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Monday, April 23, 2007

Wente whatnot

We arrived in time to see the 45+ ultra-geezers shoot off the line. Every year i've watched it, this is one of the fastest and most aggressive UG races on the NorCal calendar. All the teams were throwing down on what turned out to be a bit of a bloody-Sunday. MS had a big contingent, VOS has taken on new riders, Spine had the most 45's i've ever seen them field, Webcor was in effect, and peppering the field were the many, many older giants who play the teams against each other all virtuoso-like.

From the gun it was ballistic ~ the first major move came from DiscoGeezer Metcalf and StanleyMorganSmith. Initially it didn't look like Smith was going to commit to it, but then they both put their heads down and motored haaaard. Lap after lap the field would have attacks launching off to bridge to the lead duo. A handful here, a quartet there would begin to close the gap ... but that damn Wente headwind finishing straight would send the chasers into disarray and the pack would lurch out towards them like a hungry swarm, enveloping.

With the course being a long 1.2 miles, it seems like the 5 laps to go cards come out of nowhere. Smith and Metcalf had been swallowed up finally, the coup de grace coming when Disco Nolan rushed across the gap in a matter of seconds. The field knew all bets were off if Nolan and Metcalf teamed up and there was a tremendous surge from the pack to bring it all back together.

Soon after, more attacks would come ~ Caldwell from Spine taking every opportunity the tailwind offered with his superior top-end speed ... but, as the lap cards began counting down, it would be yet another field sprint closer.

The Wente gallop is such a sufferfest. You've got to be able to both time it right tactically and yet still be able to sustain a maximal effort for an "un-imponderable" amount of time (stole it, Dave). The sprint ends up being a battle for those who plan it right and want it most. It's a sprint that bleeds you out of your eyes.

glorious win.
- - -

Next up for our viewing pleasures was the Elite Women's. As I've said many times, being in a race that your team is the strongest ... can often mean it's the hardest to win. PROMAN definitely was the powerhouse out there, and with their new DS Mike "what happened to my fashion sense" Hutchysin on the radio ... it was their race to win.

What's cool is that they chose to do it the hard way. They took control early and established the break they wanted. They didn't shirk from the work, even though they had numbers, and even so - the field was never far behind.

It was good drama.

Zell attacked hard in the wind on the finishing straight to open the final lap. CRC's Virginia Perkins found the juice to bridge up to her. THAT was impressive. Those two traded a couple pulls as the Flanders (?) rider Shana Sturla got the short stick of the break by having Kristin the HammerDrumm getting a free ride as the pack was chasing damn hard behind.

Perkins was forced to lead it out to the finishing straight as both Zell and Drumm played the tactics perfect to end it out 1,3. In the field sprint, Nicola showed more and more BMX zip as she punched off the wheels something fierce to take 5th. TFord went a bit early into the wind and faded ever so slightly in her sprint, but she had opened a huge gap on those trying to follow her. But there was no one catching Nicola's rear wheel when she launched.

and ... got say i'm pretty psyched to see how many placings the world-famous Panda made up in that final 100m. In the photo you can see she's a country mile back and she ends up gritting her teeth and finding the power to catch all but the two PROMAN.

good racing.
- - -

Next up was the juniors field. It was a mixed group with lots of riders. The field actually stayed together quite a bit, even though there younger riders present. Their race mirrored most the men's events of the day ~ surges throughout the race with breaks looking like they might have a chance, but then a strong few minutes of chasing by the pack and it would be all together again.

Coming into the finishing straight, fighting that bitter headwind ~ Mako's Larsen looked as though he began his sprint too early. DiscoJr Micah Herman was on his wheel and looking to come around, but Larsen showed tremendous power by staying just a few centimeters ahead of the Disco rider at the finish line.

VERY difficult sprint.
- - -

baby-geezers and proseys reports to come ... and some edits to all the errors in this one ~ maybe.

And, there'll be some coverage from our local star-maker, Damian Gonzales from Delta Velo.

sorry ladies, i don't know if he's taken.


emily said...

mike, you're awesome! not only do you watch the women's races, you actually CARE about the women's races. sometimes that's hard to find. thank you for all your props and for not jinxing me on sunday ;)

Micah c/o Scott said...

Not to mention the young-uns! Thanks OV. We thought Micah had it but I guess he was on the wrong side of Bryan, camera wise.
BTW...the legs are working again,
thanks for your help. Tomorrow =
Boca. You in?

Anonymous said...

So who is this VOS? 3 in a crittin row?

A bunch of lunch bucket, blue collar, mostly Cat tres that last saw rainbow stripes while they were working construction while the GLAD parade came by? A team with the pedigree of a pound found ground round fed mongrol-lyod pitbull/labrador cross?

Dat ders a bunch o' Marines charging the freakin machine gun nest leavin bodies strewn everywhere. Sgt. Rock (aka Sweet G) bayonets what's left. Who. AH!

Nuthin less than comic book super hero stuff.

alicat said...

I'm proud to say that I made it into that photo of yours from the finish at Wente crit. That's a sweet photo, by the way...all panoramic and such.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

that photo was taken by BellaBoy Tyler W.

a sexy little biscuit, if i ever saw one and husband to Ryan lil Ninja Hostetter.

and, good ride there, Ali.

Virginia said...

Thanks for the flattering mention! Its so cool to read a play by play of what goes down in the races. Much appreciated!

PROMANgirl said...

Hey Crumpet, i love the fact you actually watch the chicks races, we appreciate it.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

uh ... hot chicks in spandex speeding past and sweating a lot.


bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Great pics!

It is so badass to have someone who really cares about our races write about them (and to find out what really happened -- I thought for sure I was losing ground like crazy). Thanks for all your enthusiasm & all that airtime!

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Wait, we sweat? I thought we glistened...

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

glistening is fine for beachy models and glamour shots by deb.

but if you want raw down sexy?


PROMANgirl said...

Raw, dirty , nasty, sweaty, sexy i am down with that, oops my marmalade just slipped off my toast into my lap again

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

i reckon Tim's ready with a helping ... hand.

mmm .... lap marmalade.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said... next time I finish a race sweaty and covered in spilled chocolate gu maybe I'll have Mr. Man take photos & see if we can make some extra money...