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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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!