Wednesday, June 25, 2008

LaGrange, GA - Georgia Cup

Karel Sumbal and Ryan Saylor of Lindner Capital headed up to LaGrange, GA for a Georgia Cup stage race consisting of a time trial, Georgia’s state championship crit, and a road race plus a special bonus crit with a win-and-out format.

Unfortunately, the LaGrange race was competing with better paying races in Tennessee. That, combined with summer heat stifling many racers motivation to race, led to a miserable turn out. Six Pro/1/2 racers turned out for the 1.6 mile time trial. Pro-racer Oscar Hanao (Clinica Union) edged out Gainesville, Florida’s Gary Yates (Naples Cyclery) by three tenths of a second for the win while another Gainesville rider, Brett Miller (Naples Cyclery) took third. Karel took 5th place while Ryan would have earned the lantern rouge position overall had the stage race not been cancelled due to lack of participation.

Next up was the Georgia State Championship Criterium. Bolstered by some masters entrants, the criterium hosted around twenty racers. Henao again demonstrated his dominance and broke away by himself to lap the field by the end of the race. Many attacks flew during the race, but nothing would stick (except Henao). Karel sprinted very well and just missed the podium to take 4th place while Ryan was determined to maintain his theoretical lantern rouge position.

The unusual format of win-and-out was next on the menu. In this race, racers raced the first five laps as they would any other criterium. Then, the winner of every single lap for ten laps won $100 and the race ended on the last $100 sprint—the 15th lap. Once a racer won $100, his race was over. Despite the race being open to categories 1-4, the continued trend of poor participation was again present. With only about 18 riders in the field, over 50% of the entrants were going to leave $100 richer. Fortunately for the Lindner Capital riders, both Karel and Ryan were able to recover some of the weekend’s expenses. Karel again sprinted well for the 4th cash give-away while Ryan attacked the remaining group and rode solo for half a lap to take the next-to-last $100.

The final race was the road race. The race was supposed to be a 102 mile endurance marathon. However, only eight “Pro-Am” riders showed up for the last race of the weekend. With so few riders, the promoter combined the Pro/1/2 riders with the masters 30+ field and shortened it to 68 miles (though they would be scored separately). Lindner Capital decided to team up with the Naples Cyclery riders for this race in order to strengthen its ranks by numbers. The race saw many attacks by Lindner Capital and Naples Cyclery, but the Clinica Union riders chased them all down. In the end, Karel unleashed his powerful sprint and could only be bested by Henao giving Sumbal his first Pro/1/2 podium finish. Temporary teammates Yates and Miller finished 3rd and 5th respectively to add to the team’s spoils.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Florida State RR Championships

This past weekend was the Florida State Road Race Championship weekend. Saturday was the state championships for each age category, and Sunday was for your actual USCF racing category.

On Saturday Ryan, Jeff, Curtis, Karel, and Victor raced in the 30-44 age category (later split out in 5 year increments). Curtis spent the majority of the day in a break which would be caught near the end (a theme for Curtis this weekend)...but, still managed to take 3rd place in the 35-39 category. Karel was 9th in the 30-34.

Sunday Ryan, Jeff, Curtis, Karel, Victor, Clint, and myself represented Lindner Capital in the Pro 1,2 race. There were full squads from Toshiba-Santos, Preferred Alliance, Herbalife and various other regional teams. The course was a 5 mile loop with a couple short steep hills...and a bunch of heat! The race started quickly and we all took turns covering different moves. Drifting back from covering an early break, I see a few guys go up the road with Curtis latched on. This is somewhere around 10 miles into the race.

This break would remain in the lead until about 15 miles to go. Curtis and a Team 19 rider were doing 50-75% of the work, while 4 riders from the three big teams in the race sat on and wouldn't pull...and then try to attack. It's amazing how racing has changed over the past 10 years in Florida. With an influx of foreign riders and their negative riding tactics, the entire dynamic of racing has changed.

Going into the last lap everyone was back together...and then Joel Chavez and John Durango attacked. The remaining Lindner Capital riders were out of position, and with the "Yellow Line Rule" being strictly enforced, we were left to watch them ride away. Strangely, the huge Herbalife squad didn't make an effort to chase and gave the race away. There was one spot left on the podium up for grabs, and coming down the finishing straight it was curb to curb. With nobody able to take control with a race leadout, it was free form chaos. Jeff, Karel, Victor and myself were lined up together trying not to get run off the right hand side of the road...but trying to squeeze through. It turned into a bit of a mess, but Karel was able to storm to a 10th place, while Jeff cruised home in 15th.

It was a rough day, and hoped for a podium spot...but in cycling, even with the best plan and efforts, you're left with the cards you've been dealt. Although we weren't on the podium, 10th place is a great finish and the entire team worked very well together.

Thanks to Karel's fiance, Marni, and Kevin for staying on the course the whole day and handing up water to a very thirsty crowd.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Georgia Cup, Union City

The Lindner Capital Cycling Team headed up to Union City, GA this pat weekend to once again take part in a Georgia Cup GC Race. We really enjoy doing these races because they require you to be a good all-around rider if you want to win. The race involved a 10 mile TT on rolling hills with a few longer climbs, a Crit, and a 91 mile road race that would serve as the Geargia State Championship. Curtis, Karel and Jeff were the only full time team members that were able to go so we brought along our Junior rider, Cody Vance to give him a taste of some Pro,1,2 action. GA Cup races are Pro,1,2,3, although he would be the ONLY 3 in our field. We also asked a friend of ours, Adam Baskin, who rides for Team 19 to ride for us for the weekend. Marni Rakes, Karels fiance raced in the Lindner Kit in the women's 3,4 race as well.

Time Trial
We all new this would be a really tough TT because of the elevation change over the 10 miles so we drove the course on Friday night and got a little feeling of where to push it and where to recover. Jeff turned the second fastest time of the morning running a 21 flat getting the Lindner boys there first podium of the weekend. Curtis dropped his chain in the first 600m and the race director let him re-start and he finished a very respectable 7th.

Saturday evening it was really hot and the field was really small for the Crit so we knew it would be a tough race. When the field is small and strong you have to react to everything. Basically there is no place to hide. So with that Curtis decided to attck on the second lap and see if he could establish a break and that he did. A few riders bridged up to him, including riders from Myogenesis, Clinica Union, and Hincapie Barkley U23. They break sat at 15 seconds for a few laps and when the Hincapie rider was dropped Curtis and the Myogenesis rider pushed the pace and the break was gone. With Lindner Capital, Myogenesis, and Clinica Union controlling the small field there was no way anyone was going to go across to Curtis. Curtis delivered the second podium of the weekend getting a solid 2nd place finish. Karel came in 7th and Jeff 13th. The young lad, Cody did a good job working on the front as we asked him to do and then dropped out with his full pride intact and our respect.

Road Race
Sunday morning came very quickly with an 8am start and we learned that Curtis was in 1st place overall and Jeff was in 3rd. Two riders sitting atop of the GC was very surprising and we new what that meant in the RR. Everyone would attack us and make us work our butts off to win the GC. As we rolled out we new we were in trouble when we saw how many hills there were on the course. Curtis and Jeff are not very small and gravity tends to work against them in the hills. The team did a lot of work on the front for the first 50 miles just trying to control the pace of the race and discourage attacks but at mile 60 we could no longer hold the field back. A break of 3 got up the road and we held it at 2 minutes or less for the entire race but with the day growing hotter and the hills getting longer Curtis and Jeff knew they were in trouble. Karel, Cody, and Adam were lost a different stages of the race on one climb or another. Curtis and Jeff found themselves in a group of 3 in the last 10 miles and went into survival mode just taking turns with hard pulls to limit the time loss. In the end the two finished two minutes behind the leaders Jeff (13th), Curtis (15th). Overall Curtis finished 9th in the GC and Jeff finished 11th. We were pretty discouraged after the race but we were really happy to get two 2nd place finishes for the weekend. Of note, Karel got lost after he dropped out of the RR and ended up riding 115 miles making it bake to the start finish by way of Pick-up truck!

Thank You,

Jeff Kopp
Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville
9965 San Jose Blvd. #6
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 880-7227

American Bicycle Company
240 S. Third Street
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
(904) 246-4433