that you really wanted to concentrate on staying up front to avoid disaster – which would force some mental acuity at all times. With the wind this year, you would have usual front/back stretch string-outs, but pace would slow and bunch in the wind, unlike past where pace would just keep flying up the hill. This made the race a bit easier than San Rafael which left the field much more intact and able to make aggressive moves. For that reason, I do think I lost a bit of the usual engagement with the race sitting in this protected role – big mistake. Dave Keefe was racing with us and very engaged throughout - looking very strong and staying well positioned. Also - heard a number of cheers for us going around the race course from our 4's team, DS Shin, and George Miranda - and I'm sure others as well - thanks so much for the cheering and support!
With about 10 to go, a small break was off a second or two, and Jarvis was well positioned in top 15 so I mentioned to him that when that break comes back, he should move up and go with the next one. My thinking was, I didn’t believe a break would be able to stick – but I didn’t want one of those dangler breaks sitting out front into the final 2-3 laps where you think you’ll catch it in the final lap, but can’t quite ignore it – if we could get Jarvis in it, then we could completely ignore and prepare for sprint. Ultimately, there was no break after that one – so nothing to follow. Jarvis looked very good throughout in only his 2nd 3's race - big things ahead next year I'm sure.
With 4-5 left, connected with William and Chuck, but after riding together, I came to conclusion that we were too far back and saw opening and moved up. I should have been more communicative with this move – instead of just going, I should have said hey, I’m moving up, re-group with me at the front. Unfortunately, after that move up we never connected or saw each other again. Chuck great to have you racing well again (sure not anywhere near your peak – but great to have you there).
With 1.5 left, I moved up and coming up on the bell I got to exactly where I wanted to be – basically top 10. With the wind, I didn’t want to get too far up too early. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t as nervous about the swarming as I usually would be (and should have been) – because as we went through the start/finish and approached first turn I was more focused ahead than back and around, our string-out on right suddenly had a bunch of guys coming by on left hard which I failed to react to. This left us strung out left and right into turn 1, which pushed me back through turns 1,2 – and as we approached the hill I got caught with some shifting and then in between our original plan to go up inside and thinking that if by myself perhaps I should go to outside. I ended up somewhere in between, and after top of hill and turn was boxed in, finally escaped right and charged forward – but far too little, too late and sprinted to hold my spot.
My big take-away – Shin made a great point during our team debrief on needing to find ways to engage the race, even if protected. While I moved up for all primes, and would make moves forward – I should have doubled the times I made those moves to get the usual forward/back action – or done something to really get in rhythm with the race – I do think this would have helped me understand how many guys were still going to have the energy to surge forward and get me a bit more in the moment.
On to the finish in Folsom!
Alto Velo Development Team