Jason LaPierre Race Evaluation
This past weekend was the Jason LaPierre stage race in Calgary. I skipped the hill climb because I needed to work on Friday and went down for the Saturday evening criterium and Sunday’s hilly road race.
I tried to go with a couple moves on Saturday night and did some attacking of my own but the pace was incredibly fast. In the end we averaged 49.5 kph! Rundle Mountain was doing their utmost to keep things together and Red-Truck didn’t care, I think they knew that Bailey (who was only a half second down on GC) wasn’t going to be able to gain time on Dave (winner of Friday’s hill-climb) because he’s small and Dave is a pretty strong all-rounder. Strong enough to mark him in a flat crit, that’s for sure. At about halfway I gave up interest in trying to get in a move and just sat in. HR was down around 140-150 which was a joke, but when you can pedal around 99% of the course it’s easy to not get dropped from a pack of 40 guys.
In the end I had found myself on Paul’s wheel and I thought he was going to be a good wheel for the finish. Instead I should have chosen to try and mark Sean Crooks (obviously!) but at the time I figured Paul was a better bet because I knew that other people wanted Sean’s wheel and no-one was going to try and get a lead-out from Paul. I couldn’t discuss with Paul and it turned out he didn’t have anything left because he has been drinking too much beer. Paul moved me up a bit but it was too little too late and when I went to sprint I was boxed in by Peter Toth. That’s embarassing, there’s no way I should have been behind him. No disprespect to Peter who is a very impressive racer, but his wheel is not where you want to be positioned if you’re sprinting for the top spots. In the end I was on the brakes before the finish line. I was feeling really good and should have tried to mix it up with the big guns for the sprint. I think my confidence to do that wasn’t there during the race but outside of the race I know that I should. This is something to improve next year. I can beat lots of those guys, based on my performance in the circuit race the previous weekend which was a stronger field. I shouldn’t be afraid to jockey for the best positions in the pack I deserve to be in the mix for the win because I can finish in the mix for the win.
Photo by Masa Higuchi
Colter attacked on the start line and I had lined up at the back and couldn’t do anything about it. The move that went up the road was very strong, with Brian from Velocity, Ian Auld, Colter and Eric from Rundle. We could tell from early on that Rundle didn’t want to let that get too far away because they wanted a win and so I didn’t chase much. Paul was motivated to chase it and he did quite a bit of work with Ben from Exergy. I think they were just having a fun time chasing and not really thinking about the big picture. After about a third of the race we had been going incredibly fast and the break was turning itself inside out to stay away and Colter blew up. As soon as we saw him come back we knew that the break wasn’t as much of a threat because Red-Truck would chase. At the halfway point of the race it became clear that Red-Truck wasn’t going to chase nicely… they attacked hard on the big climb and basically bridged to the break with both of their remaining guys, 4 others went with them. I was caught in no-mans land, just missing that front group and waited for the next group because I couldn’t get back on alone. we formed a group of 3 which eventually turned to 8 and we were able to get back on. A bunch of guys got shelled here though and the peloton was much smaller for the second half of the race. With 1.5 laps to go another small break went but it included Rundle’s newest guy to Cat2. Based on their reluctance to let even Eric on a long leash early in the ride it was clear they’d rather have the end-game include Sean Crooks and Robin Clegg for the uphill finish. Also, Dave from Garneau was likely to chase or try and bridge because he had more than a thousand dollars riding on the weeklong GC. I just sat on and didn’t work here either.
In the end we caught that little break thanks to a lot of solid work by Dave with about 5 kms to go. Retrospectively I should have counter attacked just prior to the catch and tried to solo in. I was feeling better than when I had tried a similar move the week before however I hadn’t been successful at that race and didn’t really want to fail at the same thing twice in a row. That was my best chance at a win though so I should have taken it. In the end it came down to an uphill sprint and I was 6th I think across the line. The usual suspects were ahead of me, Robin Clegg, Mac Garvin, Bailey McKnight, Dave from Garneau, Sean Crooks, and I think Ben from Exergy got relegated for a yellow line violation which was hardly his own fault. He almost ditched his bike on the wrong side of the road! They still haven’t posted final times but I think I should be in the same time group as the winner. Behind me there was a gap if I’m not mistaken.
I have had quite sore muscles recently. I think I can do a lot of damage to them during workouts & races because my cardio is very good at the moment. I am also spending a lot of time at my desk not moving which doesn’t help with mobility and flexibility and generally feeling limber and relaxed through the hips. I am doing no hard work between now and ITT provincials, just some sub-threshold steady efforts. I want to feel strong on Sunday and really hope that I can crack the top 10 this year, I missed out last year by 30 seconds. I am previewing the course on Wednesday. I might also go preview again on Saturday in advance on Sunday’s race, the extra familiarity with the road and maybe even a TT helmet training ride should help a bit. 30 seconds is one percent. Hopefully I can draw on all of the little bits and get them to add up this weekend.