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2011 Oak Ridge Velo Classic - August 6, 7

 

by Srin Gummadi

 

August 10, 2011

 

Oak Ridge Velo Classic is a well run but small race. The Junior 10-14 field consisted of about 10-11 riders. The main competition was Trace Bikes (3 riders) plus one 14 year old from Chattanooga (Chase Martin - Scenic City Velo/Krystal) who only attended the road race.

The road race had two category 5 climbs (per MapMyRide). It is a fast technical course with a number of sweeping high speed turns and included some tough climbs.

With a neutral start, the group rode to the start of the race together. The first categorized climb was immediately at the start of the race. There was a small attack and the everyone accelerated and chased. Group was together except for one lone rider who got dropped. For the next few miles the group went hard but not excessively. They dropped one of Arvin's teammates (another Parker).

Luckily, for the other Parker, a train arrived at a level crossing and he caught up when the pack got stopped. The rest of the group hydrated and then the race restarted after the train passed. At the second climb, Chase Martin attacked, Teja was fourth wheel and quickly bridged up to Chase. Parker and Blake climbed strongly and were soon 3rd and 4th going up the climb and had dropped everyone else. Adi got dropped by Arvin but he was within sight. On the descent, we couldn't see Chase and Teja. Adi bridged up to Arvin and Peter (Arvin's third teammate). With Parker and Blake still visible in the distance, Adi sat on their wheels. Peter attacked on a short climb and got away.

Teja didn't know where the finish line was located and got beat to the regular looking tent with no signage (or cones). Parker and Blake finished strong for third and fourth (I didn't see their finish since we were trailing Arvin and Adi in the car). Adi and Arvin sprinted to a couple of cones. Turned out it was a feed station. Then they sprinted again at the actual finish. Adi finished 6th and Arvin 7th. It was a good race with Frazier Cycling taking 2nd-4th and 6th.

The time trial was listed at 10 miles but ended up being 7.7 miles. It was an out and back course. Chase left for a triathlon back in Chattanooga so it was Frazier Cycling versus Trace Bikes with a couple of others in the mix. Not much to report except that Adi almost caught Arvin on the way back after starting one minute back and Adi had almost missed his start time due to an upset stomach (!). Teja was first, Adi 2nd, Parker 4th, and Blake 6th. Arvin made the podium in 3rd and his teammate Peter was 5th. Positions 3-6 were all within one minute.

The final race was the following morning in historic downtown Oak Ridge. Prior to the race, the Omnium had Teja in 1st, Parker in 2nd, Adi in 3rd, and Blake tied for 4th with Arvin and Peter. The goal of the race was to get Blake to finish ahead of Arvin and Peter so that Frazier Cycling swept the first four positions in the Omnium.

The strategy was for Teja to protect Blake and use Parker and Adi to attack and tire out the competition. Right from the gun, Adi and Parker took off. Arvin was heard to say something like "Oh no". Arvin's teammate Parker chased them down near the end of the first lap. On the second lap, the seven of them rode around easily and allowed Parker (Trace Bikes) to take the tire prime. On the next lap, Frazier Cycling's Parker attacked hard on the backside and Trace Bikes' Peter chased him down with rest of the pack in tow (Parker and Peter got a prime each). By now, there was only the four Frazier Cycling and two Trace Bikes (Arvin and Peter) left in the lead pack.

When Peter (Trace Bikes) caught Parker (Frazier), Arvin decided to attack almost immediately. Peter was dropped as all four of the Frazier riders caught Arvin. Now, it was up to the four to ensure that Arvin didn't finish ahead of Blake. Arvin had helped them by attacking and dropping his last teammate before he could recover.

Teja went to the front and kept the pace high with Parker and Blake in tow. Adi snuck in between Blake and Arvin. At an opportune moment, Adi started soft pedaling and created a gap. Arvin was forced to accelerate to catch Blake's wheel again. Adi did it a second time and Arvin couldn't catch up. On the last hill, there was already a significant gap between the Teja/Parker/Blake and Arvin. The three crossed the line before Arvin and Adi came around the last turn. Adi accelerated away to get fourth place for a successful sweep of the first four positions in the criterium and Omnium.

The two keys were Parker's powerful (and timely) attack which forced Trace Bikes to chase hard and the ability of the team to protect Blake from expending too much energy by attacking or chasing attacks.

I heard at Georgia Cycling Gran Prix that it would be difficult for us to beat Anthony with Blake (I rate Arvin near Anthony in the 11 year olds). Clearly, we can, if the racers follow the plan as these four did this past Sunday. They didn't chase their teammates, didn't attack pointlessly, and rode smartly and efficiently. They controlled the race as a team. Having Teja in the race helped greatly but his job could have been done by using a couple of other riders taking turns at the front over the last two laps.

This is a good Omnium for the younger juniors to attend. It is well organized, properly marshaled, and challenging. The competition was not skilled enough to challenge Teja's fitness (except the one racer who rode one race and left) but it is plenty of competition for the next tier of racers in Frazier Cycling (Adi, Parker, Blake, Toby, Kate, ....). With Coach Duco growing the Trace Bikes team, next year will be interesting. The results were quickly provided but there was no podium ceremony for any of the races that we saw. The kids just went to the organizer and said which medals they were supposed to receive.