2016 Red Kite Criterium

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.

Dave Allen Finished 3rd in a Stacked Red Kite Criterium

Date: April 17, 2016

Category: M123 35+

Teammates: Funke, Hobbs, Oli, Sloan (aka Maggie)

This was probably one of the biggest crit fields to date this year with I'm guessing 60+ riders, with 4-5 teams having more than 7 riders. Peets had 8!.  The field was pretty deep too with Patrick Stanko, Dan Martin, James LaBerge, Jan Weissenberger, etc.

The Plan: Race aggressive, create a break and stack it.

Summary: There was tons of attacking right from the gun with all of the TMBEquator riders pulling their weight.  The first 20 minutes or so was a blur, but I feel that we were well represented in everything.

Around this point a big move went off the front with a bunch of strong riders.  Teammate Hobbs made it, along with Stanko, Jan & Scobie (both from Thirsty Bear), Boynton & O'Rourke(?) (both from Peet's), Dan Shore, and maybe 1-2 others.

I knew right away we were going to be in trouble with only one teammate in the break against Stanko and multiple riders from Peets and Thirsty Bear.  The field seemed willing to accept this break and I knew O needed to get across. I'm not sure exactly what the gap was, but it seemed possible, if maybe a little on the "I might blow up before I get there" side.  With the wind at our backs on the back stretch, I jumped really hard about 100m before turn 3, and immediately got a gap.  I knew I needed to make the bridge before hitting the headwind after turn 4.  Out of the saddle, head down the whole way, I was gaining but it was hurting.  I hit turn 4 about 10m off the back and had to dig a little more to get on right around the start/finish.  Darn, that hurt! 

Now I just needed to hang out and rest a bit so as not to get dropped right away.  But rest didn't come so easily.  I quickly learned that the reason it was harder to bridge than I expected was because the break was busy chasing Stanko.  Typical!  Another few minutes of pain and Stanko was reabsorbed and we got down to the business of steady riding/rotating.

From what I remember, the first 10-15 min everyone worked pretty well with no shenanigans.  Hobbs, Stanko, and 1-2 others were really driving it. My plan was just to take reasonable pulls while trying to stay fresh for the finish.

The last 10 laps were also kind of a blur. I remember telling Hobbs to ease back a little to save some for the end. There were a lot of attacks and the group split a couple times. I was feeling good and just following wheels. With 5-6 laps to go, the group stopped working well and it got a little dicey.  There were lots of guys complaining but no one willing to put in much effort.

With 2-3 to go, the field was getting close and I asked Hobbs to start ramping it up. I'm pretty sure his effort ensured that the break would stay away (nice job Donkey!).

At this point I think everyone expected it to come down to a sprint. Oddly enough (though i should have expected it), Stanko instead attacked with 1 to go.  Scobie was able to get his wheel (or close anyway) and I was on Scobie. I'm pretty sure no one else made it. Unfortunately, after about 200m Scobie blew dramatically and I gave everything I could to go around and get Stanko’s wheel, but it wasn’t enough. I was faced with blowing up trying to catch him or settling in trying to hang on for 2nd. By the beginning of the back stretch it was obvious that I wasn’t going to catch him so just got in TT mode.  

Jan caught me just before turn 3 and attacked, but I had enough left to get on his wheel. He tried to get me to come around, but I wasn’t budging. We starting soft pedaling. I looked back and saw another rider coming up to us. It ended up being Boynton. I tried to time it just right to jump before he caught us and also get around Jan before the last turn, but Boynton got there first and I couldn’t quite come around him. I had to settle for 3rd.