Southern Arizona Onmium 2016
I love road races.
I opted, as I did last year, to only do the road race as I am not a fan of time trials. The cat 4 group was, as I’ve noted in previous race notes, particularly large this year, and we were combined with the collegiate B. Thankfully they closed off both sides of the road this year all the way up the hill and past the finish line for a few hundred meters.
I approached this race as I did last year: with nonchalance…or being casually deliberate depending on your philosophy. It was a great day to be outside, smell the cactus flowers, and get in some nice climbing efforts. Brandon can tell you how the front of the group was as he played the role, handsomely I might add, of domestique for Brian (who captured 1st for the omnium in collegiate B) on the UA cycling team, but I chose to hang off the back, practice my whistling skills, and get to know some of my fellow off-the-backers. I don’t want to suggest that I wasn’t paying attention: The race was filled with, what appeared to me now on my 3rd run of it, ritual fake attacks on the downhill and surges up the climbs (all of which were neutralized) as if someone wrote a textbook entitled How to Race at Colossal Cave.
The race came down to the final climb as had been my experience. With the whole road open to us this time I rounded the corner and swung wide off to the left immediately getting out of the saddle. I stayed out of the saddle all the way up the hill steadily picking off riders, but I’d planned my move too late. By the time I hit the line I took 10th in Cat 4. I’m happy with that as my previous handful of races were a mix of frustration and lack of fitness, but today I felt calm and in control.
I can’t wait for TBC!
TTs are becoming sort of mechanical for me, and I don’t hate them as much as I used to. I expected to finish 2nd behind Michael Patterson from USAC HQ, but I ended up crossing the finish line only 6 sec behind him and, as I started 30 later, beat him by 24 seconds for 1st in the TT with an official time of 30:52, my best ever on that course. I’ve become quite comfortable riding my road bike without aero bars and I am now convinced that it works better that way.
I like the CCRR as it includes the Pistol Hill ascent each lap. The combined field of 32 (55+) riders was big enough to easily hide toward the back of, which I did. Lap 1 was inconsequential, with a few furtive attacks, that were easily reeled back. However, I should have noticed that they were almost entirely courtesy of Phil Holman, since I ride with him just about every week now. Going over the top of the hill at the end of lap 1 Phil took off and was allowed to go. In the downhill that followed Jay Guot, Preston Robertson, and Lou Waugaman commenced individual efforts to cross the gap to Phil and were also allowed to go. I did not know any of this was going on as I was hanging out at the back of the peloton with my competitors. Ultimately, Jay and Lou joined Phil, and Preston was dropped. None of the 4 were ever seen again so the 55+ and 65+ races were over at that point. Over the remaining laps riders continued to be dropped so by the final lap going East on Old Spanish Trail, we were down to about a dozen. At one point the lazy-assed peloton leaders were 5 wide going about 10 mph up OST and I finally became so disgusted that I went to the front, got in TT mode, and bumped the pace quite a bit so I would at least get a decent training ride. Finally, after the feed zone was cleared, a few standing riders contending for what was left did go by me, including my Canadian friend Roy Quade, so I stood and got on their wheels for the (sprint?) to the line. I had no competitors left by then so I easily took the RR and the Omnium.
All-in-all a fun weekend, but I would have preferred it if I had been paying enough attention to try and go with Phil and the other breakaways, even tho I would almost certainly have been dropped with Preston, as we ride very close.