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Race Report: Opus Crit #2

Last night was the second of the six-week Opus series, which, thankfully, was not actually shut down after all last week's drama. It did have some changes made, though, and one of those changes was that the women's race is now twelve laps instead of nine. Apparently this extra distance is too much for the Velo Bellas to handle, because not very many of them showed up at all. Bellas, don't you know it only makes it worse when we can smell your fear?

Nineteen women lined up this time, eight of which were ours. Also a good showing by some of the fastest ladies in the metro area, including the fearsome Teresa and pro MTB'er Kyia. Scary stuff. With all the big dogs coming out to play, the whole race was faster and more aggressive than last week's, and no breaks ever got away for very long.

An interesting rule Opus has is that lower-category riders are allowed to bring their coaches into the race with them, as long as the coaches do not do anything to affect the outcome of the race. One girl did this last night, so for at least half the race I got to listen to some dude hollering "Get up there! Get up there!" constantly. His usefulness to his coachee ran out, however, when somebody attacked and the field started to break up. Not wanting to be left out of the front group, I started hammering to catch back on, and behind me I heard Coachie's voice bellowing "Get on her wheel!" Meaning my wheel, of course. I thought, "fuck that," and scooted over to the other side of the road so she couldn't get on my wheel, and I never saw her again. So thanks for that, Coach, cuz if it weren't for you I would've held my line and she could have gotten on.

It got a little more exciting in the second sprint, when Belgian Bella accidentally came out of her pedal and nearly caused a huge pile-up with all her fishtailing, foot-dragging, spark-shooting action. Fortunately everyone managed to keep the rubber side down this time. Whew.

Meanwhile, with the constant attacks at the front of the group, I was getting popped off the back over and over, and having to sprint to catch back on over and over. A few of those times I towed a teammate back up with me, though, so my story is that I was just doing my Super Domestique duty and going back for my fallen comrades. Which means that I was off the back on purpose, obviously. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

After the third prime on the ninth lap shelled a few more racers, the pack was down to maybe ten or eleven. Only three of the remaining racers were cat 4s, and all 3 of them were wearing blue. That's right, Bellas, read it and weep. Perhaps you did not hear the sound of the gauntlet hitting the ground before, so here it is again: THWAP! Next week you have no excuses.

We wound up for the final sprint, and I found myself a nice spot on the outside of the pack near the back and waited. When the time came I hit the gas and charged past a handful of others to cross the line in 7th position. Which I think translates to 8th overall, since Ann H (who had been at the front chasing Kyia down for two laps) sat up before the sprint and didn't even contest it, but she already had enough points for third place anyway. Points races are kind of weird. In any case, I was the first 4 across the line again, followed by my teammates Maria and Alison in second and third. Again, no phat cash for the 4s. This is going to be just like when I was in middle school and they didn't install air conditioning there until the year I started high school. As soon as I cat up there will be all kinds of races with separate cat 4 fields, I just know it.

Next up is the Ken Woods Road Race on Saturday, where there will indeed be a cat 4 field. All I can say is watch out for the blue train.


Blogger Smithers said...

One girl did this last night, so for at least half the race I got to listen to some dude hollering "Get up there! Get up there!" constantly.

I wonder if you need some kind of certification for this kind of coaching? This is some really great advice. Get up there...sounds so easy...

4/26/2006 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Dan I. said...

I'm pretty sure the coach in question was Dag Selander. He was coaching in the Cat 4 race too. Hmmm.. "Get up there!" seems to work for his son Bjorn, National Junior Cyclocross Champ.

4/26/2006 7:43 PM  
Anonymous andy said...

dag knows what he's doing, but constantly telling someone to fill in and not let gaps open up is pretty simple stuff...

4/26/2006 11:14 PM  
Blogger Shawn Kielty said...

I can't even imagine why I enjoy these race reports, yet I do.

4/27/2006 3:00 AM  
Blogger Bobster said...

I think I enjoy them because I can feel the excitement. I'm there!

4/27/2006 6:47 AM  
Blogger annie said...

Maybe, Andy, just maybe he tricked that poor girl into giving him an excuse to warm up on the course, like you were trying to trick me and Gilby into. Hmmm.

4/27/2006 8:02 AM  
Blogger Eclectchick said...

Why you, you, YOU . . . are so funny. ;-)

4/27/2006 10:22 AM  

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