Sunday, November 11, 2007

TI & Tri-Cal Results

Yesterday's race was a painful battle of attrition.  More than a quarter of the field dropped out due to crashes or flat tires and a quarter of those who finished ran their second 10k slower than 40 minutes.

The first run was rather brisk, as expected, but I managed to start picking guys off on the second lap and entered T1 with a reasonable group - Branden Rakita, Jeff Piland, John Dahlz...  Rakita got away from us in transition but we caught Steve Sexton shortly onto the bike and assembled a group of 6.  Of the guys with series and/or personal relevance to me -- Ben Collins, Adam Truex and Dave Messenheimer were up the road while Barrett Brandon and Kevin Everett were somewhere behind us. 

We saw Barrett's group at the hill on the first two laps and they were gaining on us.  They finally caught us early in the third lap.  It also started raining on the third lap and the combination of wet roads, a larger group and higher speeds spelled doom for my meager cornering abilities.  I lost the group in a series of 90-degree turns and then couldn't chase back on.  Grrr...  I tried to put my head down and grind it out but my sore back made things less than fun.

Meanwhile there were at least four crashes and more flat tires.  A guy in blue almost went down right in front of me on the bumpy section just after transition on the second lap.  At least two guys in other groups weren't so lucky on that stretch.  I heard that a guy from Venezuela broke his collarbone on there, and a guy from the Riptide team in Colorado went down there and took Yoni Doron out with him.  One block away from there but on the other "side" of the lap, there were at least two more crashes that took out Scott Young and Michael Orton.  Orton managed to get back on his bike and soft-pedal his way home while I heard Scott was cut up pretty bad and wasn't around after the race.  Sexton crashed out somewhere, too...

As for the flats, I know that Ben Collins had one and Matt Chrabot had TWO!  Chrabot was in the lead group with Hunter and Jarrod when he had his first... after getting the wheel swap and chasing back onto the second group he got his second flat.  A very tough day for Matt since he could have had a chance to win the series and fight for a podium finish in the race otherwise.  Joe Umphenour flatted somewhere on the back of the course and pulled out of the race.  The most unique DNF award goes to Dave Keundig, whose pedal unscrewed from the crank just as his bike group caught mine.

The second run was a death march.  It was raining and everyone was hurting from that first brisk run.  I passed five guys and I was only going about a 6:00/mile pace.  I was hoping to reel in Ben towards the end -- I picked up a minute on him during the penultimate mile but it wasn't enough.

Hunter Kemper won the race after pulling away on the bike with Arturo Garza and then running away from him.  There was a battle for second thru fourth as Jarrod Shoemaker, Derek Kite and Victor Plata ran together for about four miles before Jarrod made a decisive move to pull into second and then Derek dropped Victor with maybe half a mile to go.  Mark Fretta, Garza, Doug Friman, Brain Hague, Matt Chrabot and Dave Messenheimer rounded out the top ten.

As for the series, Brian Fleischmann held on for the win after a painful 13th-place finish at TI.  Victor Plata moved into second, ahead of Chrabot.  Kevin Everett stayed ahead of Jeff Piland by the slimmest of margins for 4th leaving Jeff in fifth. Barrett Brandon held onto sixth by finishing ahead of me.  I was seventh and Adam Truex held on to eighth.  Branden Rakita took ninth followed by Haven Barnes in tenth.  Dave Messenheimer finished on the bubble in 11th - 60 points away from another paycheck.

All in all it was another exciting year of competition on the tri-cal circuit.  While we're all looking forward to next year, we're looking forward even more to a few weeks off before jumping into next year's training.

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