Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Anthem BC/BS Race Narrative, 04/21/07

The Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Cycling Team was very active throughout the 2007 Plainville Spring Series.

Ron LaRose III won the Individual Series Title.

Good job, guys! ... Jim Thompson

Originally scheduled for 3/17/07, postponed to 4/21/07 due to inclement weather.

Cat 3/4 - The internet is a funny place. You know, you talk a little trash on your blog, and then the next thing you know, the whole southern New England amateur cycling scene knows about it. Go figure.

Anyway, upset by versions of events as previously posted on our blog, Cyclenauts came in full force, ready to show us a thing or two. On the line was the yellow jersey, which we has a 5-point lead over Ian Sinclain of Targetraining. Cyclenauts wanted to protect its team-overall lead, which we threatened.

Before hand, we saw Mike Norton of Cyclenauts conferring with Targetraining. Oh boy, I didn't like the looks of that. Just like after we caught wind of some trash-talking comments from one side, we worked with CVC to damage Cyclenauts during the second week of this Plainville series. My guess is that Cyclenauts and Targetraining would each work to help reach their goals. Ian Sinclair was close to catching our Ron "Stabbing Fire" LaRose for the yellow, and we were threatening Cyclenauts for the team overall. Could the two work together to send us home with nothing but second places? Or Less? Let's find out.

The field was the largest it has been. Lots of new faces. Targetraining brought is some talent that I recognized as able to put the hurt in. A gorgeous sunny day, we start, and then immediately to my right, there is a crash., I here is, but I didn't see it. I just gallop and go. Immediately John Durham from Cyclenauts an attack is gone. I hang back --- still recovering from yet another mystery illness (well probably not much of a mystery --- Life Lesson 3056: If you have to debate longer than 3 seconds to decide if you should eat cocktail sauce that's been hanging around in your fridge for a few years, that's a good sign you're an idiot). Jeff "Biff" Murray, Hunter Provonost, and Tom "Iron Pipe" Arcari, were responsible for covering the early stuff. As we round the start finish line, I see the Stabbing Fire get a push from the pit back in. He was the one who crashed at the start line.

The break was out front for a while. And we were happy to let it just sit out there. John Durham, who won the first race, and we wanted him to exhaust himself a bit and take himself out of the finish. But he was out there for a bit. He later admits to me he was feigning tiredness to get us complacent with him dangling out there. And it may have worked. As the race was nearing 20 minutes old. Enough was enough --- if he's out there during a bell lap, those are valuable prime points that Cyclenauts will grab. I rally up the guys to attack him back. But not wanting to pull the field up, we want to get some separation on an bridge up so the other teams aren't all rested when the break is caught. Biff, I.P. and Hunter were attempting to, but we were seriously marked. I came around, got The Stabbing Fire on my wheel, and laid it down as hard as I could. We're attacking but can't get any spearation. Well, ti's tool alte for that anyway. Regardless, we need to pull Durham back. Going by the start finish, I was pulling hard and the bell rang for the prime. Oh crap, Durham still has a gap, but maybe if I lay it down as hard as I can the next lap, I can close it enough for the Stabbing Fire to blast by and overtake Durham for at least some of the prime point available.

Still digging in, I come around, my legs about to give out. Into the headwind, I get the F out of the way, and hope S.F can take it. But right there is Mr. Norton. He gets some speed going and S.F. never gets around him. And in fact, Durham still manages to stay out there. So that's how it goes. Cyclenauts spanks us for the prime points. Mr. Norton is all smiles.

With this development, it would be very difficult for us to win the team overall. So, while recovering from my leadout for the prime, we will be racing to protect our yellow. All of us, are trying hard not to break apart the field. Even Jeff "The Obessed" Ferraro, coming in for his first race of the year, gets into the action. We're launching great stuff and counter-attacking, but it all seems like a fools errand. Cyclenauts is determined not to let anything go. They cover us extremely well, and frustrate attempts. Targetraining try as well, but were are watching them and frustrate their attempts. At one point though, myself and Bob "50 Amp" German, our unofficial junior riding for Aidan Charles' junior squad (and wearing a Pedal Power jersey) gets into a two man attack. But on our wheel is Durham. I yell at 50A to step on it. He does. Durham, exhausted from his previous efforts, has to drop off. I see him gesture back to the field, some like "hey, cover this now."

50A and I now lay on the gas. Then G damn it, I turn around and a different yellow and black Cyclenauts hornet is sucking on our wheels. Well its not so bad. I yell to Bob not to drop this guy though, as the two of us rotate through. I figure Cyclenauts will probably let us gain a little ground as long as they have a guy up there with us. Once we get the gap up to 30 seconds or so, we can try to shake him. And it will be too difficult for Cyclenauts to send another guy to bridge up. And I really thought 50A and I were laying down the gas nicely to effectuate such a brilliant idea. But obviously with their talent and numbers, Targetraining must have been busting buns to catch us. And then did. Such a beautiful idea from such a beautiful mind now sent to the garbage heap. Oh the tragedy.

So it comes down to this: nothing with a Anthem, Cyclenauts or Targetraining would be allow to go. Attacks initated by Biff, Hunter and I really should have succeeded. But wow, did we meet some resistence. And none of these three teams would work with the other team in a break (my thinking about Cyclenaut's and Targetraining's alliance may have been wrong) And the Stabbing Fire was watched so closely, anything he was was quickly matched. Despite everyone's best attacks, the field settles in for the sprint finish.

So you would think. But ever so nonchalantly, 50A and Bryan Haas of Zephyr cycling just start to pull away (with a CVC? rider as well). I tell guys not to chase. For simply odds. If it is a full sprint finish, with 7 places in the line, Ian Sinclair had a much better chances of gaining 5 points on the Stabbing Fire. But with only 5 places, his chances are tougher. (seriously, trust my match on this one). So we happily let 50A and Bryan go away. During their attack, I heard 50A did the lion's share of pulling. The gap was getting huge. With 2 1/2 to go, I see Mr. Norton give his patented Hornet waive -- calling the rest of the hive up to protect him for the finish. I also knew with their numbers, they may also send a sneak way to force us to chase down and wear ourselves down before we could give S.F. a leadout. I wanted to frustrate that, so I took off (something Biff was ready to do if I didn't), passing the CVC rider who was dropped out of the break, I can see 50A and Bryan, it looks like I'm about 10 seconds away from bridging. But that's as close as I'll get.

Regardless of the cause, we'll just blame that failure on rancid cocktail sauce.

On the bell lap, that's about all my legs have. The field is on me, I move the hell over to the left. Crit-master Aki Sato goes and tries to launch something early, hopefully catch the field sleeping in a position battle. But the field is on his tail. Into the final turn, I see a lot of Yellow and Black (and probably even that patchouli wearing hippy, G-bigs) in the front. Stabbing Fire's yellow jersey is 6th place. Mr. Norton has quite a lead. I don't know there. It doesn't look good. But then, I see the after burners go on. Stabbing Fire goes, and get the field sprint. Ian Sinclair comes in for 6th. Stabbing Fire has retained the yellow.

Finishing seconds before us was the two-man break. I later heard that in a big display of sportsmanship, Bryan told 50A that he wouldn't contest him for the sprint (something Bryan, an excellent sprinter could have taken) as 50A did the majority of the work. 50A, not happy with winning Battenkill the week earlier, 2nd place overall at Bethel Cat 4, and Bethel junior yellow jersey, now chalks up a 1st place in a hotly contested 3/4.

But don't get cocky guys. You see....Bragging a lot doesn't do too much good. It breeds a lot of people very hostile to your efforts to win. This makes a difficult task much harder.

And for any other teams reading this, really we are just a humble bunch of guys, earnestly interesting in this cycling thing. We are not a serious threat. We give all of the money we however honestly acquire from the various races, whose promoters, such as Jim Thompson, we genuinely thank, to Fidelco, a charity that helps train little puppies for people who need dogs to help them with daily tasks.

This might not really have been how it happened. It could be all made up by my feeble food-poisoned mind. So don't hate me if I got it wrong or missed something really big.

Courtesy of Anthony Parent
Ronnie, awesome job man. You deserve this for sure. I was glad to help out in your quest.

I was shocked to see you go down right off the line and i was troubled that someone would gun it from the start despite a rider falling. Durham and whoever else was with him ( Norton?! ) need a good excuse for that one. I dont care what the pre-race plan was. The only reason they escaped is because it took me a half lap to stop worrying about our team leader and decide to chase down the madness.

From then on the race was fast and we worked wisely and as a team. Anthony, you talk about our being in 2nd place teamwise, maybe you guys talked about taking both titles without me before the race, but i was never too concerned about the team standing. Ronnie's individual was our main priority. It would have been hard to secure both.

Props to Jeff Murray for his selfless attacks. Each time, taking the pressure off me and any other Anthem riders in the front ten. Jeff F too for being determined to help out first time back. Props to Bryan Haas as well, not just for letting Bob take the deserved win, but for his many attacks during the race to test the wills of the big teams there.

Its fitting in this war of 3 teams, that the two strong riders with no official teammates were the ones to ride off eventually. But both those guys are good in my book, and Bob of course, is practically on the team and watching him ride away was the secret ace in our sleeve for the day.

Good job guys, lets bring that same do whatever it takes attitude & heads up ness to Palmer on Sunday....

Courtesy of Hunter Pronovost
It was a great series for the team. We set goals for each race, executed them and in the end almost took the team win with yellow and the team. You guys will see the jersey in the shop the rest of the season.

It went down early. Literally. I didn't clip in very quick (one of my problems) and I got hit from behind on the start. Then I got run over, busted open my bottle and the chain fell off. I was picking myself off the ground as I watched the field round the first corner. I get myself together and redline it to try and catch up. They are out of site. I come back around to the start/finish and the race official stops me, asks me if I'm alright and gives the bike a quick check. I get some water from some of the guys from the last race. I get a push and I'm off.

John and Ian are off the front and we reel them in relatively quickly. I rip off the shredded tape from my bars, stuff it in my jersey and things get going. See A-train's recap for the mid race details. I had my eye specifically on Ian and after John won the prime and I got no prime points, I had an eye on him too (lucky for me he was also watching Ian and wasn't ever far off). On the bell lap Aki leads the train (For some reason, I can't explain Aki can dice through a field with his eyes closed. Want to learn how to move up in a pack? follow him). Lots of yellow up front, I'm sitting about 6 coming out of the final corner. Mike hits the gas, I have to get around one rider for a clear line before I hit the burners. Its Mike and I for the line, I pick the wrong side (his left), hes moving close to the curb but I squeak but on a drive way cut out at 38 mph and take the field. I was only scared when I went back and looked at the line in the sand, its about 3 in from the curb.

Courtesy of Ron LaRose

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