What's Cool In Road Cycling

Homeboy: Breakaways and Bickering

So this past week I found myself in another breakaway. The scene was a Saturday Espoir Kermese just north of Europe’s Northern Venice, Brugge. The 80 some odd rider field was full of some of the strongest riders West-Flanders had to offer including two of the Quick-Step Espior Riders from the Division III team.

The race started out with its usual attacks from the gun and counters from the field. After two laps of fifteen there were 8 guys up the road, none of which were from the ABC-Aitos squad. I could only sit back and wait for the moment when the next counter break goes. In the past it was a little harder to sense this, but my skills are getting much better in reading a European race.

The most common sign of a split in the field is when you start to feel you heart beating through your chest and the lactate acid build up accumulating at an exponential rate in your legs. If the pace is this hard, it will be even harder for the guys behind you with the recoil effect of the field. At some point the whip will crack a rider and the split happens. Other splits will happen before this, but when this group goes, the field behind is already hurting, so chasing is even harder.

8 laps and over 55 kilometers to go I find myself in the company of 8 Belgians and one South African with a good gap on the field. The usual protocol when you are the second break is to chase like hell till you reach the front group, then the cat and mouse games to conserve that extra bit of energy happen. In spite of having a group of strong men, we were a weak break. The ability to work together for more than 3 minutes never happened.

We spent almost all of the 8 laps, going like hell, coming within spitting distance of the front, then stopped working. I guess I am partly to blame, but then again I’m not one to be taken advantage of. You see there is this little tactic when the pace lines is rotating you just don’t pull through, yell some, and have the guy in front of you rotate in your place. Most of the time an ambitious foreigner or newbie to the field will pull till their death while helping the other guys. Well this was happing to me about two or three times in the start of the break. I didn’t mind the first times as I wanted to have the break catch the front, but after the third time I just sat up and yelled “We all work or we all go back!”.

I wasn’t the only one that they were trying to work over, but I sure seemed to get yelled at a lot. In the end we destroyed the breakaway into little groups of two to three guys trying to chase down 5 meter gaps between each other all while unable to gain a meter. A good and hard day of racing, but far from the success I had hoped for.

A couple of weeks ago I made a break that was a smooth as glass, this week the group worked together like a Palestinian -Israeli conference. The dice rolled snake eyes this week for me, that is racing. Luckily for me there are plenty of races left this summer and fall.

Till next week,

-Gregg Germer-

Gregg’s Links:
Team Site: www.cyclingcenter.com
Personal Site: CyclingLinks.com
Shopping: Pricepoint.com

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