Monday, March 3, 2008

Cherry Pie Race Reports

Stanley Goto
1st Place, Junior 10-12 years old
All winter I was waiting for the Cherry Pie Criterium to come along and I was very confident going in to it because I was training more seriously than before. The day before the race the Warriors were playing an exciting basketball game on TV but I had to get to bed early so I could be well rested before Cherry. This year I got to the race an hour early (last year I got to the race just 15 minutes before the start.) When I was warming up on my trainer I felt great.

The first lap everyone was just taking it easy. The next lap Marcus and Chris made a half attack to the top of the hill but nothing to drop anyone. A couple laps later I was still with the lead group then Alexander made an attack on the descent and I was able to hang on. The field of about 30 was down to 15 in the lead pack. On the next lap I was going down the hill in third position. Joey and Alexander were ahead of me. On the flats Alexander attacked. Joey and I were clawing to get back to the group. When we crested the hill we were at the back of a small group. Joey and I worked together and barely got back on. (Without his help I might not have caught the leaders so I owe him one) On the bell lap I was getting in good position for the final turn. Coming out of that turn I saw my rival Dillon Drummond fall back. He dropped his chain. After that I was almost certain I would win the 10-12's as we were the only 12s left in with the 13-14s but I was still going to fight for a good overall spot. I did OK in the sprint, finishing about in the middle of the pack. I was happy with that because last year I didn’t out sprint anybody.

After this race it gave me confidence to go to Snelling because I knew I wouldn’t get trashed by the 13-14's. The win was great (also the pie) but I didn’t beat my rival straight up so it felt unsatisfying. I’ll meet him again at Snelling. After my race I cheered on Tyler, Ryan, Ethan and the rest of my big brother teammates in the 15-18 and cat3 races. It made me feel great to be on such an awesome team.

Tyler Brandt
4th Place Junior 17-18 year old
The first race of the season, there is always so much anticipation. Having trained hard throughout the winter months and the countless hours spent trudging through wind and rain seem to culminate into one afternoon, one test. Or rather for the juniors it is always a brisk morning of expectation. Of course there is a whole year of racing to follow, but it seems that the first race of the season sets some sort of tone. Every ‘big name rider’ from the juniors tends to show up to the first big race and it is some sort of trial. We all see each other and wonder who has really gone out and rode their bikes day in and day out from November until now. The butterflies build on the starting line and it seems that we stand there for an eternity. Then bang, another season begins, the butterflies are gone and once again were on the road. I love that aching in my legs and the loss of breath, the crashes, the attacks and the final sprint. There is no other sport that can compare to a bicycle race.

My season began at Cherry Pie Criterium in Napa. My race started at a cruel 8:30 in the morning, but that is just the way it is for the juniors races. It was exciting to see so many riders from Team Swift at the race and it was great to get everyone together to warm up and get ready for the race. I got to the starting line ready to go and then we were off. I was first through the first corner and ready to pound up the tempo. The first few laps of the race were an absolute blast. Ethan, Ryan and I tore it up on the front and had some fun attacking and countering. It was then about time to settle down and get ready for the real moves to go. Prime lap, Ethan attacked at the bottom of the hill, he looked good. I sat and watched the sprint for the prime and then bang that was the break. Immediately I was chasing it down. I should have gotten into it instead of watching them go. My mistake. The next few laps were a strong chase. Not many teams felt like working though. Swift on the front not wanting to let the race go. Then they were gone. It was a sprint for 4th. Ethan started the final lap on the front in an attempt to lead out Ryan for the win in the 15-16. Not all worked to plan, but it was a fun race. I sprinted hard at the end, but was dissatisfied to get beat by some 15-16’s in the sprint.

I feel like as a whole Swift rode very strong. We passed the test and everyone rode very well. Some tactical mishaps led to a no win outing, but that can be fixed. It was great to see that we were all on form. The first few laps of the race I could see that we are going to have an exciting year.

Tyler Brandt
4th Place, Elite 3
The second race of the year. The sun came out. It was the beginning of a magnificent day. We hit the line with a good warm up in the legs after a hard junior’s race. Once again I was first off the line, but I sat up a little so that I would not have to pull. I jumped in about 5th wheel. My own little sweet spot. The race was mostly a blur for the greater part of it. As the laps began to count down I got into good position for a prime. A few other AMD juniors set out a great lead out for the prime and I sat on and Ryan and I sprinted in for the prime, which I won over my teammate with a bike throw. Once again I found my sweet spot and just settled in for the race. It was not much of a blistering pace, but the hill hurt. I did not remember it being such a big hill. It can wear you down. The last few laps there were some crashes on the backside. That got the adrenaline going. There’s nothing like the chance of hit the floor any moment. For me the key is knowing that you’re not going to be the one that goes down. No matter what happens, I am going to stay upright is how I like to think. I know that is not always the case as I have in fact crashed before, but I feel that being strong mentally through the nail biting parts of races is the means by which you can stay upright.

So I made it through the last few laps and I got pushed back a ways with 2 to go. I began to make my way back up to the front and I was into good position as we hit the hill for the final time. Of course we were spread across the entirety of the road so it was difficult to move through, but I managed to squeeze through the field. I like going through the middle of the field, it seems to save a lot of the energy wasted that involves going out on the outside and fighting the wind. I was there for the sprint and I gave it a good kick. I felt good and I think that if I could have found some more room then I could have pulled it off, but alas I did not. I almost got into 3rd and earned a pie, but another 4th was the final answer. Two races, 0 pies. 1 place higher in each and I would have gotten one. I guess if I don’t eat too much pie then I won’t get that unwanted weight, so the less pie the better I suppose. I felt good though and it was exciting to see that I still matched up with everyone and all of the work that I put in during the winter was successful. Now I need to improve my tactics and get that badly needed/wanted win. I am done with the top 5’s and as in the words of Ricky Bobby “If your not first, your last” and then there are the words of Vince Lombardi; “If you lose, your out of the family” So it is time to get that win!

Zach Sargent,
Junior 15-16
The race started off on a short downhill. I got bad positioning and was placed near the back. The first half-mile was fast and the pack was dropping people off the back left and right. I ended up in a chase pack with about 15 others including one of our teammates (Nick). Most of the time we just sat in awhile a few Davis riders pulled us. Nobody was working together so the pack would split up then regroup. As more riders where dropped off of the main pack, they joined up with us building our chase pack up to about 25-27 riders. My teammates John and Nick took over the front and launched a small attack. I put on an attack myself to catch them and help them work for a sprint. By this time we were on about 3 laps to go. I caught John and Nick and lead them for about half a lap just enough to get Nick into the front of our pack for a 2nd place finish. I ended up 28 overall in the entire field including the 17-18 juniors. For my first race of the season and recovering from a cold I was pleased with my results

Thanks! I had so much fun. It was great having two other of my good Swift friends in my pack. I was able to help them out for the sprint.

Joey Nygaard
9th place, Junior 13-14
Early in the morning we drove to the 1st big race of the year to find already a big line at the registration booth. The race started fast and I got a terrible start but managed to make it up to the front of the group. After the first climb I decided I wasn’t feeling my best but decided to make the best out of it by helping my teammate Stanley who was looking great on every climb. With two laps to go I was second over the top of the climb with Stanley on my wheel. But on the back side of the course Alexander Freund attacked and I almost got dropped (which shows you how bad I was feeling). After that I just tried to hang in there till the finish. Just BEFORE the climb I got dropped and had to struggle across the line to slot in at 9th.The best part of the day was that Stanley won his race!!!! Great job Stanley!

John Piasta
Juniors 15-16
The day of my first race started out very stressfully. I walked into the kitchen and my parents were not there, they lost track of time and thought the race was thirty minutes later. They quickly got ready and we packed the car. My cousin drove me and helped me relax, but I still could not keep my eyes off the clock, watching if we would make it on time. Luckily, we made it right on time and I was excited.

got a great warm up in with Ryan, Tyler, Nick and Ethan. As I got to the start line the nerves started kicking in. Since it was my first race I did not know how races started. Before I knew it the whistle blew and everyone exploded. Wow, I was not prepared for a start that fast. So my reactions took over and I sprinted, however I knew it would not be easy because I was told how important it was to get to the front. Well I worked with what I got, and sat in. After the first couple of laps the riders ahead of me started breaking away from the pack and slowly the gap was growing. I was annoyed and decided to sprint and try to get back into the pack, so I pulled for about a lap and then the people behind me started falling back and before I knew the pack of near ten to fifteen riders slimmed out to three. Then my legs started to burn and I could not go much faster.

After realizing that I was not going to catch the main group, I sat in. Before I knew it Nick flew by me, I grabbed his wheel, and we worked together the next couple of laps and then I had crossed the finish line. My first race was a great learning experience. I learned how races work and what to do better next time. I appreciate all the help that my teammates gave me and I cannot wait to race again.

Ryan Eastman
Juniors 15-16
First race of the season, finally hear. Winter training was long and I am glad it is now finally time to race. Ethan and I got to the race around seven to get registered and warmed up. It was awesome when we were warming up doing our pyramids there was a pretty big sized group of swifties, it was nice to see that a lot of the team came out on this beautiful day. We stripped our leg warmers and headed to the start line. It was a considerable large size field for the juniors. The whistle blew and Tyler and I kicked it off with an easy sprint to the front of the group. In front where I like to be, perfect. Tyler Ethan and I started off the race controlling it completely, with a few accelerations here and there. It felt awesome to be out front felling strong controlling the race to start. This went on for a while until a prime lap came up and there was an attack on the hill and the field stretched and a group of about three got away. They were all 17-18's. The race continued on with a nice hard pace. Three laps to go now and I started to visualize the finish a bit in the back of my mind. I sat in a little more now maybe a little too much; the bell lap came around now. Through the final corner I went sitting on Ethan and Tyler’s wheels, we got all mumbo-jumboed up and we were separated. Heading up the final time up this hill I sat back further than I wanted to be, in the sprint I decided that I did not want to get tenth place so I noticed a tight gap between two riders and took it. Flying past them getting as skinny as possible was actually sort of fun. I crossed the line missing out on fifth by half a wheel. Sixth well I guess that is all right, I would have liked to have done better but I am very happy with the way I raced through the whole race. It was an awesome race and now I have to rest up a bit and wait for my second race of the day, the Cat 3s. Congratulations to Stanley Goto for a fantastic win in the Juniors 10-12s. Great Job man.

Ryan Eastman
Cat 3
After a quick Clif Shot it was time now for the Cat 3 race. Headed up to the start and got a sweet spot right in front. As Tyler and I did in the Juniors we were right out front leading through the first corner. My plan for this race was more simple just stay at the front without working too hard. This was easy to do, pull through and let the next guy come around and get back into place. I was feeling very good conserving all of my energy. I really wanted to get going though. There was an attack and he was staying out there for a while I road up to Caption Tyler and asked him if he wanted me to bring him back in. He said not to and conserve my energy. which was a very good thing because when we came to the hill him and a guy chasing him down got caught and got pushed back deeper than I would have wanted to go in the pack. That’s why I love having my older more experienced team mates racing along side me. It was cool we were ripping it up together. There was a prime coming up, and Joel and Edon were coming up along the right side of the field for the sprint, Tyler and I quickly jumped on there wheels and got a slingshot for the line I went first, on the left and then two seconds later Tyler went on the right. I eased up and Tyler won the prime, I did this for a reason so if there were any attacks I could cover them therefore helping out my team mate. The finish seemed to come so fast and Tyler moved up into a good position for the sprint, with me trying to follow. I was a bit further back than him I sprinted by quite a few people with Tyler coming in 4th and myself shortly after in 12th. It was a good day. It was fun coming up that hill and then facing that 180 degree u-turn at the top, still doing 20mph, I think I won the contest of the day for who came around that the lowest!

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