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by Page McCargo on June 15, 2012
Rob Britt, one of Studio Velo's own, shares his experience in the Folsom Cyclebration Race. The Studio Velo team is an informal, but tight group of riders and friends. For those of you who don't race this is an awesome window into the emotions, challenges, and rewards of racing. Thanks for sharing Rob and congratulations!
Folsom Cyclebration Race Summary
Category: Masters 35+ 3/4
Results: 1st overall in Omnium Points (TT=10th, CRIT=6th, Circuit=3rd)
The original plan back in April was to rally my family and Studio Velo teammates (Scott, Thomas and/or Josh) to make the pilgrimage to the Mt Hood CC. Everyone was interested in epic Oregon cycling but the logistics are challenging, so when I saw the Folsom Cyclebration Races on the schedule for the same dates I decided to check it out as an alternative. Folsom is quite different from Hood River in many ways but it actually turned out to be a fantastic weekend and the family was able to come along which made it much more enjoyable. We stayed in Rancho Cordova, got a suite for a great rate, free breakfast, a pool for the kids and I was able to ride to the venue each day from the hotel.
Day 1: 11 Mile TT - There were about 24 participants total and even though I hadn't spent much time on a TT bike I was hoping that I would be a bit more competitive. My performance was a bit of a wake-up call to the fact that I need more practice on the bike itself, my pacing, my power, etc. I started fast but probably too fast. After 3 minutes of averaging 28.5 I watched the rate slowly tick down for the next 20 minutes. It turns out that the crosswind at the start offered false hope...it was more of a tailwind that I had mistaken for awesome form! By the last 2k my lungs were searing. The wind was also stirring up pollen so my throat was burning as well and I was glad that I wasn't going to make the start time for the M123 TT (I went with the idea of doing 2 omniums over the weekend). I ended up 10th with a 25.5 MPH avg. I need to knock a minute off that time minimum. More intervals.
Day 2: Crit (45 min) - Since I figured my Omnium chances were pretty bleak with the TT placing I decided my new strategy was to race as aggressively as possible and accumulate the bonus points that were being offered as primes. I spent quite a bit of time off the front of this race but I never had any takers to come up and join. At one point I spent 3 laps off alone. I never had much of a threatening gap but I won 4 primes this way and also was awarded the "Cycles Gladiator Most Aggressive Rider" as a result. That was pretty cool I thought, so I now felt like I had made up for the TT performance and was smiling again. : ) In the final sprint I made a bit of a mistake by keying in on a particular rider that I thought was going to contend for the win. I got a late start on getting to the front and wound up 6th, having to move thru lots of traffic due to my bad decision.
When the points were added up I was surprised to learn that I was now the omnium points leader. A bunch of new riders joined after the TT and apparently none of the Day 1 guys finished ahead of me in the sprint. This coupled with the bonus points put me ahead by 2 points but the top 5 standings were tight. I decided this omnium format is cool and seems to work for me. : )
Brief aside...Later in the afternoon I jumped into the M123 Crit to get some additional work in. Since it was super windy and I had not seen a break stick all day I figured I would sit in and give the final sprint a go. Of course this would be the race where a lovely 8 man break gets up the road with all the big teams represented. I was so annoyed for not being in it that I went to the front to chase...then tried to bridge 3 times...and then realized it was silly and surrendered.
Day 3: Circuit (Flat 50 min)- The fact that this is a points-based event with riders being able to enter at any point makes things interesting. The same weird way I acquired the lead could easily be the way I lose it. After much thought I concluded that there is really no strategy but to get a very high placing to maximize my probability of hanging on.
I noticed a few guys following me around the pack on the first couple of laps so I decided that I was going to keep doing what got me into the lead...attacking. I got in a few non-threatening breaks but it seemed to get everyone else thinking defensively so on the last couple of laps I felt more comfortable sitting in and waiting for a sprint. This time I focused on staying at the front. A win would be awesome of course but I was thinking that a top 5 would be good enough for the overall. Anything lower would not do it given the tight spread.
Going into the last turn I noticed the 2 guys right behind me on points were right in front of me with 350 meters. I hesitated a bit to make sure I was going to at least beat them...then I jumped to try to catch 2 guys that had gained a gap while I hesitated. It was a drag race with one other guy (who went on to win it) and I just came up short of catching the lead guy of the 2 who were clear...putting me third.
Video footage of finish here (along with a link to the "photo finish" shot!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnToFXrdtzU
The 3rd place finish secured first place in Omnium points. Over the course of the weekend I won $175, a ton of sport drink product, 3 bottles of rancid wine (I will drink them though!), 1 six pack of beer, pint glasses, cycling eye glasses, key chains, bottle openers and coupons for stuff in Folsom that probably expire today. And my Cycles Gladiator hat with "most aggressive racer" written on the back...which I will treasure and wear in my sleep probably. ; )
My wife and 2 daughters were at the final stage cheering me on which motivated me to give that little extra...I definitely needed their energy since everything was so close. The 2nd place finisher overall was only 3 points behind. Overall a great weekend and it would be real cool to bring a few teammates/friends/family up for next year if Folsom does it again. The format keeps everyone in it until the end (unlike a typical stage race where the TT gets weighted more heavily) so it would be kind of cool to be able to strategize and consider various outcomes as a team...or just talk smack a bit. : )