Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bikeman and the Bees - Dartmouth L'Enfer Du Nord/ UNH Live Free or Ride Harder

Bikeman ventures into the wilderness of NH, in a world where there are no taxes and just roads....
The first mass start in the Men's B and as a Cat 3 at
Dartmouth University
UVM Cycling ventured down to NH, the closest race of the season.  We had four races to compete in, the first two hosted by Dartmouth, and the final two hosted by UNH.  To highlight the weekend, UVM Cycling gained a win from the appearance of The Jamey Driscoll who stomped the Men's A field in the Criterium.  Day 2 was marked with a 3 Men's A riders within the top 10 of the road race. A spectacular weekend of racing from UVM Cycling!

Day 1 - Dartmouth L'Enfer Du Nord - ITT and Criterium

Hammering the
Criterium climb
Rocketing up the power
climb in the Criterium
After gaining an upgrade to Cat 3, I was automatically placed in the Men's B this past weekend.  Sadly leaving the hoard of C-Men, I moved into the B category starting with the on campus time trial.  Riding through Dartmouth Campus was both inspirational and educational.  As you rode through, you could feel the intelligence seeping from the buildings.  While nothing of excitement happened for me in the time trial, the 4 mile up hill grind through dirt, pavement and New Hampshire was more than grueling.  I finished in 29th place amongst the Men's B in the time trial.  Not my best result, but also not my worst.

The day progressed with the weather fluctuating from warm to cold, from windy to calm.  By the end of the day it had begun to snow, but before the snow was my time to take a stab at the Criterium.  Having watched the Men's B race before, I expected a faster and smoother pace when compared to the Men's C.

Attacking from the back of the back during
the final lap of the Men's B Criterium
Through the race I managed to hang towards the tail of the main pack.  With about 6 or 7 laps to go, a crash at corner four separated the main pack.  I managed to weave through the carnage and latch back on to the lead pack.   During the final lap, I made a move up the right side of the field and tried to launch off the front.  The gap that I opened was quickly shut down by the field, but I was not over taken.  I managed to hang on to third wheel position until just after corner four when the sprint happened.  Having exhausted myself trying to make a gap, I had nothing left for the sprint and was swarmed.  I managed to go from 3rd to 20th in the matter of 5 second.  Be faster than the things happening around you.

Day 2 - UNH Live Free or Ride Hard - TTT and Road Race
The races hosted for UNH started with torental downpour.  With no end in sight for the rain, the Men's B did not assemble a team for the TTT and instead rested in the vans in "prep" for the afternoons race.  The rain eventually let up in time for the start of the road race.  Soon after the start of the race I heard a clicking that I thought was the magnet on my front wheel hitting my sensor.  I later discovered (around mile 15 of 19 in lap 1 of 3, that I had actually blown a spoke.  I stopped and removed the spoke, after which I opted to pull out of the race.  Better safe than sorry!

Overall, I'm happy with my results and can see where I need to tactically improve as well as physically.  Not being remarkably stronger than the other riders, I am going to be forced to ride smarter and conserve energy with hopes I will have enough left for the final sprint.

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid!

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