This is what most bike racers do in the off-season. As all Texas boyz know If you aint tanning, you aint training. Good job to our friends up in OKC, well produced.
On January 29th of the year two-thousand and twelve, 76 brave warriors met on the windswept (hardly) plains to the East of the great Outlet Malls to do battle in the name of Honor and Glory. Coincidentally, Team Wooly Mammoth was also in San Marcos that morning,
but it was for the bike race that was going on just down the road. The bike race in question: Day two of the Tour of New Braunfels.
For the last few years, the Tour of New Braunfels has marked the first weekend of the TXBRA calendar and was the race of choice for most of TWM to test legs and make the move to getting back into race shape. Lets be honest, the first race of the season is never great; the majority of the pack is shaking of cobwebs that tend to accumulate during the 14 weeks between the State Championship Road Race in October and the beginning of January. Those long weeks are filled with plenty of riding, but most of the miles are either solo or in small groups. No matter how much I ride between October and February, I’m always left with a huge conflagration of nervous uncertainty blazing in my guts, because solo miles just can’t prepare somebody for racing.
Pico was the man of the race and the guy we were there to support. Sir Christophe played the part of road captain. Moose, Roman, Jaime and I were there to support. Gaubert came out to work on his Cippo tan and spin his legs to recover from the 50 miles of mountain biking he did the day before. Jen Percell donned the TWM kit for a training race before joining her TIBCO teammates at training camp this week. Overall, a damn fine-looking group; a fitting unveiling of the most handsome kit in the peloton on the backs of its most handsome riders.
My goal for the first half of the race was to stick with Pico and learn his wierding ways of moving effortlessly through the pack. As he comfortably stayed in the top 15, I immediately fell to what felt like the bottom 15. Not a good start. Like a gentleman, I continued to let people take the wheel from in front of me, which I soon realized is not a good strategy for moving up through the pack. Every so often, Sir Christophe would drop back and remind me to keep moving up to the front. For me, one of the biggest contributors to the nervousness was the big pack shoe-horned into the small roads until the pace started to pick up and things were strung-out a little bit. If I want to be competitive in Cat 1 racing, this is something I need to learn to get over. Unfortunately, the racing didn’t start soon enough for half of our squad, as Roman, Jaime and Jen all got caught behind a crash on the 3rd lap, effectively ending their races.
On the 4th lap, Pico fell victim to a loose shoulder and the team’s original plans went down with him. At the same time, Heath and a few others attacked the pack on the main climb and got away, establishing what would end up being the winning break of the day. At this point in the race, team tactics began to materialize and it became clearly evident which teams were interested in chasing back the break; 787 amassed at the front of the peloton and started chasing with 2 laps to go. The gap started to come down and Super Squadra joined the pace-making effort to chase the leaders down.
When the chase got the leaders within striking distance on the last lap, another Elbowz rider attacked the main hill of the course, threw the pack into a frenzy and escaped to the break. With Schmalz and Heath in the break now, and a pack that needed to get reorganized to chase, the break was as good as gone. We lent Adam and myself to the chase anyways, although with Pico out of the race while being down 3 other riders, it probably wasn’t the best use of resources. Our new goal should have been placing somebody as high in the rankings as possible, which would have been best accomplished by sticking together and racing the last lap conservatively.
Regardless of how the race ended up, Pico was relatively unscathed from his crash and everybody else made it through to race another day. The season is long; there is plenty of racing left for the year.
Hosted by TWM’s Pico Tranquillo. A wonderful piece created to honor all invaloved in this years race.