Thursday, June 28, 2007

Alto Velo Elite Report by James Badia

James Badia(mechanical engineer) has been a huge help in the development of the 30x wheel system.
Race: Burlingame Downtown CriteriumDate: 24 June 2007
Category: Men's Pro 1/2
Team: James Badia, Dominic Giampaolo, Matt Beebe, Rob MacNeill, Peter Dinolfo
Placing: 4th of 90ish
This was my 2nd year racing the Burlingame Crit in the P1/2. Last year I won a prime and was sitting in a good spot with one to go when a crash occurred right at the start finish line where someone fell onto my rear wheel taking a few spokes out of Ksyrium SL. I really enjoyed the Burlingame course from last year and was excited to race it again. In addition, I try my best not to miss a race that is in anyway associated with Tom from Pilarcitos Sports, Tom and his team are a class act and put on some of the best run races around.
A few weeks ago I declared to my teamates that Burlingame was an A-race for me, meaning a race I wanted to peak for and be the finisher. Director Bruce (while on injury reserve, can't wait to race with you again Bruce) showed up with radios for some of the guys, with Rob and myself already wired this gave all but one person a radio. Bruce was making calls from the sidelines over the radio which helped out a bunch.
The team had a pre-race meeting at my tent and we discussed the plan; I was to conserve as much as possible and only go after breakaways that looked to be threatening. The other guys were going to try to ride more aggressive than we have been so far, not only covering attacks but initiating some as well and trying to create breakaways. A general rule was for everyone to try and stay in the top 30% of the race for safety and tactical reasons. I was still on the no prime diet, so I had to do my best to ignore the ringing bells. Sometimes I just can't help myself and that is what gets me into trouble.
The usual suspects showed up with Cal Giant fielding a huge squad along with Lomardi, BPG, and many others.
The race started out fast and stayed fast throughout. During the early parts of the race there were a few lulls and Dominic was quick to jump on the front and blast into the wind picking up the pace. For a little guy he has some good crit speed. Rob, Peter and Dominc all did their fair share of covering attacks and staying near the front. Peter was returning from a month away from the bike so I know he had to be feeling some pain at the speeds he was going near the front of the race. Both Dominic and Peter were involved in crashes mid race. Peter got some pretty bad road rash and his front wheel was destroyed. He crashed because someone pushed him causing his front wheel to run into someone else's rear derailleur. Dominic got a bump on his head and destroyed his rear Ksyrium SL. These crashes took these guys out of the race. Beebe was still trying to find some speed in his legs and when he does I hope I am there to help him out. He was caught behind a crash at some point and ended up dropping out after much chasing.
As the race started winding down it was just Rob and I left, we communicated some and I told him I was feeling good. With about 10 laps to go there was a breakaway of about 4 guys with a small gap. Bruce radioed that there was not a Cal Giant rider in the break which was useful information because based on my previous race day experience the Cal Giant team wasn't about to let a breakaway get away. The break was reeled in and a solo rider attacked off the front only to be caught with 2 to go. At 2 to go the Cal Giant team formed a massive leadout train. No one was willing to contest the leadout train even though they weren't completely drilling it.
The pack started getting very antsy and Rob and I were not able to stay together. When I heard the bell there were 7 Cal Giant riders at the front, Daniel Holloway, Jamiel Danesh, a few Lombardi and BPG guys and then me in about 12th. The pace increased on the last lap. I entered the final sweeper turn on the inside in about 10th place, passed a few guys in the corner and then started my sprint coming out of the the sweeper. My sprint speed surprised me as I started picking people off one by one up to 4th place. I felt like I was gaining on the 3 guys ahead of me but ran out of road to the finish line.
On the podium were Daniel Holloway 1st (VMG), Devon Vigus 2nd (Cal Giant), Jamiel Danesh 3rd (Sierra Nevada), Me 4th, and a Lombardi rider 5th.
I was super excited about my finish and am looking forward to the upcoming races with the guys on the Elite team. I can't wait to support some of the other guys at their designated A-races.
Thanks to Bruce for coming out and being director for the day.
Thanks for readingJames