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Series Win at Spring Fling

Leading into the final week of the Spring Fling, there were numerous discussions over what our strategy would be. With rumors that second place in the series, Joe Peterson (Rasmussen Bike Shop), would not be there, I had the overall series win secured. Kent and Benn were sitting 4th and 5th in the series so we wanted to try to move them up and then possibly get one more of our guys up into the top five. A few of us had volunteered to corner marshal for the first two races early in the day, and as we sat there watching the Master’s and Women’s races we bounced different ideas around of what our plan should be. After taking a look at the series points we decided that if we could get Scott the win and get Kent and Benn some prime points, we could put four of our guys in the top five in the overall. I was getting excited!

We set out for our usual longish warmup. By this time I would generally have already eaten my usual pre-race Chipotle burrito, but we had spent the morning at the course, and I hadn’t planned out my meals very well before leaving the house. I was getting hungry, which made me slightly nervous so I brought some money along with me to make a quick food stop during the ride. All was going smooth, as usual, until my shifter ate my rear derailleur cable. We were near campus when this occurred, so thankfully we were close to Sunflower and could swing by to pick up a new cable, and hopefully still make it to the race in time. The nerves were really kicking in now. I threw my bike in the stand took the shredded cable out, and Benn and one of the mechanics at Sunflower, Collin, helped me thread the new one in. Crisis averted, but I was still hungry, and we were on a time crunch to make it back to the race. I grabbed a couple Bonk Breakers from the shop and we rolled out. Not exactly the lunch of champions, but I was happy to have anything at this point.

We made it back to the race, discussed the game plan one more time, and hit the start line. From the gun, there was a hard attack from someone that strung the field out and took me somewhat off guard. Since we had the numbers I was expecting the field to wait for us to show our cards. Scott and I had started at the back, and gaps were already beginning to open up, so we quickly navigated our way up to the rest of our team and began to rotate on the front to make a selection. After about three laps of controlling the front, the only people left were our team plus Luke Sykora (Lincoln Industries) and Marc Walter (Powerade). The race turned into a team time trial. When the bell rang for the first prime, it was the first test to see how our legs felt. We had averaged 27.9 mph up until this point, and I could feel it. Since I didn’t need any points in the sprints, my job was to lead it out until the second to last corner. I pulled off and Garrick took over. I filed in behind Benn and Scott and we took 1st-5th in the prime. We quickly reorganized our train and continued to rotate on the front, slowing the pace slightly so that we wouldn’t crack before the race was over and to ensure that everyone would be fresh enough to have a sprint left for the remaining primes. The second and third prime were almost identical to the first. Luke Sykora nipped Garrick at the line for 4th in one of the sprints, but regardless, everything was still going well for us. In the final sprint Scott, Kent, and Benn took 1, 2, 3 and Garrick and I placed 4th and 5th. In the series, Kent and I finished 1st and 2nd, Joe Peterson took 3rd, and Benn and Scott placed 4th and 5th.

Thanks so much to Revolution Racing for the great race. The Spring Fling celebrated its 20th year, and we were happy to be a part of it. The early season racing gave us the opportunity to practice tactics that will help us in the bigger races. This weekend we will be at the Lecompton Team Time Trial on Saturday. Sunday, a couple of the guys will be racing the Gravelleur’s Raid. We will also have a few guys in the wind tunnel of Kansas, Bazaar. See you this weekend!

Series Podium. Joe Peterson was not present, but placed third

Series Podium. Joe Peterson was not present, but placed third

Michael Allison wins the overall series

Michael Allison wins the overall series

Week 5 results

Week 5 results

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

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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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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