Tour of the Gila 2018

2018 Tour of the Gila
This year a few Aggress members drove out to Silver City New Mexico to check out the Tour of the Gila.

Rich Horn: 1st place Inner Loop Road Race.
Rich Horn: 2nd place Gila Monster Road Race.

 

VOS 2017

First off, I think Gene deserves teammate of the year.  He let Tim and I stay at his house, even fed us, and then drove us the thousands of miles around central Arizona to the various sites … all after injuring his calf in the TT.  He cramped up and had some micro-tears that developed into a full blown calf tear first trip up the hill on the road race.  Despite all that, he braved the wind and cold, twice, to give Tim a bottle in his race which was about 3 hours after we were finished!

I’ll let Tim tell his story, of course, but I’ll mention what he’s going to leave out, probably.  He was in a VERY strong Cat 3 group … there were some absolute studs there doing their last Cat 3 races before moving up to Cat 2.  I follow several of them on Instagram and Strava…that field was LOADED!

As for me, I finished 2nd in the GC for men’s cat 4.  I’m super happy with that, especially since I never really expected to do a lot of winning this year.  I thought NEXT year would be my “come-back” tour.  (That’s a little sarcasm because I’ve only raced half of one season before getting hurt.)

In the TT I had a very, very bad day.  It was good enough for second on the day, but I felt I didn’t deserve it  … silly, but the amount of power I put on that TT was what I usually do for tempo intervals.  But, I was pretty sick, and I wasn’t slow due to lack of effort!

The wind on the TT was pretty strong, a tail cross on the way out, which is slightly uphill, and a head cross on the way back.  I had a 90mm front wheel on and I got pushed around a lot!  But, the wheel never got twisted, I just got moved side to side, sometimes abruptly.

The road race figured to be a real shit-show.  It was windy, blowing all different directions, very wet and there were parts of the course with some bad road, huge rumble strips and a cattle guard right after a turn.  But, as it turned out, the only people on the day that crashed were juniors!  I felt better than I did on the TT, but still was just dying to make it up the hill in the group.   I never really figured into the make-up of the race other than to try and bridge to a break away, but being 2nd, I wasn’t allowed any leash.  I came in 8th place on the day.

Before the road race both Stephen Pendone and Tom Danielson reached out to me with encouragement and advice.  It wasn’t advice I was able to execute in the road race, but I felt stronger still on day 3.  I wasn’t sore and had good legs.  The advice was, in TD’s words, “Make the race a fucking blood bath.”  It was interesting because during the crit, someone else was doing just that for the first few laps and I was hurting.  I moved up and moved up and it got easier.  I kept moving up until the first prime lap when I attacked, got $50 and got away.  One dude bridged and then another, but after I think 2 or maybe 3 laps, we got reeled in.  I just stayed well positioned from them on, until lap 3 when there was another prime.  I just moved up patiently and then stood on the pedals just enough to get a second prime!  

On the last part of the second to last lap riders STOPPED holding their lines and people started getting really twitchy.  All I needed to do to stay 2nd in GC was finish, so I just went on the front and held the pace high until the back stretch when some people started attacking.  I just surfed wheels in and came in mid-pack, same time as the winners.    😀 

I learned exactly what Stephen and Tom were talking about.  When you’re dictating the pace, even when you’re not attacking anymore, people look at you and treat you differently.  It gets way easier when they’re a little afraid of you.  Next time I’ll see if I can use that to get a W.

-Philip

Merry Crit-Mas 12/17/16

This was criterium number three for me and since I crashed out in number two, I was a little nervous.  The field was pretty big compared to the other races on the day … 38 racers I believe.  The weather was windy and cold. 

My goals going into the race were as follows:

  1.  Have fun – Stay Upright
  2. Discover weaknesses I have
  3. Learn tactics
  4. Gain Experience
  5. Win

Yup, winning was pretty low on the list.  In fact, I had a very tough week of V02 max work and over-unders (intervals where the rest is at 95% of FTP), a trip to the gym for weight lifting and a whole lot of bad sleep. Also, I’m working on losing weight and lost 6 pounds the week of the race.  That’s great for the future racing, but lose 6 pounds in a week and you’re weak and tired.

My pre-race ritual was better executed than last race.  I remembered my gloves (left them in the car last time), and turned on my every-important GoPro!  My warm-up routine seems to work well for me, so if nothing else, I think that’s pretty dialed in.

At the whistle there was some dude who just took off, but he was given zero leash.  Two turns in, on the back stretch (directly into the wind), and the whole field was stretched out single file. I found myself on the back as I didn’t line up early enough for a good spot (lesson learned).  So I had to move up to the front 3rd of the field into the headwind, burning some matches.  What also got burned off with the match were my nerves. Once I was racing, I was calm.

About five minutes into the race, Team Tolero decided to toughen up the race and they shelled a large portion of the field. Thankfully, racers that were lapped got pulled in this race, unlike last time.  During this time with Tolero working hard to soften the race I realized that I suck at corners.  Watching the GoPro footage I realize that I scrub off too much speed heading into the corners.  I got gapped every single corner for the whole race, but especially when there was a high pace. I burned a lot of matches regaining contact coming out of corners.

The first prime lap was interesting as the field slowed down and they let one dude take off solo and win it.  Here I made my second big mistake … I chased him down, dragging everybody with me.  I had planned on attacking after the prime, but had I read the race better I would’ve known it was a bad time. 

The second prime was more like I anticipated, but I messed this one up, too.  There were aggressive moves and the top riders all took off.  I let them go and reeled them back in. (I was fully confident that nobody in that field could ride away from me, so I could burn fewer matches by not matching their explosive attacks, knowing they’d blow up, and then have juice to counter attack when I caught them.) On the back half of the course they sat up and looked at each other, which is when I should have attacked.  I don’t know why I didn’t attack there, doh!  Big mistake number 3 … which is perfect, I came to make mistakes and learn from them.

The rest of the race unfolded like the other crits I’ve done.  I did a good job allowing others to close gaps, just following 2nd or 3rd wheel.  Then, second to last lap there was a move, I followed it.  Once that dude seemed vulnerable I attacked him but not hard enough to shell the guy at the second wheel.  This time I didn’t get cute, I played my card which is putting out power and that last lap was the fastest of the day, 27.2 mph.   I figured that if he could hang on my wheel and roll me at the finish, he deserved to win.  That’s exactly what happened.  I hate finishing second or third usually, but am perfectly happy with how things shook out. 

It was very cool having Doug and Liz Perry and Tim there cheering me on. 

Here’s the gopro footage (edited) of the race:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJQA1yn6vzI

 

 

–Philip Brown

 

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  • Mission

    Aggress is a Tucson-based statewide / regional cycling team formed in January, 2004.
    As a developmental team for both road and mountain bike racing, Aggress continues to actively – yet carefully – recruit according to a philosophy that emphasizes teamwork in both training and racing tactics.
    Our focus is to race as a team, utilizing team tactics to get our man the win. We ride in support of our designated racer, with each member in turn supported in the key event(s) of his choosing.
    We are aggressive when we race, but we behave in a courteous and sportsmanlike manner at all times. We also have team training rides that we utilize throughout the season.