Monday, September 24, 2007

9/23 Central Park as Erica saw it....

Raddies ran an aggressive race overall, with our very own Cecelia Pleva taking a hard fought podium spot, making us look good for the photos. Thanks Cecelia. That said, I think we all contributed and rode hard overall, with some excellent teamwork and cohesive strategy. Comedy Central out rode us a bit overall this time, taking first and second, but I think we made an impression as a team to be more than reckoned with.

Kimille attacked into the rollers on the first lap. I countered that one before the group caught up to her, Kimille accelerating to get on my wheel as I came by, but then we were neutralized and caught. Once free, Raddies took turns aggressively counterattacking all down the west side. The Comedy Central team would occasionally take a turn attacking as well. There wasn't a lot of bridging going on in general, more like a field surge to close the gaps, but the attacks were definitely aggressive enough to make the race feel like a pretty constant chase from the start. I remember a commentator in Le Tour (dare I compare us) mentioning that when the field strings out that means there's tension and effort going on. Well that was our peleton for a good part of the race.

Beth from CC attacked around Tavern in the first lap. I went with her and so did Cindy Ma, but we couldn't really get organized, at least in part because Cindy would either pull off immediately or hesitate and not pull up at all, and Beth didn't seem so into working either. I thought we'd have some staying power with one of each of the three main teams represented, but either we weren't working hard enough.

Going into Cat Hill at the end of the second lap, Kimille attacked again, I countered and hammered it up the hill. I got a decent gap as I guess no one really wanted to cover up the hill if they didn't have to. Just before engineers gate the field got neutralized. At first I thought this would be just the stroke of luck I was hoping for, as I figured that even neutralized I would go faster than the peleton. Guess I didn't really realize how that works because of course the motto wouldn't let me keep going hard, even though I pleaded to him not to throw my break away. But as soon as we were free I hammered again and didn't see anyone behind me at least with a quick glance. Didn't make a lot of sense to me but on the other hand I figured they therefore couldn't see me either and that everyone was playing chicken to see who wanted to chase. For all I know they didn't have to chase at all, having peleton draft dynamics going on relative to my poor solo self, so as I crested Harlem Hill there they all were again. Drat.

End of the third lap I attacked off of another Raddie attack! Lisa Force bridged to me but the peleton was having none of that, and we didn't really have the speed to stay away for long. Caught by the beginning of the reservoir this time. We kept the peleton working for the fourth lap, but at this point nothing was going to stick. It became clearer and clearer that all Comedy Central really wanted was a field sprint with Sarah and Caryl Gale going into it as rested as possible. Ellen Moses moved up to the front of the peleton to give Sarah a ride in for the final lap. Could they be any more obvious? While I knew that attacking on the East Side into the downhill wouldn't stick, I couldn't just let that dynamic go unnoticed, so I attacked just to shift people around a bit.

Coming into the west side rollers, we Raddies started trying to organize our trains, and with the goal of getting them set up by Tavern. I was going to lead out one of trains, with Elena and Ashley, but we weren't able to really get lined up effectively. Going into Cat Hill, I found myself with no one on my wheel, but in back of Maria, who had also offered to be a lead-out. She lead me about halfway up the hill but then Jaimie Nicholson apparently came out of her pedal we all had to shift abruptly to the left off our line to avoid a crash. I found myself boxed in behind Lisa Force, who had decided she didn't feel like sprinting. As I got around her I heard Ashley telling me she was on my wheel so I started really accelerating to the top but with all the chaos that had happed in the sprint we were at the finish line before Ashley had time to pop around me so I got around 8th and with Ashley right behind.