Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can't You Feel The Spanish Flava?

How fitting is it that on the same weekend that Robert is racing a giant road race in Spain that Sean would be racing the inaugural edition of the Vuelta a Miami! I know both of these guys were pretty amped for these events and rightfully so.

Here are their write ups with some photos, unfortunately, I haven't found any pics from the Vuelta of Sean but we were able to dig up some photos of Robert in the breakaway as well as his very loud orange skinsuit (he hasn't received our team gear, yet). Enjoy...

"It was bloody windy, decent temperature +19C and the course is the same one as every year. The funny thing is that I'm no where as fit as last year, but this year the race plan worked better than last year, I got the script in 1999, when I won here. Last year it worked, but being with 3 pros wasn't a good plan, and I got a very good working over! This year I only had Guillermo (Olympic Silver Medal at the track pursuit in Beijing.. he has also ridden a number of world cup track events, came back from one this week.. so no slouch on the bike) and, having him tell me before the start that he'd attack me if we were in the same group, just because he cant kick my ass in the sprint was a fair warning!! (he was my lead out man for 2 years.. so we do get on well, and know each others weaknesses.. but hes screaming fit at the moment, and I'm dragging my ass).

So anywhy, I followed the script, saw 3 guys come along with me, and waited to see what would happen, next lap Guillermo and Lorenzana (ex-Masters World Champ, current European Masters Champion) bridged up..the race unfolded more or less to plan until the final prime, where I lead out one of my friends and going up the hill Lorenzana attacked... I didn't have the gas to go, and got dropped, but.. as luck would have it, and my knowledge of the circuit, i eased up, on the hill, just enough to make the best of the descent, and really rode for my life... took me 1.5km to catch up. One lap to go, Lorenzana attacked again, I was out of position to chase and ended up with 4th place... If I'd have been offered 4th for one of my feet before the race I'd have happily signed!!!"

The most anticipated road race of the year! The Vuelta a Miami. With the winner getting $1000 and 14th place getting $100 this thing attracted the big guns. Frank Trevisio (winner of NRC Pro12 races and Las Vegas USA Crits) and Yosvany Falcon (NRC podium finisher) were present. Other Pros came out of the wood work to stake claim to the cash prizes.

No race like this has ever taken place in Florida. A road race starting and finishing within the city limits with a serious rolling enclosure on heavily used roads made this a MUST event for all serious Florida racers.

All week the weather has been partly sunny with periods of mostly cloudy and seriously windy conditions. Intent on making the Vuelta a Miami akin to a Ardennes spring classic, mother nature saved the best for the race. The race conditions were as follows: Temp: about 80 degrees, mostly sunny, Wind: from the E at 22mph with gusts up to 35 mph! Yep, if felt like springtime in Belgium (save the temp).

The Course is a 72 miles out and back loop which starts out heading west and slightly south and west again for the first 5 miles. Then it runs North and slightly East and North again before turning back. So, the last 5-7 miles are directly into the headwind. Lots of fun! The first five miles were run with speeds reach over 38+ due to the tailwind. Then we turned into the wind.

Prior to turning into the wind I moved up into the front third of the field knowing that once we the wind hit us the field would split quickly. And boy did it split. Barely 20 minutes into the race a breakaway with about 8 pros got off and the peloton as shattered into chase groups. We were strung out across both lanes (this rolling enclosure thing is nice!) and I as in the gutter of the first chase group of about 30 riders with the next chase group about 40 seconds behind and various groups formed after that. We were going 29 mph into a 22 mph crosswind and I was getting no protection from the wind in the gutter. At almost 6' tall and 148 lbs, I'm not built for these conditions! My HR was at 190 (my max for my age) and I was praying for a couple echelons to form... Wait, this is Miami, these guys aren't thinking about setting up echelons! Actually, to give them some credit, not many people can think while enduring the death march that the Vuelta quickly became. I could not continue at that clip so a sat up and jumped on the next group... and then the next. I quickly discovered that most of the people who I regularly race with (Cat 3s) got caught out behind my and I was rolling with the Pros before my heart almost exploded in my chest! from here (mile 20 or so I was just trying to pull my weight and get this thing over with! The Wind (yes I capitalized it) never let up. I was one of 3-4 people actually taking pulls and we would shed riders and pick up the leftovers from the chase groups ahead...and then shed those riders.

Eventually we saw the leaders come by us on the other side of the 4 lane highway separated by a large grass ditch. I thought to myself, at least I'm almost half way done. The Wind continued to batter people all the way back and then we hit that 5 miles directly into the wind. All I can say is... not fun. I started to pick up the pace about a kilometer out from the finish and sprinted got passed and tucked in behind the guy who passed me and sprinted again across the line (this as a seating sprint since I had almost nothing left in the tank. I have no idea where I finished, but I know it couldn't be worse than 40th."

All I have to say is helluva a job fellas. I know Robert seems to be at peak fitness nearly year-round...so we can expect to hear more fun stories (with a British accent) from Spain.

Sean only keeps progressing and I think he is building some great confidence as well as race fitness for 2010. he is going to kill it in the Cat 3s next year!

Great job fellas!

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