A number of NOBC riders made the drive over to Lafayette last Saturday and Sunday for the Nolan Theriot Memorial Criterium and Road Race. It seems, however, that my own physical and mental resources were sufficiently strained that I failed to write down the results, so I'll just jot down what fragments of memory happened to survive the event. As I had to be back in town Saturday night, I wasn't able to ride in the Road Race on Sunday, so I don't know how things went there.
The 45-minute (timed event) Master's race featured a combined field with separate prizes for Master-35 and Master-45 races, and attracted a fairly strong group of around 20 riders. The criterium course was laid out in a business park area, and was essentially a large rectangle with one sweeping curve and three 90-degree turns. Just to make things more interesting, however, the promoter had added a short extension past the finish line that forced riders to negotiate a fairly sharp hairpin around a narrow neutral ground (a.k.a. Median), and that turned out to be the day's major contributor to Roadrash, landing many riders on the blistering hot brushed concrete and testing the tire-gluing skills of the tubularites in the group. The master's event started out at a fairly civilized pace, but quickly heated up as Mike Lew provided some animation at the front, along with Ricky Tenney, Guy Cross, and a couple of others. NOBC riders in the field included Dave Swords and Randy Legeai. Four primes, evenly spaced through the race, but inconspicuously announced spiced up the action, and when Mike Lew went for(but lost) the one offered at the mid-point of the race, the pack split and five riders opened up a gap on the rapidly dehydrating field. This gang of five gradually dwindled to just three -- Ricky, Guy, and Randy. Mike Lew continued to chase the group but never caught, and ended up riding with Dave Swords, who I think was lapped on the .8 mile course, but went on to win the Master-45 category. On the final lap the three leaders slowed considerably and Randy and Guy weren't about to let Ricky get a free tow up to the 200 meter mark. Shortly before the final turn, and about 300 meters from the finish line, Guy Cross jumped strongly from the back, cutting through the turn on the inside and catching Randy and Ricky by surprise. Randy responded quickly and ultimately got past Guy, but couldn't hold off Ricky Tenney in the close 3-man sprint.
Keith Duet, Joey D'Antoni, Lorenzo Bergen, and Mark (the tall one) entered the Senior 4 event, which featured the day's largest field. At the start, Lorenzo tactically got dropped before the first turn, never to make contact again, although he continued to serenely circle the course providing periodic consternation among the pack riders as they passed. Joey and Keith worked well and maintained good field position, but around the half-way point Joey's rear wheel washed out on the U-turn, landing him on his posterior. By the time he got back to the pit with his flat rear tire, there was a big rush to get a wheel in before the pack came by, with the result that he got pushed off just behind the pack in his biggest gear, uphill. Well, that dog won't hunt, and didn't. Turned out that Joey had ridden a narrow (like 19mm) time trial tire tubular on his rear wheel. The U-turn required such a bike lean that he had been going around it each lap essentially on the unprotected sidewall, which, of course, eventually gave out, landing him on his butt. The tire looked like someone had taken a beltsander to one side of it! Meanwhile, Keith stayed near the front, ultimately taking, I think, 8th or so in the bit pack sprint, but just missing out on the prizes.
Well, having recovered from the Master's race, and negotiating a $10 entry fee for the 1/2/3 race, I decided to take a shot at it. I had noticed that there were a few riders from Herring Gas, a few from the Lafayette team, and a pair each from the Houston teams of Hooters and Whole Food. I figured that would give the top riders lots to keep them busy and that I might be able to safely hide out in the field of around 40 riders, especially if I was willing (which I was) to let a few riders go off the front without getting all worked up over it. Although this hour-long race was faster and more animated than the Master's race had been, there were lots more wheels for grabs and I generally felt considerably more comfortable. As I had predicted, the major teams launched attacks and counter attacks, and contested the many primes, so that toward the end, a pair of riders finally succeeded in getting off the front, chased by another pair (that included Kenney Bellau), that was chased by the pack. Both pair of riders made it to the finish without being caught, although the gap was never more than about 25 seconds, and in the big field sprint that ensued for fifth place, I got fourth (8th overall). Race promotion was pretty good, although there were no spectators at this out-of-the-way location. I've asked Lorrie for the complete results, and if I ever see them, I'll post them.
Return to NOBC Welcome Page