Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Somerville criterium, New Jersey

My first NRC criterium.
It was a 1Mile+ coarse with nice big wide roads and the corners were not too tight so the bunch carried a lot of speed. We had 42 laps, with a Field of 220 riders, with teams like, jelly belly, navigators etc.

The race was fast from the start it took me a while to figure out the best places to ride in the peloton to save energy but i soon settled in and got the hang of it. The raced stayed together from 10 laps out we had to start moving towards the front so when the pace went on we did not get caught out, about this time was when things started to get pretty hairy a lot of guys fighting just to be in the top quarter of the field made for some close calls and nasty crashes. considering the size and speed of the field there were not a lot of crashes, which was great.

In the closing 3 laps it was like no race i had done before, moving up was almost impossible, people were bouncing off each other everywhere and teams were trying to move there trains up to the front. I was up towards the front sitting in top 20 hoping for a top 40 finish but i kept getting swarmed and loosing places rapidly. the last few laps you just have to run on adrenaline, I was to far back on the last lap and got caught behind a nasty crash so i ended up rolling in in the top half of the field. it was a blast of a race, I learnt a lot and i cant wait for the next one to do better.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Joe Martin day 3 final stage

The final stage of the tour was a 90minute criterium. The course was quite big and technical including a descent with a 90degree turn at the bottom, s bends and an nice sized up hill sprint. I felt better today then any other day but still not the best. It took me a while to settle into the race and get a feel for it. I thought the coarse was pretty crazy and i was expecting a lot of crashes.

With 130 riders on the coarse the bunch stretched out quite far, there was a lot of the elastic band effect and me not being so confident I placed myself further back then I should have. realising after 20min or so that it actually wasn't so bad and that I should be trying to move up, I found that I was using a lot of energy and when I hit the hill again I would loose the positions. I ended up lasting 60min of the race before hitting the wall.

I am confident that when i have my form back that I will be able to race well in these races. Although performance wise I wasn't going well the past four days, I am happy to have now done my first lot of NRC races, I now have a lot more of an idea of what to expect from these races. I am looking forward to the next NRC race to be more use full for the team and prove my myself. It is a long season so I'm going to have times like these but there are a lot more better times to come.

Joe Martin day 2 stage 3

The evening stage was a 2.8 mile uphill time trial. after this morning stage i was not expecting a lot but i knew my body was used to have two hard sessions of riding in one day. I started off really well selecting to ride up in my big chainring, I felt great till i hit about the half way mark where it got slightly steeper. I couldn't keep on top of the gear and got bogged down, loosing a lot of pace. I ended up about 106th which wasn't very pleasing but i didn't get time cut so that is one good thing.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Joe Martin day 2 stage 2 (140km)

well today i felt really bad after yesterdays ride, my muscles were not in as bad a state as they were yesterday but i was definitely tired. The coarse was 11miles out to a 23mile circuit which we did three times then back in 11miles to the finish. The circuit was really rolley and had a descent climb in it. I blew on the third lap of the circuit on the main climb, i was not impressed when the bunch was still so big (80+). I ended up finishing in a small bunch with 2 other team mates. I'm disappointed in how the weekend is turning out. but atleast its great training. I had been riding really well up until now, I'm not really used to the speed of this caliber of race and i just have bad legs this weekend. I cant expect to be flying all the time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

stage 1 Joe Martin

My first NRC pro race went well, 175km rolling terrain (160 riders). The weather was really hot to start with then all of sudden there was a downpour in the middle of the race and cleared slightly towards the end of the race. Early in the stage a group of riders got away, the peloton cruised nicely till the main climb then the chasing began pulling the break away back from 11Min's. The main climb was at 110km and was a 13km climb not very steep but it was fast. I hung in fine the peloton was quite big at the top of the climb. The last 15km was quite fast spent most of it sitting at around 50kmh+, which was a killer for that length of time. A nasty crash happened right next to me in the last 5km were a hand full of riders went down. The break got pulled in the the closing kilometers, i didn't have enough in the tank to try mix it with the front guys for the sprint. the finishing circuit was tight and dodgy. I finished with bunch time not exactly sure on the position.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Cone Azalia classic (75miles 100+ riders)

This was a 7 lap 10.5mile circuit with 4miles of gravel per lap in two sections. 35mph cross wind on gravels sections. We reached the first gravel section within 2 km of the start and i happened to hit the roughest part of the pot holes. My handle bars slip down and i lost both drink bottles and causing me to drop back in the peloton. Not a good start.

By the end of the first gravel section i hadn't noticed that a break of 7 riders had gotten way off the front but 2 of my team mates were in it. Thinking it was safe i was comfortable sitting in the bunch not needing to chase and leave it up to the two guys to keep it covered off the front. At the second gravel section much to my shock both of my team mates who were in the break (Bennett and Jimmy) were standing on the side of the road both with punctures. Not good again.

We were pretty much the only team without someone in the break and only chad and myself in the peloton, the race was basically over, but did not want to go down without a fight. With no other teams wanting to work i took it upon myself to keep it rolling in hope of getting the break back in sight. I was feeling really strong. Coming into the last 2 laps everyone had been messing around and only a couple of others had helped, chad had done his best to help me out and was riding well until being forced into the ditch by a competitor and dropped off the back. By this time the bunch had dwindled down to around 20 riders with 6 up the road.

On the closing lap we still didn't have the leaders in sight. About 5km from the finish one of the teams sent rider off the front of our group after doing no work, hoping to get away to pick up 7th place. I had it covered and attacked with only one guy able to follow me, the rest of the bunch had smashed apart trying to make it up with us. I caught the rider who was on the attack and the three of us put time into the rest of the field. Coming into the closing sprint everyone was trying to pull out their tactics for the sprint but in the end i took it out after everyone had put down there best effort to jump away. Over all i finished 7th which was pleasing considering. I was disappointed for the team but happy with my racing form.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Race around the lake (criterium)

Todays race; A criterium around a small lake with one small climb on the finishline, I was marked a lot in the race everymove i made or was in got shut down, the pace was really on and off with a lot of attacks and chasing. I had 4 other team mates with me. It was a great advantage being mark because everyone would follow what i did and stopped paying as much attention to other team members. In the closing 3 laps i went out on the attack seeing if i could get away and also knowing that team mate Bennet was marking the stongest rider in the field who was chasing me down all the time. Nothing in the closing laps stuck but i made people hurt. The final 1km i lead the field out with Bennett on third wheel and having a good sprint on him it worked out perfectly for Bennett for the win. It was the hardest crit yet but there is harder to come and im looking forward to it.