25 Jul Superweek — Downers Ave 2011
This is a classic race course being used for the superweek master’s only a few times. This race was typically held on Saturday evening, 6:00 start for the Pro-1-2 field only. The crowds were crazy large and the energy very high. The purse and primes were large and plentiful.
The field did not disappoint, we started with maybe 50 racers and all the usual suspects were there. The whistle sounds and I cannot help myself drilling it off the line for 1/2 a lap, laughter. I really enjoy seeing a field strung out single file in the first lap, remember this race is short, only 25 miles, why not go hard early. The counter attacks begin and we are racing full gas, how much fun is this. Cafe’ Hollander is sending guys off on flyers, then Scarlet Fire, then Enzo’s, LAPT, and a few others, as the first 15 miles never let up.
Right about this time Jeff Barnes (Mercy Specialized) takes a dig and opens about 10 seconds for two laps, the group does not seem to care so I set the tempo closing the gap down and we bring him back, only to start the attacks again. This goes for 6-7 laps really fast, and it slows with 11 laps to go. I have now been sitting in for a few miles and feeling the momentum easing I hit the group hard in the back straight. I gain about 10 seconds and hold this for 1.5 laps, when I see a ScarlrtFire racer trying to bridge, I think it is Druber. I am excited about this because Druber is a great TT guy and together we might be able to stick.
I look again and see the yellow Mavic shoes, realizing this is Michael Zellman(Scarlet Fire Racing). Michael is one of the main faces that represent SRAM at big races, so many may not think this guy can ride or race a bike. Laughter, he has all the tools, TT, sprint, and a quick change of speed. Sweet, I do not slow since the gap is not that large. He connects and I continue to pull for another lap, allowing Michael to recover. He now pulls through and we begin to extend the gap. I keep an eye on this space as we gain about 30 seconds. It is 7 laps to go to we are both suffering, though I am keeping a little in reserve. 4 laps to go I take an easier pull only going 26.5, expecting a last hard surge from the pack, which will be starting soon. Sure enough they close the gap to 10 seconds, as I pull through I say to Big Z to hold on, that we need to really dig deep for the next two laps. Exiting turn four I ramp the speed up to 31, after turn one I slow a little to 29 and hold this almost to turn 3. Big Z takes over, I look back after pulling off and we have opened the gap back to about 25 seconds. Michael and I find a little more power because we have a really great chance to close the deal. One more hard lap and we hear the bell, yea baby. The suffering is almost over. I allow Michael to pull to turn 3 and into turn four I start the sprint which he covers. We end up in a bike throw at the line, which I was lucky to win.
It was awesome to be in a two-man TT with Michael, though he might not feel quite the same. Big Z is 6’5″ maybe 6’6″ so drafting off my skinny shortness, well I am not sure he ever was able to rest. (see photo) A huge thanks to my team mates who for sure worked at the front making this move work. We had 4 out of 5 in the money, which is nice. Also Psimet Custom Wheels, if you are not riding or racing on these you are missing out. A shout out to Louie at (A.L.L. Masonry) who helped us create the team. Next up Evanston, this will be an interesting post.