David Allen Finishes 3rd at a Fast & Aggressive Red Kite Criterium

by David Allen
Date: May 15, 2016
Category: M123 35+
Teammates:  Scott Cox, Chris Hobbs, Oli Ryan, Matthew “Maggie” Sloan
It’s the day after an amazing Cat’s Hill performance and we were really just hoping to get some last minute Nationals fine tuning (Cox, Hobbs, and myself) or take advantage of some good form (Oli and Matthew).  But still wanting to perform well and get a good result.
Peet’s had other ideas and a different agenda.  After a rough race the day before, they were looking for redemption as well as preparing for Dean LaBerge’s Nationals defense.  They brought a full 10(!) riders today.  Total field was around 60 riders.
The TMB plan was simply to be very active, take the race to Peet’s and try not to have to react too much, but instead force them to react.  If nothing worked, do our best to get our own leadout going, or infiltrate the Peet’s leadout and set up myself or Cox for the win.
Attacks were going nonstop from the gun.  Mostly initiated by us, but Peets was very active as well.  Many breaks developed, and some lasted a lap or so, but nothing stuck.  Probably a bad combination of teams as well as Peet’s wanting it to come down to a sprint.  
The impressive thing for us is that we were represented in every break (usually with 2 or more riders) and were never in a situation where we had to chase.  It’s such a good feeling coming back from a break to see a teammate launch another attack while the other 3 are right near the front waiting for the next move (and having it this way the entire race).  It really felt like there were more the 5 of us.  Too much fun!
With a couple laps to go, Peet’s started lining it up for the leadout.  Cox, Hobbs, and I were able to get into the front end of it pretty easily (Oli and Matthew were still attacking right up to the last lap!).
Theobald put in a really long pull with about 1.5 to go and Hobbs was on his wheel.  As Nick slowed down, I told Hobbs to keep it going.  Scott and I were in such good position that I didn’t want to risk a swarm while waiting for Peets to get it back together again.
Hobbs did a stellar pull (as usual) until Dan Martin went to the front with about a half lap to go.  With Martin driving hard on the front no one was going to attack or come by.  At this point Cox and I are sitting 2-3 and looking good.  The problem was that I wasn’t exactly sure how it was lined up behind me (Cox or Hobbs, do you know?).
About 100m into the 2nd to last straight, I felt Martin hesitate.  I’m sure he was trying to figure out what to do with 2 Mikes on his wheel.  My worry was that he was going to gradually slow down and allow the rest of the Peets leadout to swarm us.  At this point I just decided to go.  I jumped to the inside as hard as I could go and got a pretty decent gap right away.  The only problem was that it was a long way to that final turn…
I heard a bunch of Peets yelling behind me.  I was hoping that they would panic and their leadout would blow up, but I don’t think that happened.  Scott could probably fill this in better, but it seems that they kept it together nicely and had 1-2 riders bring Dean the rest of the way to the final turn.  I made it there first, but was slowing considerably.
Dean and Matt Mikul (Squadra) came by me and I hung on for 3rd.  Kudos to Peets for a well-timed leadout and also to Dean for another textbook sprint.