Monday, June 23, 2008

AT&T Austin Downtown Criterium

Saturday was the AT&T crit which was pegged as one of my goal races for the year. My race didn't start until 4:40pm, but I went down early and checked out some of the earlier races and had lunch. There was a downpour during the Women's Open race which caused some accidents. By the time I raced the course was dry except for some water still in the gutters.

There were 72 racers on the starting line. The race started fast and stayed fast. I didn't get a great start, but within 5 laps I had moved up to where I wanted to be which was in the top 7-10. About 1/2 way through the race a rider opened a nice gap and we let him maintain it for a while. Me and another racer were able to close the gap. I then found myself off the front by about 30 meters or so. For a split second I thought about trying to get away, but then decided that there was too much time left and the pace was too fast to realistically succeed, so I came back to the pack. On the last lap I didn't get myself where I needed to be before the last corner and ended up finishing 9th. I am disappointed by that result because I had such high expectations for the race. But, I am going to keep a positive outlook and have already begun to focus on my race this coming weekend in Cincinnati.

Here is a low quality video my wife shot of us chasing the rider off the front. The gap is pretty small here. I am the rider at the front of the chase in the blue and white.

Here is the sprint at the end. The rider who won did so convincingly. I come through close to the fence in the blue and white.

The pro races were fantastic. The pro women tore it up! Cheerwine worked their asses off for Kelly Benjamin to get her the win. Coming around the last corner for the sprint KB was first but just off her wheel was Tina Pic. I said, "OH SHIT this is going to be good." Tina Pic just wasn't able to close it down. Our local hero and Advil-Chapstick rider, Jen McRae (wife of Chann McRae) finished 3rd.

Kelly Benjamin, Tina Pic, and Jen McRae on the podium.

Liz Hatch from Vanderkitten.

The men's race was awesome as well. The pace was incredibly fast and with 5 to go there were 5 Toyota guys on the front trying to set up Ivan Dominguez for the sprint. However, coming out of the last corner, Alejandro Borrajo from Colavita somehow got through and held on for the win. Top three were Alejandro Borrago, Henk Vogels, Ivan Dominguez.

Fast Freddie Rodriguez and Rock Racing were in attendance.

So now to Rock Racing. I think it is great that they are providing major sponsorship for these large crit events such as Austin and last week in Harlem. I think in a way they are bringing some excitement and some flair to the US scene. However, can these guys form a solid race team? Their showing in Austin was pretty weak. Bahati's 8th place was their top finish on Saturday. They stuck around for Sunday and two local studs managed to take the top 2 podium spots. Tyler Hamilton was in contention for a while before crashing and flatting. So, can Rock Racing take some individual talents and form a solid US racing team? So far I say no because the results don't nearly justify the investment being made. Your thoughts?


Blogger oldmanandhisbike said...

"He's in the lead! Well, except for that other guy."
Don't discount your finish; you were flying at the end. And the distance between 2nd and 9th didn't look that far. Excellent effort!
Good luck next weekend!

6/23/08, 8:10 PM  
Blogger AMRcyclist said...

It is looking better and better. Perhaps, and like me, it is time to try something different. If you find yourself at the front, go for it! You might find that only 4 or 5 riders will get to you. Then, you have a break away! Man, top 10 with 72 riders, that is great!!!!
What sort of average speed are you guys doing?
Well done, Chris!!!!!

6/24/08, 12:40 AM  
Blogger Lily on the Road said...

Thanks for the visual's Chris!

You guys fly, I just can't imagine riding in a pack at that speed. Man, you're one brave, fast, co-ordinated dude!!!

Good finish too!!

I love your little one yelling, "go daddy", that's awesome!

6/24/08, 3:39 AM  
Blogger Groover said...

Nice videos. I don't know enough about Rock Racing to really form an opinion. Would love to learn more 'bout them, though. They seem to be in the limelight a lot, just not for winning races it seems ... but if that's enough exposure for the sponsor then it might justify the $$$ spent?

6/24/08, 4:10 AM  
Blogger allan said...

Great job Chris!! I still say crits are scary as hell.

6/24/08, 4:11 AM  
Blogger bluecolnago said...

sweet! you done good, brother! :)

6/24/08, 4:39 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Good effort Chris... it looked like you were moving! Like you said it's just a matter of getting into "that place" for the finish.
I agree on Rock... they're struggling... where's the TEAM... it doesn't seem to be coming together so well.

6/24/08, 6:21 AM  
Blogger jahowie said...

It looked like a great race. You did very well just being up front like you were. It must have been a very cool event with all of those pros there.

6/24/08, 7:06 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oldman - I thought that was good too. He is leading except for the real leader.

amrcyclist - thanks. Average speed was right at 26 mph (42kph).

Lily - when do you get the bike out and dust it off?

Groover - true. They are interested in selling clothing and they are certainly introducing the brand to a lot of new people through their cycling promotion.

Allan and Blue - thanks

Donald - you should do a story on them.

Jahowie - it really was a great event.

6/24/08, 3:40 PM  
Blogger lauren said...

you're up there - close to the front, looking good!

6/24/08, 9:49 PM  
Blogger Eclectchick said...

Hey - you did a GREAT job! Don't sell yourself short.

As for Rock Racing, great kits, charisma and controversy - but can they live up to the hype??? I'm thinking not. Not yet, anyway.

6/27/08, 8:53 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Nice Chris. Very pro.

As far as rock racing, every team has its ups and downs but some of Ball's ideas are really far fetched I think.

6/27/08, 6:32 PM  

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