PR: CCW with Escape Route

June began with another counter-clockwise escape route course. Scot Weeks, another 4 on our team, was racing with me. At the preme lap, I hollered at him to get on my wheel and as we rounded the corner for the downhill, I sprinted out. I told him to stay on my wheel until the bottom, where I’d have gotten a reasonable gap on the pack and he could hopefully power it up for the preme. Well, he decided to go BEFORE the descent… and was promptly swallowed up. He’s not as big as I. 😉

Anyway, we raced around until the end, and I was just in for the pack finish. However, on the final lap, pushed, and saw him pushing as well. Moved up to the top third, but on the hill was too tired to do much. But did hear, and then after the cool-down pace heard from Scot that he managed the win! He had good position on the downhill, followed a reasonable line up, and the guy in front of him was just gassed, so he was able to pull it off. Nice work!

PR CCW Escape Route

Today’s race was sparsely attended after last week’s Crashapalooza. It was raining, and the forecast was LOTS of rain. But, I took a chance after my friend Laura called me out. Got down there, and cold, wet, but not raining. And the sun came out!

There were only 14 Masters, and no Wines guys in the 4/5s, so I raced Masters. Laura was also racing Masters, along with Eric and Greg. Laura told me that she felt Masters was more intense, but same overall speed as the 4/5s. Plus, they did the hill slower. Slower hill? I’m in!
Woof… why do I always forget that Masters rip your legs off? 😉

The 4/5 Escape Route race is basically a “thin the pack sprint finish” race. The pack powers up the hill, then recovers on the flat until the downhill and up again. If you can hang on after the pack gets to the top and the false flat curve, you’re good until the next lap. Preme laps can be tough, as often the pack will sprint up that hill and you need to sprint with them. But ultimately, it’s a semi-sprint finish for people to power up the climb on the last lap.

The Masters… don’t do that. They go slowly up that hill, conserving energy. Then, on the flats… ATTACK! Yes, an attack at PR. Today, even though there were only 15 racers, someone was always attacking – esp. Greg. After the preme lap, I and some others got dropped – or at least formed a smaller group of 4 from the group of 15. We chased for a bit, then the 4/5s caught us, so we drafted them. Then, they towed us to the Masters. Thanks guys!

We did a few more laps, then the end. Greg, Eric, and I were in the lead on the descent, and Eric was giving Greg an OK lead, but Greg had gone too early up the hill and blew up about halfway up the final climb. Tough race, legs were gassed… good stuff.

I drove home in the downpour… yow. Then, came home to my wife pointing out some leaks from the rain. Attic spelunking after a race…. suck-tastic. Oh well, still didn’t crash. Just now need to find a roofer!

Flats, point per lap, crashtastic, then Hills, point per lap

Today… um… sucked. But I didn’t go down.

The course was flats point-per-lap – 2 points for first across each lap (except the first), 1 point for second. Highest points at the end wins. Cool.

It was lightly raining. Not cool.

We sped around the first lap, fast… some people were pushing, rest of us were chatting, “Um, first lap neutral, no points guys…” But whatever. Second lap, GO! I was around the top 10ish, positioning myself for a sprint. Third lap, we round the bend, I’m in a good position on the right, and GO! There’s someone leading the main pack in the middle, they start to drop back. There’s another guy on my left. Turns out the pack conceded to us… sprint! sprint! sprint! And he gets me by a hair. That’s OK, first point in PPL.

We sit up and let the pack catch up. As we round the bend for the drag strip, we see that the Masters have crashed. Oof! Neutral through the crash. Sprint again, and then I’m back in the top 10ish ready for another go. I’m nervous on the drag strip, so I’m leading out the third line (left-most). We get to the almost-end of it, and CRASH! I hear bikes falling behind me. I don’t even look… I’m all about maintaining my line and maintaining my bike upright on the slick rubber. We cruise around, some people sprint, but more are looking at the carnage. There’s about 10 of us. Rory or Deanna, who run it, yell “ESCAPE ROUTE!” So the course shifts to PPL Escape Route (HILL!).

Well, with crashes and hills, we’re done. Mike, one of my teammates who made it through the crash, has legs. He pretty much goes off the front up the hill, stays away for 2 of the final 4 laps. Nobody is really pushing things though… two crashes and sprinting after a hill has just taken the wind out of everyone.

Oof… made it, got a point, drove home. Weird, rough day.

PR Flats

PR CCW with Escape Route

A week later I found myself doing the Escape Route again. Stuck with the pack (again). This time, I had told Max, the junior on our team, to get behind me on the final lap, and I’ll blast him down the descent so he can climb to victory.

That was just how it happened.. well the blast down. I sprinted to the front of the pack on the last lap, Max behind me, bombed down the descent, and then was done costing up the hill. Somebody was on my wheel, Max followed… and then the pack got us. I rolled it in on a pack finish, my job done. But, finished with the pack again… guess those legs have improved!

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

PR: CCW down the escape route

My first PR hills route… fun. Felt good. Started the race towards the front, and made it a goal to lead the pack on the descent. We did 7-ish laps (need to look at my stats), and I was on the dfront on the downhill for at least three of them. I’d extend a gap, make it up about 1/3 of the hill, and then be caught. Stuck with the pack on the first preme, which is usually when I lose them. Second to last lap was the second preme (bastard). So 2 spirited laps… but I held. Didn’t try and contest the finish, just stuck with people and rolled over the line with the pack (think I was dead last in the pack, but hey, pack finish is a pack finish!). Think this is my first finish on the hill… least first that I can remember!

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

PR: Clockwise w/ the Escape Route

Well, with the new ride and wheel good to go, it’s back to PR. This time, clockwise up the escape route, which means a twisty descent followed by a big uphill sprint. My strategy: get out front on the descent, take the best lines, and huff it up the hill so I can catch on when everyone passes me. This works great for the first 4 laps… then, the preme, and I just can’t catch back on the lap after the preme. So I sit out for a lap, and then hop back in the end to at least do the hill repeats. I end up getting dropped again up the hill towards the end… the gas isn’t there. Alas! But it’s a good ride, and I’m loving the new bike. Still gotta figure out the shifting however… it’s rubbing far too much.

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

Pacific Raceways CCR/ER – so that’s what 90 riders looks like!

A sunny day, a 7 PM start. In theory, flats, but due to some work on the drag strip, it’d be counter-clockwise with the escape route. Should be a good hills workout, especially after all the March racing. The 1/2/3s head out… then the Masters. Huh… there’s still a lot of people about.

Over 90 people, to be exact!

It’s just a huge, huge pack. It’s actually a bit intimidating, to be honest. I’m in the middle. The first couple of laps are tough and I’m winded… I’m not bombing down the escape route as there’s tons of people. And it’s tough moving up, as the pack is fast… very fast. It’s 30 minutes, so people are taking it like a crit, and I’m having a hell of a time climbing. I get dropped after the 2nd hill, so I sit up at top for the pack to come around. When they do, I race to catch on the back… and don’t! The pack is moving at around 26-28 MPH, and I can’t catch on for the life of me. Turns out the 4/5s also passed the Masters… just a fast moving pack. I do one more lap, then I’m done. Oof!

Hill repeats. Must do hill repeats.

Pacific Raceways Escape Route