12 Jul Super Week – Geneva 2011
This is the first time Enzo will race the Geneva Criterium hosted by Ara and the Bicycle Heaven crew. I arrive early and the first person I see is Rob Curtis (Psimet Custom Wheels) who has the tent set up at the first turn, a perfect place to see any sprinting that will be taking place. He tells me there is a dangerous turn, same as last year, so I start walking to take a look. I walk the course backwards looking at the apex pave’ of the corners, inspecting the line I think will be the best for me. About half way around the course and I find the suspect corner Rob was talking about, a short descent at 2% into a right hand corner. The issue is the exit since the road width changes from 18′ to about 13′. The other point of focus is a double bump in the only correct line. My first thought after seeing this is the team needs to be at the front at the start of the race, this thing is going to split the field in the first 2-3 laps.
I am correct, the whistle sounds and we are going at a quick pace as I am in 25th for the first time through the tight corners. The field was strung out for the first lap by our teammate Ward that kept everyone satisfied with their place in the group, so moving up was easy. So I do advance my position to 6th wheel and so do a few other Enzo’s riders. I will say after a few laps of the bumpy narrow corner I was happy to be on the Psimet Team Issue wheels, they are rock solid in these conditions leaving only the other racers to be my concern. We want two of our guys to sit in only following wheels, they will be the sprinters for the day, but in the pre-race meeting I say this course will allow a break to get away so do not miss the move if it goes.
With about 24 laps to go a rider comes close to causing a crash in the start/finish straight while reaching for a drink. I was on his right when he swerved about 3 feet for no reason, knocking into the fork of my bike, solid contact. Good thing I was awake because this contact had no negative effect on me, there is a reason that I mention this. This rider takes risks all the time, dive bombing corners at the worst time for no reason. I know a few people that have yelled at him in races this season for this incorrect action. By the event description if you read this you know who you are, please stop doing these dangerous moves. In fact, find Enzo at the next race and I will explain why this is bad for all of us and your results are reflecting your poor tactical choices.
This “almost crash” creates much yelling from the group so I decide it is a good time to attack, so carrying speed through turn 1 I nail it hard for the next 3 block straight as I swoop turn two I look at the gap and see already 6-7 seconds and I am happy Fleck is on my wheel. John Fleckinsten (Team Mack) is the type of rider that will give 100% to a break, since I know this I stay on the front for a full lap making sure the speed stays high. After 3 laps we (two of the 50+ guys in the race) are holding a chasing field off at 10 seconds, gaining 2 seconds per lap, I see two riders trying to bridge. I tell John we have two coming as we keep the gas on full. If these two are able to bridge good for them but no slowing down yet. Two more laps and we decide to let off 1 mph allowing the chasers to connect. It is Pat Briggs and Brian Rhude (Pony Shop) though I could see Pat was doing all the work. Brian does not last long and returns to the field. We are rolling Ok but Pat has slowed us down, then bitches at me for increasing the speed when taking my pulls. I can tell he did not do any ToAD races this year! Since we were rolling at 27 Heagney is able to bridge which I am not happy about, but Bob Karlow was smart and took the free ride across on his wheel. We now have 5 but Heagney is the fastest sprinter in the race, so we have a problem. The gap is increasing but we are still going slow for a break, now Chris Morosa (Scarlet Fire Racing) makes the bridge with Brian Karlow enjoying a free ride.
We are now a 7-man break with 6 laps to go with 3 Enzo’s guys. I now have to adjust my plan of attacking with 1.5 laps and throw a hard effort in with 4 to go. Heagney and Morosa each take pulls and bring me back. The counter from Brian comes 1/2 lap later, not quit as effective with a delay but a good attack making the other work. It ends up coming down to a break sprint which Heagney win’s, Bob 2nd and Briggs 3rd. Gene Tolli wins the field sprint so we end up with 4 guys in the top 8. We are learning every race about working together and improving rapidly. I like our progress; soon we will be able to control big races, tipping the scales in our favor.