Nebraska Omnium Weekend 2015

Saturday Morning: 14 mile Time Trial

By: Michael Allison

These past few weeks have been a blur. Since Quad Cities, my training weeks basically consist of active recovery, and just about the time that my legs start feeling normal, its the weekend and I tear them apart again. It’s wild how racing every weekend seems to make time go by so much faster.

Anyways, Kent showed up to my house around 4pm on Friday afternoon and we headed over to Lawrence to pick up Garrick and make our way North. Kent McNeill, the owner of Midwest Cycling, had offered for us to stay at his house for the weekend. We got to the house around 8pm, and after getting everything unpacked and chatting bikes for awhile, we headed to bed.

We woke up Saturday morning to overcast skies and a looming storm on the radar. At this point I’ve raced in the rain and am so used to it this year that I  didn’t really care. The course was out-and-back and it was warm enough that I didn’t expect it to effect the race much anyways. It began to rain softly just before it was time for me to start.

I was the second to last rider to start the day. Brandon Krawczyk (Twin Six), current leader of the Flyover Series, was my 30-second man, and Colton Barrett (Texas Roadhouse) was the last rider to go off behind me. Brandon told me beforehand that he wasn’t going to be much of a rabbit to chase, and I had heard he had broke a fever the night before. I had never raced Colton before. He has a killer sprint, but I wasn’t sure whether to expect him to fly by me in the first 10 minutes or not.

I started the race and as always found myself going to hard. In a long TT effort, pacing is critical, and I have a bad habit of letting my excitement get the best of me. A couple minutes into it I told myself I had to back off, but I was still probably pushing it a little harder than I should have been. The only consolation was the course profile was slightly uphill for the 7 miles out, and was a cross/headwind. By the turnaround I was feeling tired, but the brief tailwind section offered a bit of recovery. With about 2 miles to go I was feeling the mistake of my pacing, and went into survival mode. The only thing that saved me was the slight downhill the few miles into the finish. I finished with a time of 31:34. 

We stuck around briefly to see if results would be posted. Garrick, Kent, and I did a few laps of the crit course, but the rain began to pick up and we decided not to stick around and went to grab some food. Shortly after getting back to the house we discovered that I had placed 2nd behind Jameson Ribbens (Twin Six). The news was somewhat surprising considering the guys that I was competing against, but it was certainly a great way to start the weekend!

Finish of the TT

Finish of the TT Photo: Mike Dixon

Saturday Evening: 60 minute Criterium

By: Garrick Valverde

I decided not to do the 14-mile time trial on Saturday. A TT that long really isn’t my strong set and I wasn’t interested in the overall for the weekend or the Flyover Series points (at the time anyway). Instead, I did an hour or so easy ride, scouted out the crit course, and helped Michael and Kent pin their numbers.

When Kent and Michael finished, we headed back to the McNeill’s place to kill some time, as the crit wasn’t for 8 hours or so. I’ve really been enjoying host housing this year. I thought I was a huge hotel lover, and I guess I still am, but host housing offers a home away from home feel. Hotel rooms get little respect from our team. We end up having piles of dirty clothes in designated spots and the room inevitably starts to smell. Add staying cramped up in that room, sitting on a bed, and slipping into hotel claustrophobia (which results in me wondering the halls wide eyed like someone with dementia) and a hotel room turns sadly un-luxurious.

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Instead, we arrived at the McNeil’s, I pet their dog Jack for probably 15 minutes, made coffee, and relaxed on the deck. The three of us sat there in the shade for probably two hours. Michael and Kent went over the power numbers from the time trial for basically that entire time. They are possibly too obsessed.

We arrived at the crit with about two hours to race. There was a threat of rain, and we were a little nervous because of it. The crit had 8 turns, some pretty sharp, so rain would suck. Thankfully, the rain Gods were watching out for us, and the race was dry in the end.

At this point in the year, I’ve done about 25 races. All of them have been hard, but this crit for sure broke the top five, maybe top 3 of the most painful. I blame it on Brain West. He took off from the start like someone just shot him with an EpiPen. We chased him down like mad. The tight and frequent turns made the pack really strung out most the race. For the first 3 laps I was thinking, Ok, this is really hard but I’m fine, I’m not hurting yet. But the high pace kept up. Attack and attack one after another. Masochistically, I made a few moves but nothing was sticking. Those moves almost sent me over the edge. 20 minutes in I was thinking I might get dropped. After one effort, I actually was worried I could crash from being so exhausted. Michael asked me how I was doing and I just said, “This is tough”. About 30 minutes in a Twin Six rider went on a solo move and the pack I think used it as a rest period. For about 2 laps we just sort of all took some deep breaths. Once that rider was caught, it was game on again. I was feeling it unlikely that a break was going to stick, however, and I stopped attacking, hedging my bets for a field sprint.

One to go in Saturday evening's crit

One to go in Saturday evening’s crit Photo: Mike Dixon

I told Michael I’d be going for the field sprint. He said he’d help. Colton Barrett from Texas Roadhouse was my main concern. Colton won collegiate crit nationals a couple year back. I knew he was going to be going for the sprint. What I didn’t know is whether I could beat him. He didn’t have any teammates and I had 3. With two laps to go, Scott came up to me and asked what I needed. I told him I needed a lead out. Scott’s a phenomenal sprinter, but today’s finish was up hill slightly and suited me a bit better. I’ve never had Scott lead me out, but he did a perfect job. With a lap to go, Michael hit the front, which allowed the pace to remain high so I wouldn’t get swarmed. As we came out of the second to last turn, I was on Scotts wheel in about 5th place. When we hit about 350 meters to go, I yelled for him to go. I was glued to his wheel, but as he moved up along the right side of the other riders, Brandon Krawczyk from Twin Six tried to go with him. I’m not a big fan of bumping with riders but I do believe there is a place for it occasionally. This was one of those times. I just leaned into him, forearm to forearm with a bit of shoulder. Scott was moving past him so fast I’m sure Brandon didn’t have the time to check if there was a rider on Scott’s wheel.

I was able to hold onto Scott, and I was moving up past the remaining two riders. The way this finish is, you go though the last slightly sweeping turn going uphill, but you’re carrying a lot of speed (about 33mph). The finish from there is still slightly up hill but only about 100 meters are left to the finish. I came out of the turn 2nd, but Colton was 1st out, and he had a bike length on me already. I gave it everything, but there was just no catching him on this day. 2nd place was the result, and Scott impressively was able to hold on to 4th.

Garrick sprinted to 2nd behind Colton Barrett

Garrick sprinted to 2nd behind Colton Barrett Photo: Mike Dixon

 

Sunday: 80 mile Road Race

By: Michael Allison

Thankfully, Sundays race did not start until later in the morning. It is not uncommon to have a Sunday road race scheduled at 8am so that teams that travel have time to make it home at a decent time. This race started at 11:30, which in most cases would have given us plenty of time to pack up and relax, but instead we slept in. We were rushing to get out the door, partly because we slept in until 9am, but Kent had also forgotten where he set the keys to his car, so we spent time looking for those too.

We got on the road, ate breakfast at Panera, and were on our way to the race. The skies were clear and it was about 85 degrees, which made me slightly nervous. The week before I had warmed up for the Cliff Drive Circuit in leg warmers and a long sleeve jersey. I took three bottles with me, which I knew wouldn’t be enough for 80 miles, but they announced at the start that there would be neutral bottles in the feed zone. The course was a circuit just over 15 miles, and we were set to do 5 laps. The first lap was easy. I think the heat discouraged a lot of guys from wanting to make things too hard too fast.

On the second lap things began to get animated. My hope was to get in a break, but I knew that the second lap was still pretty ambitious unless a motivated group got organized. On the tailwind section of the course a move got away with Chris Spence (Kaos) Adam Ventling (Above and Beyond), and one other rider. I saw it go, but wasn’t in the right position to respond right away so I began to move up through the field and launched an attack to bridge up to them. Paul Webb (Harvest Racing) came with me and made it a group of 5 up the road. We made the turn into the crosswind with a decent sized gap on the field, however Paul and the other rider in our group were not pulling. I immediately began to doubt the potential success of the move I was in, but thought if I could get away with Chris and Adam that things would go way more smoothly. After attacking out of the group of couple of times, and being brought back, I decided I would sit on as well and wait for a reset. Shortly after making this decision Jameson Ribbens (Twin Six) bridged up to our group, adding some serious firepower. I was still sitting on, but with Jameson in the group my belief in the break began to increase. There was a chase group in the distance, with a sizeable gap between them and the field. Garrick was in this group, although at the time I didn’t realize that. The chase caught us just before passing through the start/finish. Brian West (Above and Beyond) and Jeff Kluck (Queen City) were also in this group.

For the next two laps I tried to focus on saving energy, eating, and drinking, although none of those were going very well. The heat was sapping my energy, and it was a struggle to eat because I wasn’t drinking enough water. The neutral bottles were plastic, so I would lose a lot of water from them when I would grab them, and they didn’t store in the bottle cage very well. With about 20 miles to go, Brian attacked our group and Garrick responded. Chris pulled them back, and I countered the move going into one of the only climbs on the course. This was a mistake. Jameson quickly responded and came around me like I was standing still. It was all I could do to hang on his wheel, and when we crested the climb it was clear that the effort had hurt us all. This distanced Paul from our group, and we all rotated at a relatively casual pace for the next few miles. Jameson then put in another attack. No one responded, and he quickly gained about 20 seconds on our group. Our group was not chasing all that hard, but at this point we were all very clearly feeling the heat and distance, which made any time I spent in the wind really difficult. Jameson kept his lead until the start/finish, where we had one lap left.

At this point we discovered we had 5+ minutes on the field, and we kept things neutral with each other for the majority of the final lap. It wasn’t until 7 miles to go that we began to ramp things up. The attacks started to go, and I rode up next to Garrick to get an idea of what our game plan should be. He said he was fine surfing wheels in the end if I wanted to have a go at things. I was hurting pretty bad, but thought once we got in the headwind I could possibly whittle things down. With about two miles to go, in a straight headwind, I attacked as hard as I could thinking it was the moment to get away. I looked behind and they were going all in to catch me. Thankfully nobody countered right away, which gave me time to get on the back of the group and recover. With about a half a mile left, I got to the front to lead out the sprint, and Brian was the first to jump working for his teammate Adam. Garrick was behind them, and I filed in behind him. The headwind was a blessing, because Adam ran out of gas before the finish and I was able to ride in behind Garrick to finish second.

We chugged some water, watched the field sprint for 7th, and rode slowly back to the car. We calculated it out when we got back to our phones and figured out that Garrick and I had secured 1st and 2nd in the omnium. The back to back omnium wins the past two weekends puts Garrick in 4th in the Flyover Series, and I am tied for 6th. We are excited to finish out the rest of the series!

This weekend we head to Tulsa Tough, one of our favorites of the year!

Nebraska Omnium Road Race

Nebraska Omnium Road Race Photo: Mike Dixon

Breakaway group in the Road Race

Breakaway group in the Road Race Photo: Mike Dixon

 

Joe Martin Stage Race Part 2

Saturday: Stage 3- 87 mile Road Race

By Garrick Valverde

Saturday was the 87-mile road race with just over 5,000 feet of climbing, which is pretty significant. There’s an 8-mile trek out to a 25-mile course that we do three laps of. The stage started with a neutral roll out of about four miles. During this roll out, I was trying to convince myself that everyone’s legs were feeling as stiff as mine. Once the moto gave us the green flag, attacks were rapid. Benn and Kent got in several of these early moves. The temp was a bit hot, like 80 degrees or so. I haven’t done many hot races this year, so I wasn’t sure how my body would react. I was tentative in these early miles because I knew if I went too far into the red too early, I might have a hard time recovering.

The first major climb is about ten miles in. The pace was nearly full gas every time up this climb, and it was here where most riders were dropped. I knew I had decent legs after the first time up, which allowed me to shake off any concern that I hadn’t recovered well from the day before. By the first hour, the pace was very high, and our team had already lost two riders, Benn and Scott. But the worst event by far was that Michael flatted about hallway through the lap while I was in a small break. I had no idea until about a lap later when a rider asked me if Michael had made it back on. “Made it back on?” I thought, “Oh crap.” So I spent the next ten minutes wondering if I was the only one left, as I had also not seen Kent in a while. To my great relief, Michael eventually did end up making it back on.

Lap three, and the group is mostly all suffering. We’ve lost nearly half of the 100 starters. On the climbs, guys are grimacing, some actually cramping and grunting. It’s ugly. I’m able to stay top ten up these climbs, and I’m feeling better and better. With about 20 miles to go, I’m starting to think about the finish. I just want to be at the front. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would go down. The finish is different than years past with a 90-degree turn about 300 meters to the line, and the road is ever so slightly up hill.

With ten miles to go, riders are starting to get fidgety. There’s a break of 3 just up the road that are destined to be caught. Riders are already starting to bump with one another, and I’m just trying to move up every chance I get. There’s a major crash about 8 miles to go to my left. I hear tires popping and carbon colliding. I frantically look for Michael and Kent. Michael is in 2nd, so if he’s not with us, I’d need to go back right away and help him bridge back on. It’s one of those times where I really wish we had radios. Thankfully, I spot him and Kent. At this point, my adrenaline is high. I’m entirely focused on being at the front. Kent graciously moves me up, and takes a long pull with about 5 miles to go. I’m sitting 3rd wheel. I tell myself I’m not moving out of the top ten, but I keep getting swarmed.

Bike racing to me is kind of like a language you’re trying to decipher. Or maybe it’s like a complex math equation, or rather dozens of equations going on at the same time. Our brains are taking in huge volumes of information, analyzing it, and then deciding ok; take this riders spot, move up now, this guy isn’t going to let you in, try to take the spot of the guy in front of him. The rider on your left is trying to pass, move a few inches over, don’t let him in, let this guy in, he’ll keep the pace high; he’s working for so and so. Brake, let go of brakes, now move up again. It’s very frantic and a little stressful, but it’s maybe one of the most exciting aspects of bike racing.

With about a kilometer to go, I’m top ten. A few riders on the front peel off, and I’m going into the final turn in about 7th. I see an opening to my left, and I gun it. I’m passing riders one by one. An Arapahoe Resources rider veers into my line and we collide shoulders briefly. I have one more rider ahead. A few more pedal strokes and I come by him just before the line. I couldn’t believe I just won. I look back, almost in disbelief, and find Michael whose first words are “Duuuude!” with a massive grin on his face.

Sunday: Stage 4- 50 minute Criterium

By: Michael Allison

I came in to Sunday’s stage with two very strong, very different emotions. On the one hand, we had won the two road stages at the biggest stage race in the Midwest- super pumped! On the other, Kent and I had lost our 2nd and 15th placings in the GC, and I was gutted. The day before, when I flatted my rear wheel, Kent and Austin waited with me to help pace me back to the field. The wheel change took slightly longer than we would have hoped, but the moto ref waited with us, and I was expecting a nice, short TTT effort up to the field. It wasn’t a minute into the chase that I realized we were screwed. The moto had very clearly never motor paced before and we were doing 350-400 watts just to try to catch his wheel. Fast forward 20 minutes. My avg pwr from the chase is 310 watts. The field is in sight, but I’m about to blow. My HR is 190. Kent and Austin are both gone having wasted themselves to try to get me back to the pack. After making it up the wall, the moto ref leaves me, and I think my race is done. Shortly after my raced is saved, at least it seemed that way at the time. A cop pulls up alongside me, and I get a sticky bottle that allows me to rejoin the pack. Garrick wins the stage, I finish 11th, Kent gets same time. However, we quickly realized the consequences of the race saving scenario Kent and I had found ourselves in. There were protests, and we were relegated to the back of the front group. Kent and I were both penalized two minutes in GC. Really sad, but it was a lose-lose situation. Still, Garrick took the win, and that softened the blow big time.

So, Sunday’s race. My plan was to be as aggressive as possible. Partly out of frustration. But also to continue the previous three days efforts to showcase our team. The crit was only 50 minutes. The course is basically a short .1 mile steep climb to the finish, followed by two long descents, and two short flats leading into the finishing hill. I didn’t get a very good starting position, but I put in some hard efforts in the first half lap to move up quickly, knowing it wouldn’t take long for the early move to go. On the 2nd lap, the first move came from Luis Galaviz (Fayetteville Wheelman). I went with, hoping to bring along a couple other riders, however it was just me and him. The next lap around was a cash prime lap, and I suggested we work smoothly and split the money. I made the mistake of not looking back to see where the field was after the 2nd to last turn, and didn’t see the lone chaser that came up on us too fast after the final turn to react. Luis and I lost the prime, but I quickly jumped up to the other rider and went around him to keep the field off. The next four or five laps I was solo, but was quickly reeled in after being joined by 2 other riders. I was able to get a lap of recovery in the field before another group went off. The effort this new group put in to distance ourselves from the field hurt, and I was beginning to really feel the previous effort. We made it a few laps just the three of us, and were then somehow joined by another group of about 10 that had many of the GC favorites. I briefly thought that this large group might be the winning move however, it was too close to the finish and we were caught. I was fried anyways, and the rest of the race was a blur. There were 3 or 4 laps to go, and a suicide move went off the front, and I tried following. I couldn’t really pull, but the field wasn’t far off and this move had no chance anyways.

This final break got caught with two to go going up the finishing climb. I was shot. Garrick was in great position as the field came by. The group had been reduced to about 30 riders, and there were many smaller groups that passed in the final lap. I saw Kent, and tried to hang on to the group he was in, but I could hardly turn over the pedals. I finished the crit by myself, the moto ref behind me, meaning I was the last person on the course. I found Garrick, who had placed fifth, and the rest of the team and we sat near the finish reminiscing on the memories that we created from the weekend. The final lap of the race was an opportunity for me to reflect on our huge accomplishments, and it was clear to me that despite some of the setbacks and making some mistakes, we still were able to ride strong as a team and get major results at each stage of one of the biggest races on our calendar. Joe Martin was a stepping stone for us as we head into the summer calendar and the rest of the season.

We are so grateful for everyone’s support. Our next race is Quad Cities in Iowa over Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Garrick wins Stage 3 Road Race; Photo: Dean Warren

Michael in the break on Sundays stage; Photo: Dean Warren

Garrick and Kent in the field; Photo: Dean Warren

Garrick and Kent in the field; Photo: Dean Warren

Kent in the field on Stage 4; Photo: Dean Warren

Kent in the field on Stage 4; Photo: Dean Warren

Jason Waddell (Tulsa Wheelmen) won Stage 4, Garrick Valverde sprinted to 5th place; Photo: Dean Warren

Jason Waddell (Tulsa Wheelmen) won Stage 4, Garrick Valverde sprinted to 5th place; Photo: Dean Warren

Joe Martin Stage Race Part 1

Thursday: Stage 1- Devils Den Time Trial

By Kent Woermann

Everybody’s pre-race game is a little different. Most of the team blast techno and fist pump their way through their morning, while I prefer a more relaxed approach, starting with a nice quiet breakfast, maybe a little Mumford and Sons, then taking a little more time than necessary to pin my number, get dressed, and start my race warm-up. The start of today’s stage didn’t involve any techno, but nothing else seemed to be going well, or at least I didn’t think so.

We got to the venue with plenty of time, but parking was a little different than years past and we had to walk about 3-4 minutes up a hill to the registration table. I know it’s pitiful to complain about a little walking, but I knew what was in store for me this weekend and saving every step I could was important.

Scott and I got the the registration table and they needed to see our race license before they would hand over our packets. Scott was already logged into the USAC app and got his right away but I left my phone at the car and since I went ‘green’ this year that was my only option. I tried logging into the app from Scott’s phone but the internet connection was shaky at best. After a few login attempts I gave up, walked back to the car, and walked back. My nice time cushion for number pinning and warming up was rapidly fading.

Getting back to the car I had 3 things that needed to happen; pin number, get dressed, and change out brake pads. I won’t get into the details, but getting these three tasks accomplished didn’t go smoothly – although they didn’t go that bad either. My race brain was making events seem slower than they actually were.

So I got dressed and rode down to the starting gate to check on my start time. I still had 40 minutes left which was more than enough. I used the climb on the other side of the race venue and went up and down it a few times. I felt pretty good.

On to the race…

My goal was to pace the first 1:15 at around threshold. My power meter fizzled out earlier that week so I had to do this by feel. I had specific power goals for the entire course but that mostly got thrown out the window. I can gauge what my threshold feels like when I’m fresh, but when the pain starts to creep in a few minutes into a time trial everything just feels hard. My goal after 1:15 was to push to the burn, embrace the burn, then push harder.

As I was nearing the end I saw the top of the hill where the race used to finish and I unleashed my final kick. As I got closer I realized the vehicle and the guy at the ‘finish line’ was just a photographer and I had to keep going. I had just given everything I had to finish and my legs were shot. I went from being super happy because my time was the best it’s ever been to really frustrated.

I did what I could to keep my speed up and when I saw the real 200 meter to-go sign I tried sprinting again, only this time it was really slow and twice as painful as the first. I crossed with a finishing time of 9:40ish.

I was really disappointed with this time because I’ve been training hard, eating better, and lighter and stronger than I’d been in a few years. To only shave a few seconds off my PR for this course after doing all the right things was discouraging to say the least. I even said to Michael and Scott afterwards, “I could lose another 20 pounds and I would still suck on this course”. It hadn’t dawned on me at this point that the course was longer than in years past.

So it turns out that the course was actually about 600 meters longer than previous years and I finished 12th overall. Had it been the course from years past I would have finished with a time of ~ 8:59 which would have been 45 seconds faster than I’ve ever done. Needless to say I was very happy to learn this.

It was a good start to the weekend, but we had our work cut out for us. Michael was :50 down, and Garrick was 1:08 down due to dropping his chain.

Friday: Stage 2- 110 mile Road Race

By Michael Allison

We went into Friday’s stage with the intention of protecting Kent’s position in the GC and possibly moving him up. There wasn’t a specific game plan going into the stage. Kent wasn’t high enough in the GC where we felt like we needed to send someone in the early break, and it is such a long race that it is difficult to anticipate how the tactics will play out. For 110 miles, a lot of it comes down to attrition. My personal game plan was to survive over Mt. Gaylor, assess how I felt, and maybe if I still had legs going into town I would get in a move.

The first 47 miles or so were like any race. Fast, jumpy, and aggressive until the early break finally forms. At about mile 30, Jacob White (Arapahoe Resources) jumped off the front, and in the next 5 or 10 miles a few others jumped to him to make it a 5 man move up the road. It began raining at about mile 50. We were going at a moderate pace, and Garrick came up to me shivering, commenting on how cold it was getting. I was getting cold as well, and it didn’t help that I could barely see what was ahead. The only thought running through my head was to get through the race and get into some warm clothes.

Thankfully, the rain began to die down as we headed into the 10-mile climb up Gaylor. My legs felt decent and I was drinking and eating as much as I could, saving as much energy as possible sitting towards the back of the pack. Before the ascent, I had Scott bring me up into the top 20 of the field and I hung in around there for most of the climb.

After the feed zone at the top, it is basically downhill for the rest of the race. Attacks started to go, and I was following almost everything that went. The attacks continued for 5 miles, but at mile 95 the group reset and Ricky Randall (Arapahoe Resources) was the lone rider out in front. I jumped to him, hoping I was dragging one or two others with me, but turned around and realized it was just the two of us.

For the next 2 miles it was just us, but we were then joined by his teammate Evan Bybee and Evan East (Hincapie Development). 13 miles to go. We had about 15 seconds on the group. About 2 miles later we were joined by another Hincapie rider, Ian Garrison, as well as Bill Mulligan (LAPT-Wilde Subaru). Our gap was still roughly 15 seconds, but with six of us my confidence in the break sticking was increasing.

I don’t know when it was that the group let our gap increase, but with about 6 miles to go I turned around and realized our gap had increased significantly. With 3km to go, I stopped pulling. With two other teams in the break having the advantage, I left it to them to set the pace.

With 1.5 km to go, there is a steep pitch just after a right hand turn. We weren’t taking risks into the corners, so we were slightly spread out. Evan East was a couple seconds ahead of us having gone into the right hander first, so I punched it as hard as I could over the top of the hill. I looked back to see East on my wheel and a decent gap to the rest of our breakaway companions. I signaled for him to pull through, but he shouted to keep going, that he was only looking for GC time. I didn’t trust him completely and was prepared to sprint coming to the line, but with 100m to go realized I would take the win. I wasn’t focused on what the announcer was saying, but as I threw my hands up I could very clearly hear him shout “from Kansas!”, almost in a surprised tone.

 

Garrick dropped his chain in Stage 1; Photo: Dean Warren

Garrick dropped his chain in Stage 1; Photo: Dean Warren

Garrick remains calm after an unfortunate chain drop. Photo: Dean Warren

Garrick remains calm after an unfortunate chain drop. Photo: Dean Warren

Kent Woermann powered his way to 12th place in Stage 1; Photo: Dean Warren

Kent Woermann powered his way to 12th place in Stage 1; Photo: Dean Warren

Austin Elser in Thursdays TT; Photo: Dean Warren

Austin Elser in Thursdays TT; Photo: Dean Warren

Benn Stover in the Devil's Den TT; Photo: Dean Warren

Benn Stover in the Devil’s Den TT; Photo: Dean Warren

Scott Williamson in Thursday's TT; Photo: Dean Warren

Scott Williamson in Thursday’s TT; Photo: Dean Warren

Michael near the end of the 2.5 mile TT; Photo: Biff Stephens

Michael near the end of the 2.5 mile TT; Photo: Biff Stephens

Michael takes the victory in stage 2; Photo: Ethan Glading

Michael takes the victory in stage 2; Photo: Ethan Glading

Race Report: Spring Fling Week 4

On Saturday morning I woke up and realized I needed some pancakes and coffee. Kelly and I were headed out to race the Spring Fling that afternoon and word on the street is some tough competition would be making an appearance this weekend. We were out of coffee and milk so I made got in the car to head to the store. As I was driving to Hy-vee I could already feel myself getting pumped. At this point I wasn’t sure whether it was excitement for pancakes and coffee or the race but it doesn’t matter – lightweight babbbbyyyy!!!

Pre-Race:

Before the races we’ve been heading out for an easy 60-90 minute spin. It’s early in the season still and a 60 minute training criterium just isn’t enough time on the bike especially since many of us are gearing up for longer events like Joe Martin. We usually head towards Lone Star Lake but the tailwind on the way out would mean a stiff headwind on the way back. Finishing a warm-up feeling fast is good for the head so a tailwind finish is preferable. We ended up doing a loop through Lawrence and the KU campus. Once we got back we emrbo’d up and put on our race wheels. It was go time.

Perfect day for some @chamoisbuttr embrocation here at the Spring Fling! #buttrmakesitbetter #ridesubaru #pacelineproducts

A post shared by Olathe Subaru Trek Racing (@olathesubarutrek) on

 

The Race:

There are always so many attacks in our races that I can never remember the exact order of what happened. The first few laps were unusually calm with only a few attacks that were getting quickly chased down.

Eventually Benn and Chris Spence from Team Kaos got off the front and built a solid gap. Riders made a few attempts to bridge but nobody was letting anything get away. After maybe 4-5 laps Lee, Michael, and Garrick finally got a separation from the pack and started to pull away.

There were a few attempts to bridge to the newly formed chase group but those 3 riders were on the gas and pulling away quickly. After one of the Kaos riders put in a dig in the finishing straight I used that momentum and jumped with everything I had to make the bridge. As I rounded turn one I saw that I was actually going to make the catch. I sort of surprised myself with that effort and it was a good sign that I’m getting my legs back.

After I connected to the chase group I was still feeling good so I started to pull through. I wanted to make sure we didn’t get reeled back in by the main bunch since Michael was our series leader and there were still a lot of sprint points left in the race even if we didn’t catch Benn and Chris up ahead.

The 4 of us quickly started working together and built a sizeable gap within the next couple laps when they rung the bell for a prime lap. There were still two point spots up for grabs and we wanted Michael to get them. Garrick and I started trading pulls on the front with Michael right behind us for the lead out. Going through the final turn we stayed to the left of the road leaving just enough room for Michael to get by. He got the third point position while Lee got the fourth.

After that we reorganized and continued our rotation. Within the next 1-2 laps we caught Benn and Chris and then that’s when the fun really started. We were only friendly with one another for a short while before the attacks started going off. Even though Benn and Chris were the virtual points leaders of the race there was still one more sprint lap and the final lap (the final is worth the most points). The race win was still up for grabs.

On the next sprint lap Garrick and I did the same thing we did on the previous lap and led out Michael and Benn. Benn ended up getting stuck behind Lee coming into the final turn so Michael took first in the sprint while Garrick was second, I was third, and Lee was fourth.

After that Chris started throwing some attacks. Garrick and I were covering most of these attacks while we attempted to keep Michael and Benn fresh for the final sprint. Chris was on fire, and chasing every one of these down hurt like hell. Fortunately with there being four Olathe Subaru guys and only 2 Kaos riders we had the advantage and splitting the workload to chase him down made it easier.

For the final two laps we wanted to discourage Chris or Lee from attacking off the front so I started to ramp up the pace with about one and a half laps to go. After I put in my dig it was Garrick’s turn and he turned on the throttle, flying by me with Michael, Benn, Lee, and Chris on his wheel (in that order I believe).

As I watched from behind I saw Lee jump ahead at the final turn with a pretty big gap and I thought he had it. Right as I thought Lee was going to get the win Michael found an extra gear and nabbed Lee at the line!

A solid race weekend for Olathe Subaru.

Results_for_Spring_Fling_Crit_Series_-_USA_Cycling

The following day Michael, Benn, Garrick, and Tom woke before the break of dawn, 4:30am to be exact, and made the drive down to Arkansas for the NWA Classic. Arapahoe Resources had a full squad, and Tulsa Wheelman and Elevate Cycling also were had some heavy hitters, sure to play an active role in the race making for a solid challenge.

Garrick found himself in a move with Jacob White (Arapahoe Resources) at the start of the second lap, and with heavy crosswinds, the group wasn’t too eager to ramp it up that early. At the start of the third lap, things began to pick up and the catch was eventually made. Evan Bybee (Arapahoe Resources) and Alberto Covarrubias (Elevate Cycling) were eager to get away from the group and put in serious attacks that had the group single file, and on the backside of the course a group of about 15 got away with Michael in there. With five Arapahoe Resources riders in the mix, they took up majority of the pacemaking to distance the break from the rest of the field. Once the break had about two minutes, the attacks began leading to a group of seven splitting off.Michael was behind in a chase group of three, and despite several attacks to try to distance himself from the three, he ended up 9th. Garrick finished second in the field sprint to take 17th.

Results from NWA Cycling Classic. @michaelallis0n 9th, @garrickvalverde 17th, @twp521 31st. #crosswinds #ridesubaru

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Next Up For Team Olathe Subaru

Next weekend we’ll be racing at the final Spring Fling in the series. We’ve got Michael in the overall lead and a few other riders placed high in the overall. Since there isn’t any racing Sunday most of us will probably be doing some longer rides in preparation for the Velotek GP and Joe Martin at the end of the month!

Spring Fling Week 3

By: Garrick Valverde

It’s Saturday afternoon and a group of our riders decided to meet at Chipotle to have a pre race meal and to discuss tactics a few hours ahead of the race. The weather could not have been better. We ate outside in the sun while cracking jokes and raising all of our excitement for the race to come.

On race day I always get waves of nerves. They come up sometimes randomly and I feel them in my gut, like a jolt of energy. While we’re talking strategy someone will say, “Ok, so Garrick you’ll attack coming into the 3rd lap. Go hard but don’t be doing 1000 watts.” SMASH there goes another wave. No one sitting around the table would ever notice; the nerves are hidden. When I was first starting out racing these waved of nervousness used to make me feel sick to the point where I couldn’t eat. Now I welcome them. I even look forward to them. They charge me up.

After we all got registered and our numbers were pinned, we set out on an easy hour and a half ride to warm up and fine-tune our strategy. We knew we’d be the biggest team with seven riders so we’d have many cards to play. Our prime objective was to get Michael Allison the win. The spring fling is a point-based series. Michael won the first weekend, and a win today would help secure an overall win for the series. The race course is a flat .8 mile loop. Breakaways are almost always the final outcome, and there are three sprint laps with points up for grabs to the top four riders.

I lined up next to Benn Stover on the start line at the back of the field of just over 20 riders. Small races many times prove to be the hardest with nowhere to hide. Benn and I quietly talked with each other about which teams and specific riders to be aware of. The race started and the pace was quite chill for the first couple laps. Our objective these first few laps was to float mid pack and attempt to make a selection with as many of the Olathe Subaru riders as possible coming into the 3rd lap. My role was to gun it coming through the start finish with several of the team on my wheel. The hope was that we could get a split on the field after turn 1 and 2. As we approach the 3rd lap, I crouched low over my bars and went for it. After 15 or so seconds of hard pulling, I flicked my elbow for Kent to come through. We were flying. But as I looked back, the whole field, although strung out, were on our wheels. As Benn started his pull I shouted to scratch the plan.

The pace lulled for just a couple seconds. With some great improvisation, Kent attacked. The field hesitated. Grayson Warrior from Team Colavita went and I got on his wheel. At this point, race tactics have to be primarily reaction based. Things are happening so fast and the pain is quite high that, for me anyways, I’m not really thinking much. I’m just highly aware of the situation.

Grayson made a massive effort up to Kent, but the field was close behind us. Ian Silovsky countered and again the field lulled. A few different teams worked to pull Ian back. It took about a half lap. Once he was caught, Benn attacked by himself. I’ll just say at this point I’m hurting. I’ve gone hard several times in the span of less than ten minutes. With such few riders to help pull these attacks back, I know the break will likely form in the next few laps.

With Benn about 30 meters up the road, the chase took a momentary pause as the riders taking turns at the front look for help. Michael Allison and I attacked at this moment and a few riders went with us. I believe we had five total, but unfortunately Benn was not with us, so our representation in the break could have been better. About a lap and a half goes by and my pain is bad. I’ve been taking really hard pulls (maybe harder than I should have) to get the break established. I’m a little fuzzy on the details but Benn, Scott, and another rider made a great bridge to our group. A sharp acceleration for a preme dropped me. I was in no mans land trying to claw my way back when Joe Petersen from Rasmussen Bike Shop caught me. I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard of Joe before, but he is tough. He pulled me up to the break, now seven riders strong (four Olathe Subaru riders). The other riders are Joe, Jack Funk from Team Arapahoe Resources, and Ethan Luebbe from Blue River Bicycle club.

The seven of us were pulling well together and we went though the start line and heard the gap was 20 seconds to the field. At this point, I was solely focused on our tempo. The laps ticked down surprisingly fast. While the break was forming, we had our first sprint at 25 laps to go. I believe Michael was 2nd. The second sprint was at 15 laps to go and Michael won that. Michael won the final sprint lap with 9 to go. Scott Williamson took 2nd in couple of the sprint laps, earning him valuable points. At some point we lapped the field. The main focus was on the three other riders. Jack was the only one really going for a solo ride and his numerous attacks really hurt, however there were too many of us there to chase him down. With one lap to go, Benn led the field for ¾ of the lap. Coming out of the second to last turn I gave it everything I had with Michael on my wheel. We came through the final turn and the rest of the riders were gapped off. With 200 meters to the line Michael opened up his sprint. I looked back and saw our gap, and I couldn’t help but celebrate early with a fist pump. We did it. Michael 1st, Scott 2nd, me 4th, Benn 7th, and Kent 8th. For sure a great day of racing.

Next weekend we’ll be at Spring Fling on Saturday and head to NWA Classic in Arkansas on Sunday.

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Tour of Corsicana 2015

This weekend the team traveled down south to Corsicana, Texas for the Tour of Corsicana. It’s a two day, three stage race with a 5 mile TT on Saturday, 60 min crit Saturday night, and an 88 mile road race on Sunday. We drove down Friday night and stayed in a renovated three story art studio. The building is used to house artists that travel to Corsicana to work on projects without distraction, in a creative environment. They had some beautiful artwork displayed throughout the building, which was a unique experience compared to the usual hotel stay.

Saturday 

The time trial was a slightly downhill 4.7 mile point to point. We knew going into it that we would probably have to make up time in the crit and road race since none of us have TT equipment. The time differences were fairly minimal so we were hopeful that the next two stages would give us some opportunities to move up in the GC.

Following the TT, we spun back to the studio, ate some lunch, and took it easy before the crit which wasn’t until 8:30pm. The course was .9 miles with 6 turns and two brick sections. For the first 40 minutes of the race it was full gas and Michael, Kent, and Garrick followed several moves but the field of 71 riders was clearly unwilling to let a break get away. With 9 laps to go, Garrick was getting caught from a break going into the final corner. The final corner had been tricky all race because there was a line of water draining across the apex of the turn that had caused a number of crashes throughout the day. Since the field was making the catch through that corner, Garrick took a deviated line and slid out on the inside. The field went left, so Garrick was the only one involved and was able to rejoin the group the next lap. Elbowz and Arapahoe Resources had quite a bit of fire power at the front of the race and kept things fast coming into the final laps, ensuring that no surprise attacks would get away. With one to go Michael and Garrick were near the front fighting for position in the top ten. The last few turns offered little opportunity to gain any position as the pace was high and the turns were tight. Michael was 8th position coming into the last corner and sprinted past two lead out men to take 6th, and Garrick sprinted his way from about 15th position to 7th.

Sunday

After the crit, Michael, Garrick, and Kent were our highest placed riders in the GC, about a minute down. Our goal was to put one of them in the break and make up that time. The course was 4 laps on a flat 22 mile loop. On the first loop, out priority was to stay near the front and monitor any early moves, however no attacks got up the road that established significant time. Going into the second lap the race started getting more animated. Despite Elbowz having 2 riders in the top 3 overall, it was clear they wanted to get one of them into a break so they could take the win. This made the first part of the second lap fast and difficult due to the constant jumps. About half way through that lap things began to settle down and a move with Arapahoe Resources and another rider slipped up the road. Kent quickly reacted and the field was content to let them gain some time. Once the break got about 30 seconds, people started to attack in an effort to bridge. Benn covered an attack from Elbowz and Giant On Road and the field let them get away. Once the group made the bridge they gained a little over a minute. The entire third lap was stop and go from riders making efforts to bridge up to the break. It wasn’t until the end of the third lap before an organized chase formed on the front to pull the move back. The field made the catch going through the start finish of the final lap and counter attacks started to go with Michael and Garrick covering anything that got away, however the field was clearly not going to let anything else up the road. Coming into the final stretch of road, Michael, Garrick, and Austin were sitting near the front and Scott made his way up into the top 20. Sheehan from Elbowz was trying to get away to make up time in the GC and take the win. Michael marked his wheel in the finishing stretch and followed two attacks that would both eventually get brought back. A counter attack of six guys got away with about a 15 second advantage, and the field ran out of road to make the catch. Austin led Garrick and Scott out for the field sprint, and they were able to take 11th and 12th on the stage.

Ian raced in Kansas at the Spring Fling and Perry and placed 6th and 3rd on those races. This weekend we will be doing the Spring Fling on Saturday and Tour of St. Louis Sunday.

 

 

Spring Fling Recap

This past weekend we kicked off our season at the Spring Fling Crit in Lawrence. I was pretty nervous all morning going into the race, which is pretty typical for the first few races of the season for me. Kent, Scott, Ian, and I all rode out to Lone Star before the race to get a longish warmup in, and by the time we got back to Clinton Lake I was much more relaxed than I had been earlier in the day. Austin met up with us at the start line. With the nice weather, there was a decent turnout, with 31 starters towing the line.

The race was pretty calm at the beginning. In the past, the first few laps of the Spring Fling have been some of the hardest that I will do all year, but this year we kind of eased into it. After about three laps, the first attack went up the road with little reaction from the field. He dangled about 5-10 seconds up the road for about a lap and a half before there was any sort of response from anyone. Connor Brown (Gateway Harley Davidson) was the first to counter coming through the start/finish and I was on his wheel so it was easy to cover. The two of us have been in quite a few breakaways together as we have moved up through the categories, so getting away with him I thought had a decent chance of sticking. The next time around the bell rang signaling a prime lap so I did a quick check to see where the field was. I could see Kent trying to bridge so I let Connor do the majority of the pulling that lap so Kent could make it up to us. I took the prime and waited for Kent to latch on

Once Kent joined, the three of us worked together to increase our lead on the chasing field. Coming into 20 laps to go we got the bell for another prime and I took my pull early so that Kent could lead us out going into the final couple of corners. I sat on Connor’s wheel going into the last corner and won the preme by a bike throw. We waited for Kent to rejoin and continued to share the workload pretty evenly. We had about 25-30 seconds on the chase group at this point so I knew with the three of us working together, it was pretty unlikely that the chase group of five would catch us.

The next prime was with ten laps to go, and I knew that if I won this one, that I would for sure have first place solidified since the Spring Fling is a points based race. Again, Kent led it out going into the final two corners, and I was able to slip past Connor at the end. At this point the only goal was to keep the pace steady so that the chase group wouldn’t catch us. Despite having the advantage in points over Connor, he put in an Ian Stannard-esque move coming into three laps to go. Kent had just finished a turn at the front, so I had to react quickly to reel him back in. When we caught Connor, Kent attacked, and once Connor reeled him back in I put in a hard dig and was able to hold it until the finish. It was a fun way to end the race, so props to Connor for mixing things up in the final laps.

I’d like to thank Kent for the work he did to get himself up to the break and help me take the win. Also, thanks to Scott, Ian, and Austin for the work they did marking moves that helped us keep our advantage up the road.

Down in Arkansas, Garrick and Benn took 3rd and 4th representing KU at a collegiate road race.

Next weekend we head to Texas for the Tour of Corsicana. It’s a two day stage race. A few of us are staying for a few days after the race to get in some good training during our Spring Breaks.

Spring Fling 123 Results

Spring Fling week 1