2011 Tour of New Braunfels Men’s Cat 2/3 Omloop
The best descriptive word for this race is frenetic. The energy and excitement of the two’s getting upgrade points without those pesky 1′s in the mix was palpable. Most of the 3′s were along for the bumpy ride.
The Omloop course was great , except for a couple of erosional potholes mostly on the left side of the road. These would occasionally come out of nowhere and try to lead unwary cyclists into the grass with their siren’s cry… After a couple of laps, the peloton would move to the right to avoid the pothole, which prompted other racers to sprint up the left side, thinking that the peloton must have moved to the right just so they could come to the front. Using their spoke as weedwackers to cut the grass encroaching on the pavement, these racers were the usual suspects ending up in the grass. I can’t blame them for trying to move up, but when the whole peloton moves over simultaneously, there is probably a reason. Potholes!
A few breaks went early and were caught. You could tell some of the bigger teams wanted a sprint finish, and as I learned earlier, the course is deceivingly unfriendly to breakaways. When you race 2 and above you have to really fight for your position. Everyone is much more aggressive and everyone is experienced enough to know to try to be at the front. Problem is there are only so many people that can be at the front. I was taking a couple of pulls to bring breaks back, working for Jon. It was a fun race, but I don’t have much to show for it. In the last lap I moved up around 30 places, but could not break into the top twenty. I tried a last ditch effort to go up the left side, yelling to keep people from running me off the road. I passed Jon, trying to get him on my wheel and take him to the front, but there was no room as racers were all across the road for the finish. There was no one driving hard enough at the front to string the field out as I expected. I didn’t sprint for the finish and coasted in for about 20th position.
Congrats to Austin Bikes for taking the sprint win!