Race Report

June 4, 2012

Mississippi Mills Stage Race – Adam Poll wins E3 Category!

Mississippi Mills Stage Race

Please see this link for some cool pics of the Crit stage: http://www.pbase.com/robert_ottawa/almontecrit2012

Clayton Time Trial 

Saturday morning the alarm went off at 5:40 am and I started making preparations for the individual Time Trial. We checked in at the Clayton Community center at around 7:30 am and were handed our fresh, shiny, new Elite 3 Licenses. I was a bit nervous about how I would compare to this much larger more experienced field, I was confident in my abilities against the Elite 4’s but this was a new challenge. I got in about a twenty minute warm-up and arrived at the bike check and start ramp about 15 minutes before the start. My bike went though the check out no problem and they didn’t even give me any problems about my tall guy aero bar length exemption! The course according to the technical guide was 18 km long out and back with a steady climb heading out with a gradual downhill to the line on the return. Unfortunately they had the elevation profile for the stage backwards and it was missing a lot of detail. Gealen left the start ramp two minutes ahead of me followed by Tom one minute later with a rider in between each of them and me. My Goal was to cross the finish line as close to Gaelen as possible. As I started my effort, it was hard to ignore the fact that I was flying down some significant hills and seeing riders really struggling as they came to the end of their rides. No worries, I was in my aero tuck sporting a fancy aero helmet (thanks Alain!) and closing in on my 30 second man quickly. I blew by him and Tom followed a little while later as he was getting his first experience with TT fun. As I went by he gave me some words of encouragement. As I arrived at the turn around I was just off the guy who started 1:30 ahead of me. I was glad to see this as he was on a TT bike, just after the turn around I passed him and set my sights on pulling Gaelen in. From 9 km to go until 3 km to go everything went well and I was about 15 seconds off of catching Gaelen (note: Tom and him were using this as a bit of a warm-up for the weekend). Just after the three to go sign the road started heading back up the hills that I had flown down at the start. The first grade was actually steep for what was supposed to be a flat TT. I was dropping down through my gears and trying to maintain my aero profile when I dropped my chain! luckily I was able to un jam it and get it back on with out stopping but precious time had been lost. The last 3 km were a big struggle as I watched Gaelen pull 15 seconds back up the hills. I crossed the line not know how I had done but felt like I could have had a better finish.

We headed out from Clayton over to Almonte where the Criterium would take place to grab some breakfast and wait for the results at the Arena. After some food, walking a lap of the crit course a good hour knap the results were finally avalable. I scanned the list looking of my name and gee whiz, sixth place overall (out of 66) and first of the Elite 3’s! I was beat by four very strong juniors and one Master rider but mission accomplished. I knew that the rest of the weekend would be a challenge as there were three more E3 riders six, seven and eight seconds back from my time.

Almonte Criterium

Almonte is a picturesque town along the Mississippi River and features a very pretty water fall right down the middle of the town. After walking the course I was worried one of us would end up in that river going over the falls! The course had eight corners and all of them featured poor road surfaces, slick manhole covers, bumps and patch work. It had also been raining on and off all day so there was also a lot of standing water, especially in the 110 degree corner half way around the lap. The last half of the lap had us flying down a hill, turning right through a parking lot that had some of the pavement removed and replaced with gravel, some big bumps and then up and over the sidewalk and out onto mill street and back up the hill to the finish line at the top in the center of their town.

With my placement after the TT I knew I would need to start and do my best to stay near the front and hold on throughout the race no matter how crazy the pace was. The organizers were running behind and decided to make some scheduling changes and after relaxing throughout the afternoon we realized about fifteen minutes before our race that we were up next. Luckily we rolled up to the line just after most of the field took off to do a warm-up lap before the race and positioned ourselves close to the front. The whistle sounded and we were sent on our way. Right  away the Juniors put there head down and tore off stringing out the entire field of 66. If there goal was to eliminate half of the field from factoring into the rest of the race then they succeeded. I did my best best to hold in the first to laps and dug deep just to hold wheels throughout the corners and up the hills. As we started the second lap I was worried that I had been isolated form my teammates but then my knight in shiny green armor on his red stallion rode by and headed towards the front. The pace settled down and everyone got used to the technical course. I was happy to see no Euro-sports jerseys in the lead group with us (second and third in GC) but Alexandre Michel (8 seconds back in GC, Tall Trees Cycles) was at the front and was one of the strongest guys in the group. Every five laps there were Primes (money prizes) as well as sprint points for the sprinters Jersey. Alexandre was making it his mission to get as many of these as possible and I knew it was my job to stay with the group and catch back on after each sprint. Gaelen made this a lot easier for me as he stayed on the front and helped control the pace while I moved back up. He also covered any attacks that Alexandre put in. Finally making it onto the last lap I had stay near the front and make sure I was up near the front as time gaps could open up during the finishing sprint up the final hill. As we made our way throught the backhalf of the course an attack went by a solo rider coming into the 110 degree wet slick corner. Unfortunatly for him, he ended his chance of success on someone’s front lawn after he slid out. Alexandre and Gealen negotiated the corner well but the two riders in front of me decided to join the first and slide out right in front of me. I had to jump on my brakes and felt my rear tire moving around under me. I watched as the guy on the ground and his bike slid out of my way and jumped out of the saddle to close down the gap on the three riders in front. Gaelen sat up up and yelled “Adam, you’ve got to Hustle” I already was! I got on his wheel and he lead me down the final hill and throught the parking lot at break neck speed. We caught back on right at the base and the sprint was on. Adam Kopera crossed the line followed by Alexandre, Gaelen and Me, no time lost, eight seconds still intact! I can’t stress how selflessly Gealen rode this race for me, he had the legs to take every Intermediate sprint and win the finish on that course but sacrificed that all for me.

Pakenham Circuit Race

Sunday morning we woke up to fading blue skies and a chance of showers later on. Tom took off to pick Gaelen up and I headed off on my own to the small town of Pakenham also located along the banks of the Mississippi River. Our race was going to be two laps of a 42 km course so I wanted to get a healthy, nutritious breakfast in me. $2.92 and I was out the door of a McDonalds with a whole wheat BLT bagel and blue berry muffin. I arrived at the local arena right behind Tom and Gaelen and started preparing by getting my numbers pinned, eating a bit more and warming up for fifteen minutes.

Our race started with a 1 km neutral start through the start/finish and we were off. Gaelen moved to the front of the group at the first opportunity and didn’t leave there until the end. Our pack still had 66 riders in it and it made it tough to move around in the group unless you were a Junior that liked to attack in the oncoming lane of traffic. We were warned once about the yellow line rule but that was it and and people moved up the group the rest of the day on the wrong side of the road. The first half of the first lap had the Juniors doing the attacking and various riders including Gaelen pulling them back when the timing was right. On the back half of the lap there was a 5 km section of low rolling hills and gradual bends on a section of Gravel road. I love riding the gravel on my road bike and took this opportunity to move up to the front with Gaelen while the other riders slid around uncomfortably. The second half of that lap was highlighted again by Alexandre putting in Attack after Attack and Gaelen pulling him back to the group. Coming back into town, we rolled down a hill and around a tight, bumpy right hand corner about 400 m out form the finish. The sprinters went for the intermediate sprint and I just chased back on when they were done with the craziness. The second lap was very similar to the first but it was raining (velominati rule #9). After navigating the gravel section successfully I was back to the front of the group and stayed up there until about the last five km. Gaelen was still working on the front and starting to pull the field along. I was sitting back ten riders in the pack just laughing as he put his head down into the wind and pulled it along at 44 km/h. At this point after attacking the group all day Alexandre faded back in the group as Gaelen kept up the pressure. I was feeling good about my GC as we arrived in town. Gaelen and I just took it nice and easy through the final corner and then got out of the saddle and put in a little finishing sprint to remain in the group and get the same finishing times as everyone else rolling over the line together in thirty fourth and fifth.

So at the end of it all, I was still in Sixth place overall in our group and First in the Elite 3 category on our first time out by eight seconds. I can’t thank Tom and Gaelen enough for coming a long to support me this weekend. I know Tom would have liked to have factored in more throughout the races but I hope he gained valuable racing experience throughout. I’m really looking forward to repaying there work in the coming races as we continue throughout the season. I wasn’t the strongest rider, but I had the strongest team and we raced smart the whole time keeping our noses clean and only working when we needed to. Thanks also for all of the Tweets and Emails of encouragement throughout the races, Our success is built on the strength of our club as a whole.

 

Adam Poll

 



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3 Comments


  1. steveshikaze

    Well done Adam, Gaelen and Tom. Orange looks good on you A!


  2. Tom Cauduro

    Adam “The Sail” Poll transforms into Adam “The Bullet” Poll after this past weekend’s time trial!


  3. Morten

    Congratulations on your move up to E3, and what an entrance! Good Job Guys, and excellent writeup. Grandchildren-story material here.



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