Monday, March 28, 2011

Bariani Road Race Report 55+ March 28, 2011

Notes on the BARIANI ROAD RACE 3/28/11 55+ Category
By Jim Langley with input from Joe Platin & John Schaupp
  • The highlight of the Bariani RR for me was racing with 2 strong teammates, Joe Platin and John Schaupp. Going into the race we had a solid plan and things were on track until I developed a slow leak in my front tire on lap one. I made it around the course 3 times and had some fun pushing the pace a bit, but I couldn’t really ride on the soft tire for fear of crashing. Joe rode a smart race, staying in front, challenging on the KOMs and finished a solid 8th in the pack sprint (the race was won by a 2-man break). If I could have been there to lead Joe out, or if our other fastman John hadn’t cramped late in the race, I’d like to think we could have made the podium. We had the fitness and speed, that’s for sure.
  • Even though it wasn’t raining, there was plenty of water on the course and one long stretch of broken pavement that knocked a handful of riders out of the race every lap. Other than that it was a fun 10-mile loop. The main challenge was the wind, and in typical 55+ fashion no echelons formed. So like rookies, we rode a single paceline on the centerline. My dream is to have enough 55+ Bike Trip/Symantec teammates in that situation to form an echelon and just hammer off the front in our efficient echelon, while the field does their single paceline and gets dropped. That would be cool.
  • Bariani’s start/finish, parking and registration is at an olive oil plant, but we were still surprised, when on the starting line they told us that one corner on the course was especially dangerous because there’d been an oil spill there – an olive oil spill!
  • This was the first time since Nationals that I got to race with Rob Anderson. Thanks to the flat course and stiff wind he didn’t ride off into the sunset and drop us all like a bunch of chumps again. It was strange watching him sit on the front mile after mile like he was just out for a workout. And, interesting watching everybody mark him – and pretty much only him. It's tough being a state, national and world champ I guess.
  • While everybody was watching Rob, two guys slipped off the front on the tailwind section of the course, and that was the race. I couldn’t respond on my front flat because I was already getting sketchy at 30mph in the pack. And, everyone else saw them as no threat. But then the officials neutralized our pack, and worse, told us that they would bring back the break – which naturally – they did not. Their 15-second gap was at 3 minutes when they finally told us we could race again – too much to make up with less than a lap to go (pretty stupid of us to let them go in the first place).
  • Mystery solved! One of the teams out there is named the Fighting Bobbas. We’ve always wondered what the “fighting” or the “bobbas” means. About halfway through our race, one of the Bobba riders rode up next to his teammate, bumped right into him and seemingly shoved him off the road. It was so blatant, Hammer Nutrition’s Richard Shields who's always got something funny to say, shouted at him, ‘Hey, that’s no way to treat a teammate – you go back and help him up!’ So, we’re back in the car driving home, talking about that incident and Joe suddenly says, ‘Hey, maybe that's why they’re the Fighting Bobbas – they fight with each other!
  • That cracked us up. But the funniest sound bite of the day came from Mark Caldwell, who we should probably always refer to as “MC” since he has the most to say in the pack. Late in the race, on the last KOM, desperate to reel in the break, the stronger riders were trying to push the pace (I dropped out on the 3rd lap when my tire went completely flat so I didn't see this). Mark was there, Rob and Joe. Mark tells Joe to pull through and help out. Very intelligently, Joe moves up but doesn't take a pull, since there’s only a few miles to the sprint. As Mark drifts back, he leans over and says “Weak!” (commenting on Joe's failure to take a pull). Joe and I were laughing about that all the way home.
  • In other exciting news John Schaupp's 15-year-old son, Matt had a stellar weekend, winning the criterium on Saturday outsprinting a finishing pack of 60 riders - and then took 8th at Bariani on Sunday even though he led out the field sprint a couple of rollers too early. He's now just a few points from upgrading to Cat 3. Way to go, Matt!

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