2012 Alsatian Country Part 2
This is Part 2 of the 2012 Alsatian Country Omnium Race Report. You can find part 1 here!
Thanks to Robert for the great pictures of the races. For more pictures of the races click here to go to Robert’s Smugmug. Buy some photos if you find some you like!
A new course for all the racers, the course was laid out like a lollipop, with and looong out, 3 loops around bumpy farm roads, and a loooong back. There was quite a bit of wind and short hills. With the gameplan to again be aggressive, I first attacked about 10 minutes in, this time at a much more sustainable pace than yesterday’s blowout effort that got me dropped.
Attacking during the last stage of an omnium is a delicate balancing act. The best way for an attack to stick is when all the riders in the breakaway are irrelevant to the overall placings. If any of the top 20 or so riders try to come along, you might as well stop pedaling right there and try again in a few minutes.
Right after we turned on to the first lap of the loop, a promising break formed. No riders that had points, and a SuperSquadra rider as a bonus! I needed to get up there, ASAP! I was on the right side of the road, looking for an opening wide enough to squeeze by. Ruarri was unintentionally blocking my escape, but at one point I jumped around in the dirt to bridge the gap. I easily made it and started rotating in the group. We had a small lead and a peloton that looked disinterested. Then I heard the hissing that will make even the most pious bike racer cuss like a sailor. I had a rear flat, most likely caused by my brief excursion to cyclocross in a road race. Everyone else in the group looked relieved as I started to slow. I held up my right hand and waited for the wheel truck. I needed a wheel change fast. Each second was an eternity.
All I can say about the follow vehicle driver is, “Bless his heart.” He was a bit clueless on how to change wheels, and I’m trying to be nice as he is a volunteer graciously giving up his time to drive a truck all day at ~25 mph. A little under 2.5 minutes and I was chasing. I knew that with a 2.5 minute gap on the peloton, there was almost no chance to catch back on. I was sure that my race was ended by the untimely flat (is any flat timely?). But the peloton was going pretty slow at times, so now and then I would catch a glimpse of the big yellow follow truck in the distance. This gave me hope, something that can be very dangerous in a bike race. After about 50 minutes, I caught back on. I waved to Bill and smiled at his look of surprise. With the 50 minute effort, I was done being ‘aggressive’. I knew that I would be lucky to finish the race.
I wasn’t that lucky. Heath turned on the afterburners on the second lap, and while seeing stars and hearing a strange ringing in my ears, I fell off the pace. I would not be able to catch on again. I limped back to the start, with a crimson DNF sewed on to my jersey. I absolutely hate not finishing races, and getting the DNF always sets me back mentally. Knowing that it is early in the season and that I had to chase for so long, I’m sure I will quickly move past it. I only smiled once on the ride back in, when Wheeler of SuperSquadra zoomed by yelling, “Make way for the leader in the dropped category! I’m going to win the dropped category!!” Nice.
While there were no results this weekend, I know I learned a lot from the 3 different races. Hopefully the aggressive style of racing that I used will also help my fitness in the long run. And I had a lot of fun!