Spring Training in the Rearview: Looking Back As We Look Forward
October 30th, 2015 by Team OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors
By Richard Landgraff, Team OAM Now Cyclist
When I look back at the season, a successful one with amazing team work, it’s easy to see that those early races, like the one I describe below, are vital to our performance later in season. Not only do early events give us good insight into where we stand in the field, but they also give us strategy ideas and motivation. Earlier this spring, I wrote about the Men’s 1/2/3 A Race for the final Waterford Spring Training circuit race. The 60+ field was met with 15-20 mph wind early on, which strung out the field from the very start of the 90 minute event when TEAM OAM NOW’s Dan Yankus attacked from the gun. The rest of the race, in hindsight, captures a lot of how the season went for us, and so it’s great that we have this detail to look back on as it helps us determine how these early races foreshadow our season performance.
Early on, Dan was able to get a significant gap on the field with another rider and put the team in a good position out of the wind for the first 20 minutes of racing. As the field slowly reeled in the pair, Dan’s 5 teammates were vigilant at the front of the field, covering the flurry of attacks trying to bridge to the group. The duo was ultimately caught which initiated various surges by other riders including several by TEAM OAM NOW’s Alex Vanias and Colin Snyder.
At about the one hour mark, it looked like a promising move by about a dozen riders would have the ability to stay away, as the majority of the teams were represented including Cory Stange and Peter Ehman from TEAM OAM NOW as well as several riders from the two Canadian teams present in the field. Ultimately, however, as the group grew after several riders bridged up, it became too large and was quickly absorbed by the fast moving peloton.
And then when it was least expected, sometime shortly after a prime lap, Alex Vanias rolled off the front and immediately created a gap from the field. Sensing that this may be a race winning move, Rudy Peterson (Northstar Mentors) bridged up to Alex and they started to put some significant time on the main pack despite the gusty headwinds encountered on the run in before the hill and on the back stretch before the finish.
TEAM OAM NOW was vigilant on the front, following wheels and covering attacks in order to preserve the two man breakaway. With about 20:00 left to race, an attack by two Canadian riders was covered by TEAM OAM NOW’s Masters rider Richard Landgraff and the move quickly gained about 20 seconds on the field. The Canadian mates were riding strong, with no assistance from Landgraff who was basically along for the ride, and eventually began to put some time into the Vanias/Peterson breakaway. A third chase group was also lead by Dan Yankus and several other riders which was sure to make an interesting finish.
In the end, however, only the two lead breaks stayed away independent from one another and Peterson won the dramatic sprint over Vanias, with Landgraff coming in 5th behind the two Canadian riders. In typical fashion, sprinter Cory Stange was leading the hard charging peloton toward the line and won the field sprint for 6th.
All in all, it was a pretty good showing. The rest of the season turned out great. Dan continued to burst out of the gate, Corey continued to win field sprints, Alex continued to create and maintain gaps in the field, and we showed, as we normally do, amazing teamwork that allows us to win podiums. As we prepare for winter training, it’s great to look back so we can prepare for those early spring races. We know what to work on. We learn how to outperform ourselves. As we look at the close of racing season, it’s just as important to look back as it is to look forward.
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