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Greenville...Michelin Classic Time(6 posts)

Greenville...Michelin Classic TimeZone_5_Junkie
Oct 9, 2003 6:56 PM
last race of the season (fla excluded)...anyone going?
re: Greenville...Michelin Classic Timeww11
Oct 10, 2003 6:53 AM
Did you go to Cheaha
Race reportMcAndrus
Oct 13, 2003 8:54 AM
I went and both raced and spectated. I had a good time as I always do ... except for my race.

Saturday started wet and dreary - very cool for South Carolina in October. Even though my race didn't start until 12:30, I got up early and got to Greenville by 9 a.m. to watch a couple of Cat 5 friends race. They rode in the rain and both did well with one taking a prime.

I post seldom so some may not remember me but I'm a Masters 45+ racer. This is my second year of being possessed by this racing demon.

By 10 a.m. or so the drizzle stopped, the street dried out, and the sun began to peak through the clouds. The cool morning was turning into a very pleasant afternoon.

The Greenville course is a 1-kilometer six-turn course (if you count the chicane) and, except for turn two, is pretty easy. A very fun course to race.

Greenville is one of my targets for the year. I'm not ever going to win such a juicy race but I'd been training for it and hoped to at least have a good ride. This year the organizer decided to combine the Masters 35 and 45s so we had a pretty big field. I lined up in the third row.

Everything went great ... until the start. The guy directly in front of me missed his clip-in and put his foot down. So, in the first corner I'm at the back of the pack.

The pace was very fast - maybe the fastest I've ever experienced - but I felt good. I was on the back but moving up a couple of places every lap.

How fast was it? Well, I saw something I've never seen before - I watched a lot of guys get shelled - in front of me. I'd move up to take their spots as they drifted back past me. I caught the eyes of one guy on his way back and it wasn't pretty.

Several laps went by and I'd gotten a decent rythm going but I was still at the back. I was continuing to move up but the pack was getting smaller, quickly. No matter how much I moved up I was still at the back.

Then it happened: coming out of turn three I'm revving up when the guy in front of me literally stops pedaling. In the instant it took me to recognize this and start to go around him a h-u-g-e gap opened to the pack. By the next corner I knew it was hopeless.

I spent two laps hoping either a)guys would fall off the back to join me or b)guys would catch me from behind and we could form a grupetto. No luck in either case. So, I waved at the motorcycle just behind me and pulled off.

This was a new experience for me. I've had countless guys let gaps open in front of me and countless times I've jumped across these gaps. I've never had anyone simply stop pedaling. Amazing. I was loving it up until that moment.

But now as to the rest of the day.

I didn't see some of the racing as my daughter goes to college in nearby Clemson. I was watching the ladies race when I got an emergency cell phone call from my wife. She said daughter wanted to come watch the race. So I drove the 45 minutes to Clemson, picked up my baby, and we came back in time to see the Pro-1-2 race.

For those who don't know the Michelin Classic is 18-years-old and one of the better criteriums in the country. It's the biggest race I personally attend and draws thousands of screaming fans lined along the course clanging cowbells every time the pack goes by. It routinely draws top-name guys like George Hincapie.

This year he and the other top guys were in Hamilton for the worlds so the pro field was lighter than I've seen in the past. Even so, it's always a fun race to watch.

My habit is to walk the course backward at criteriums so that I can see the race coming at me. The hardest corner in this race is corner two: a fast downhill into a 90-degree left-hand turn.

I was stunned when daughter and I got to corner two. In the Masters race it was almost always brakes-on in this corner and we picked our way around it. In the pro race I watched a single guy off the front come down this hill and he accelerated into the corner. He was accelerating
Any chance we can get the rest?vindicator
Oct 14, 2003 7:28 AM
or has it vanished into the ether. Your post was cut off and I always enjoy race reports.
Sorry - part deuxMcAndrus
Oct 15, 2003 1:51 PM
Sorry - let me see if I can pick it up where I left off --

I was stunned when daughter and I got to corner two. In the Masters race it was almost always brakes-on in this corner and we picked our way around it. In the pro race I watched a single guy off the front come down this hill and he was accelerating into the corner.

On this corner stood a dozen or so people watching the race. When the pack came by in pursuit they were so fast and tight in the corner that the spectators were startled and jumped back from the curb.

Daughter and I then walked up the hill, away from the tight corner when I heard a voice that sounded out of place. A guy was saying something like "You've got Hopkins' wheel. He's the best sprinter in the race. Make sure you stay on his wheel." When I turned to look I saw it was a team's director speaking into a walkie-talkie.

I was going to camp near him for a while - it sounded like fun to hear the inside stuff - but he started to walk the other way and I thought I'd look like some kind of stalker-geek if I followed him around.

We went back to a nook in a storefront near the start-finish to watch the rest of the race. In an unusual turn of events for this race, there were no breakaway groups. Occasionally a single rider would get off the front for a minute but would get reeled in. Maybe from the lack of dominant teams?

At one point one guy leapt off the front. The announcer made a point to tell us he was one of the Masters 45+ riders - taking a flyer in the Pro-1-2. I looked at daughter and said, "You see what I'm up against?" She patted me on the shoulder as if to say "poor dear."

In the end it was a bunch sprint up the uphill finish, won by Jonas Carney of Prime Alliance.

Most of the crowd stayed around to hear the interviews of the top three and watch the podium presentation (sorry, no podium girls). Then the crowd thinned out and we went home.

I'll be back next year.
I hate when that happens!hrv
Oct 17, 2003 9:40 AM
Fortunately, it only happened once to me, in the first road race of the year this season, on a cold, early March day. Coming to the crest of a climb, I look down at the hrm for a split second, look up, and the guy in front has decided to call it quits, in the middle of a tight, huge pack. I still can't believe how I avoided plowing into him. But, yeah, like you, my race was over then. Especially beginning season: not too much 'gap-closing-training' prior to that.

You train hard, do all the right things, sometimes travel pretty far, and half of the time your race is decided by someone else, not by your lack of fitness. I guess we both really need to become super strong gap closers for this reason.

Good Luck,
hrv