Roubaix’s ruthless dirt is no match for Team Rockford!Apr 10 2015 · 0 comments · Race Updates ·2
Team Rockford brought a strong crew of seven to the Rocky Mountain Roubaix. Alan and I were in the 1,2,3 field, Jeff Rasch raced Masters 40+, Matt and Scott were in the Cat 4 race, Pete Krebs raced Cat 5 and Rory Rasch represented in the juniors field.
Alan and I were in the first group to head out. After driving through snow on the way over and observing the brewing storm clouds we were prepared for some classic Montana spring weather. With the appearance of Cannondale pro Sam Schultz, the rest of the field knew it would be a fast and furious day of racing. With the help of Landen Beckner, Sam drilled the pace on the first dirt section, and then set a steady tempo out the frontage road en route to the circuit. Once we hit dirt again the lactic acid levels soared as most of the field (myself included) found ourselves burning matches just to stay in contact.
This was my first race as a Cat 3, and I was pleased at my ability to hold a position in the bunch and move up as needed, especially since the racing was a lot more aggressive and physical than I’d ever experienced in a road race as a Cat 4 My legs had been a little slower to respond than usual, but they started to come alive as we approached the beginning of the first of four laps around the circuit. At this point Shaun Radley pulled up next to me to compliment me on how well I was able to hold my position in the field. The words were barely out of his mouth when the sidewall of my front tire ripped and within two seconds I found myself rolling down a steep dirt descent with nothing but a flat tire glued to my rim. I wobbled to a halt and waited for the wheel car. However, a driver error in the car resulted in me not getting a wheel until an entire lap later, at which point I knew my race was over.
Behind me, Alan had met a similar fate. A rider in front of him also suffered a puncture on the ever-ruthless dirt, and the resulting wobbles caused him to collide with Alan, who went cartwheeling into the ditch. Luckily Alan’s body and bike were relatively unharmed, and he resumed chasing, moving up through the back of the field to eventually making his way into the front chase group behind Sam Schultz, who apparently had attacked solo based on the knowledge that his threshold wattage was higher than the rest of the field combined. Alan’s group exploded on the final short climb before the finish, and everyone rode in in ones or twos. Alan ended up fourth, very impressive considering he had been picking dirt out of his helmet eight miles into the race.
Never one to be outdone, Jeff Rasch staged an even more spectacular comeback. Knowing he was the man to beat in the 40+ field, Jeff rode aggressively over the first climb and led the field down the subsequent descent. All systems were go until Jeff’s rear tire blew. After getting a new wheel, Jeff called upon his younger years spent racing in Belgium and unleashed a brilliant time trial effort, bridging all the way back to the front group. On the way back towards the finish, he attacked and took three other riders with him. Knowing that one of his companions had a wicked sprint, Jeff attacked again on the final dirt section a few miles from the finished, successfully dropping one rider and eliminating the most prominent sprint threat. The result was a group of three contesting the sprint. Jeff played it smart and stayed out of the wind in the final kilometers, opening up his sprint with 200 meters to go and taking victory. Incredible considering his terrible luck early on.
Rory represented Team Rockford well in the junior field, taking home victory as well. Not a bad day for the Rasch family.
Scott, Matt and Pete all rolled out together in the 4/5 field. Scott made the difficult discussion to race Cat 4 instead of Masters, as he was lookingfor some upgrade points to put himself into the Cat 3 field in the future. Scott displayed the same impressive form we’ve seen from him training this spring, and stayed with the front group throughout, eventually finding himself in a two man breakaway on the final run in to the finish. Unfortunately Scott’s sprint wasn’t enough to win, but he still finished a strong second, well over a minute ahead of the next closest rider. One more strong result and Scott will be dishing out the pain in the Cat 3s! Matt came in a solid third place, resulting in Team Rockford going 2-3 in the Cat 4s. Unfortunately Pete Krebs met the same fate as myself, flatting out of the Cat 5 race.
But as they say, that’s bike racing.