Gooseneck Time Trial
By: Michael Allison
As I am sure most everyone who is reading this is aware, we have been getting pounded with rain lately. As a bike racer, it’s inevitable that you will have to train and race in the rain a few times over the course of the year. But for the last month it seems like I can count the sunny blue skied days on one hand. Friday evening’s time trial was looking to be no different. I was constantly checking the weather app on my phone to see if somehow there would be some magical turn of events and the sun would come out and dry the course out. I eventually accepted the fact that I would be racing on wet roads once again.
The time trial marked the beginning of a three day omnium, and the short, fairly technical 5k effort was really suited to my abilities. The team arrived early to the course to make sure we had enough time to pre ride and see how to best navigate the corners in the wet. There was one sharp, slightly off camber turn that I made sure to ride a couple of times. I also wanted to practice the turn around a couple of times. In addition to the already slick corners, there seemed to be a thin layer of mud on some sections of the road which added to the tricky nature of the course. We finished pre-riding and set up our trainers near the top of the climb to finish our warmups.
I was the first one off for the 1/2’s. The 3’s were going before us, but neither my minute man, nor my 30 second man showed up for their start. I am notorious for starting a TT too hard, and having people in front of me usually doesn’t help my cause, so I was excited to have a clear road ahead of me in the hopes of gauging my effort accurately.
From the gun I knew I was having a good day. I was taking the corners easy to avoid sliding out, and was recovering really well for the straights. I got to the base of the climb, and actually had more in the tank than I had expected. I was able to accelerate pretty good still, which at the end of a TT is not too common. But I think on a hill top finish like this, that helped me.
I headed straight for the trainer to get a long cool down in, chugged a chocolate milk and a Nalgene full of water, and waited for the rest of the guys to roll in. I ended up second on the day, three seconds behind the winner. The rest of the team all finished in the top 10. We celebrated with some good Mexican food at Margarita’s.
Cliff Drive Circuit Race
By: Garrick Valverde
Saturdays race was 11 laps of the historic 3-mile circuit around Cliff Drive. This race has got to be one of my favorite courses. There are a couple sections that are always fast, then there a few turns back to back that are very technical. A decently long gradual climb is on the backside, and then of course there’s the Cliff Drive climb that was this years finish.
Our team talked tactics a lot for this race. Benn and I went over several scenarios on the drive over to pick up Michael, and Michael and I talked tactics on the phone that morning. An hour before the race, the six of us met to assign roles, and yeah, go over more tactics.
The race was really squirrelly the first lap. There was even a crash the first time coming up Cliff Drive. I’m not sure why guys were so twitchy. We guessed that the race would be very attack heavy and it was. We assigned Benn, Ian, and Austin to patrol the early moves. Our thinking was that the pack would start to tire the first 4-5 laps, and that the later laps would be when a winning move would come. So yes, we thought this race would end with a break away. Well, actually, I do recall Kent saying he though it would stay together, and I remember thinking that was ludicrous.
About four laps in, Michael got in what looked like a decent move with another rider. They had at one point about thirty seconds, and the peloton was not getting very organized, mainly just hard attacks followed by lulls. I was thinking it was possibly the move. Then Steve Tilford changed that. He attacked on the backside hill really hard. I mean it was ridiculous. In less than a minute the gap was reduced by almost half. After that, guys were motivated and were attempting to bridge. Coming into Cliff drive I heard someone yell that Michael had flatted. My reaction, maybe stupidly, was to attack. There were no free laps and I thought at the time there was no way Michael was making it back on. Plus riders were hurting so I thought I could sneak away with a few guys.
Two followed me up the climb; one was Colin Catlin. I’ve raced with Colin before and he’s really powerful. He also just came off a third place at Mellon City the weekend before. Two riders for me is not enough for a break. Ideally I’d want four or five. I’m not a super powerful rider and that’s just not enough time to rest between pulls. I decided to not work and we quickly got pulled back. To my astonishment, Michael made it back on with the help of Benn Stover who stopped graciously to help pace him back.
With one lap to go, Kent made a great move up Cliff Drive bringing Steve Tilford with him. I though for a bit this move would work. I tried desperately to stay at the front. We were going fast and by the time we hit Cliff Drive (on the far back side) I knew this break was doomed. A little down the road and they were caught with just about 500 or so meters to the end. Kent, even though freshly caught from the break, stayed on the front with the wisdom to know that the pace needed to remain high if I were to hold my position at the front. Coming to the climb I was fourth wheel. Shad Smith jumped hard on my right as we hit the hill, and I jumped on his wheel. As we came around the bend, I saw Lee Bumgarner to my left. He took the turn a bit wide and I gunned it down the middle. I came around Shadd and that was it. I held on and won.
Kauffman/Arrowhead Stadium Criterium
By: Kent Woermann
After Garrick’s win the night before at Cliff Drive and Michael’s untimely flat, the GC shuffled around with Garrick moving into second overall and Michael dropping back a few positions.
Our main goal was now to get Garrick the overall win. This would require him to finish not only in front of first place rider Colin Catlin (Northstar Development), but also far enough up that other riders in striking distance couldn’t get the points needed to win overall themselves.
The course was in the Truman Sports Complex, home to Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums. Based off our pre-ride laps, it was going to be fast but easy to sit in, meaning a breakaway would be difficult to establish and would likely come down to a sprint. Benn, Austin, and Ian were tasked with covering early moves and not letting anything dangerous get too far away. Michael and I were going to save our legs for later in the race so that we could chase down late breaks and keep Garrick positioned well in the final few laps. Garrick’s goal was to make sure he didn’t miss the big break if it happened but otherwise sit in and wait for the sprint.
Over the first 60 minutes there were a lot of hard attacks but everything was getting shut down quick. Benn, Austin, and Ian did an excellent job marking the strong riders we needed to watch and keeping a short leash on any gaps they tried to build. I tried to instigate a few moves but with everybody having good sized teams it wasn’t going to work.
The action really started in the final laps. With 5 laps to go Chris Spence (Kaos) and Macen Van Allen (Above and Beyond Cancer) got off the front. Based off how the pack had been chasing everything all day we didn’t think the move was too dangerous. But as their gap started growing, we were getting uncomfortable, and it was clear that we needed to take action. Austin and Michael went to the front of the field and began to reel the break back in. Austin pulled for about a lap and a half before Michael took over in an effort to finish it off.
When Michael began his turn, I was sitting around mid-pack behind the Flyover series leader Brandon Krawczyk (Twin Six), and my old teammate Bill Stolte (Tradewind). We were single-file at this point going about 32-33 mph through the start/finish straight when all of a sudden I see the riders in front of me swing right. Bill couldn’t react in time and hit the curb dead on sending him flying through the air, fortunately landing on some grass. Brandon was able to react just quickly enough that he ground his wheels into the edge of the curb but managed to stay upright. I was directly behind Brandon grabbing my brakes in a full skid while trying to avoid the mess in front of me. That was probably when I hit my max heart rate for the entire race. Bill ended up cracking some ribs and collapsing his lung. After an ER visit to get his lung fixed up, he’s mostly okay.
After that crazyness I moved up to the front to help Michael who was still pulling strong. When Michael looked back and saw me he said with a smile, “no no, you save your legs for the finish”. I could tell he was in his happy place and was about to #redefinepain.
With 2 laps to go, Brian Jenson (Tradewind) attacked and got a decent gap on us. Michael was starting to fade from his monstrous 2 lap effort and it was my turn to take over. Right after the two turns, I got on the front and started chasing. I brought back Brian but the other two guys were still a ways up the road. I gritted my teeth and put whatever I had left into the pedals but it wasn’t enough to bring them back. I hadn’t gotten them as close as I wanted, but with almost a full lap left, I was hoping others teams would be motivated to win the stage and finish the chase.
Turns out that wasn’t the case. There were a few hard surges at the front but it wasn’t consistent enough to bring back the two riders. I tried to recover and make it back to the front for one final effort but the combination of dead legs and high speeds forced me to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to help. Luckily Garrick is a badass in the finish.
As I watched from behind it looked like Garrick he was sitting on the front as the pack rounded the final corner with the two breakaway riders just within reach. Not a great position being that some of the sprinters behind him had 25-50 pounds on him and it was a downhill sprint to the finish. It was like Rocky vs Drago, Mr. T, and Apollo all at once.
As Garrick unleashed his sprint he started making ground on the two breakaway riders super fast but needed another 25-50 meters to pass them. He put a good sized gap on everybody behind him and ended up winning the field sprint taking 3rd on the day and locking up the overall!
What’s next for OSC
This coming weekend, a bunch of us are planning on heading up to the Nebraska Omnium. There is a 14 mile time trial and criterium Saturday followed by a 80 mile road race on Sunday. Like Tour of KC, this is part of the Flyover series so there should be some good out of state competition showing up. The Nebraska guys are always strong so it’ll be a challenging weekend for sure.
After that, we are taking a full squad to race Tulsa Tough. We’ve all been watching youtube and vimeo videos for weeks now getting stoked for the 3 days of epic criterium racing. Here are a couple of our favorites.
After Tulsa, we have a weekend off (unless we find somewhere to race). Our final event of the month is another favorite of ours, Tour of Lawrence. The weekend will start off with the always exciting street sprints in downtown Lawrence. Saturday’s circuit race has moved from the hilly KU Campus to Haskell College (those who don’t like climbing will be happy about this). The final day will be the downtown criterium which is now back to it’s old figure 8 course.