Race: Manhattan Beach Grand Prix Cat 4
Chad Moston 1st place
John Smart 2nd place
We had a good showing for this race and knew if we worked together we could achieve great things. We had some capable sprinters in the group and I was the lucky one the team chose to work for. The race was a 40 minute timed event, on a 1.3 mile course with two long straight-away’s and two 180 degree sweeping turns.
From speaking to fellow La Grange members that have done the race before, I knew going into the race it would be critical to have top 3-5 position going into the last turn before the final 250 meter sprint to the finish. I spent the first ~38 minutes of the race just sitting mid-pack, trying to save energy and stay out of trouble. I frequently spotted Mark and Richard and jumped on their wheel to go along for the ride. James was spotted a few times pulling the peloton and setting the pace.
Fast forward to the last lap, we crossed the start/finish line and Ethan jumped to the front and set the pace for as long as he could. I found Smart’s wheel and knew I’d be pretty safe if this is all I could get. We made it through the first turn and were now on the last straight-away heading to the final turn. That’s when I spotted Michael, who’s head was on a swivel looking for us. John latched on to his wheel and we’re now ready to do some damage with a 3 man train. We get about halfway down the straight-away and I see a team of Ritte guys forming in front of us and another team forming off to the outside. I knew this was go time and I started yelling at the guys in front “We gotta go now!”
As soon as I started barking out, Michael kicked into high gear and formed a whole through the middle of the pack. He took John and I right to the front. It was now the 3 of us leading the peloton. I kept talking to the guys and yelling “Go Go Go!”. We’ve never actually practiced this together and being Cat 4’s have had basically zero race experience in performing a lead out train. But the way this lead out went, it could not have gone any better.
John took his turn, briefly stood up to move around Michael and kicked it into gear with ~300 meters to go before the last turn. I knew once we hit the corner, it was pretty much over. John went on the outside and I took an inside lane, stood up and sprinted to the finish. These guys made it easy on me. The closest competitor was ~15 bike lengths back. John had us so far ahead that he was able to put his hands up in the air BEFORE crossing the finish line and he still came in 2nd place!
The La Grange team really dominated this race. My team members showed the ultimate form of selflessness. They chose to work for me, when they were fully capable of winning themselves. I can’t wait to pay them back.
Michael find a whole on the last lap at the 39:42 mark:
Masters 35+ – 15th place
Having just turned cat 4 the week of this race, I figured I’d try and see what this Masters fuss was all about. I had no idea what to expect and I said if I didn’t get dropped and was in the pack for the finish, I was going to give it a good sprint.
Fast forward to the last lap, we were already through the first turn heading to the last corner. There was a slight hill on this straight-away and the peloton always slowed and bunched up. I took this to my advantage, kept my speed, found a hole on the outside and next thing I know I’m on Charon Smith’s wheel with 600 meters to go before the last corner. Not a bad wheel to be on. As long as I’m here, I’m going to give it all I got. My adrenaline peaked, and immediately after I thought I might have a great finish, not 1, not 2, but 3 guys swooped in and took my wheel like taking candy from a baby. I was just getting confident in the 4/5 races on my ability to hold and steal wheels, and these guys took it like I wasn’t even there. I had no chance. It was a big learning experience on just how much more aggressive these guys are, and I need to be. I was still upright, pulled my tail back out from under my legs, took a wide corner and held my own in the sprint for 15th.
Next up is Paramount where we have 11 guys signed up for the 4/5 race. Expect to see another win from our team! I love this club!
Viva La Grange!