What's Cool In Road Cycling

Personal Roubaix: Finchford Iowa

Gosh, it’s just great to see so many smiling faces out this year supporting all the local club versions of Paris- Roubaix! Here’s a good one from Marc Hollander in Desmoines Iowa, where he raced the “Finchford- Roubaix” spring classic – under unseasonably balmy 75 degree skies!

Finchford Roubaix, Iowa

Pounding out the miles on the Kreitler Killer Headwinds, I watched the spring classics, over and over, through the winter. Seeing the three Euro-stud teammates attack and counter attack the poor hanger-on who wasn’t wearing the same jersey seemed like perfect team strategy to ensure a three-up team finish. Mmm… would be real fun to try out some

Spring racing in Iowa – the race got called on Sunday (Apr. 6) due to snow…

We had already sent Justin Hyde and Lane Anderson up the road in the initial five-man break on the third lap of the day. Chad Vandelune, Eric Lambi, Scott Wall and myself were close to the front, so we could shut down any attempts to chase.

After seeing them safely off the front and Jim Cochran & Nathan Birru (MRT) went up the road. They held out in no-man’s-land about 400 meters out. Eric was worried about them, but I figured it wasn’t a biggie – it was Mercy’s break to chase. (Note to self: Stupid me, there were only two Mercy Cat3’s in the race and the Masters sure weren’t going to chase.)

With six to go Chad flatted and fell back, saying ‘have a nice day’, so I attacked into the crosswind section – riding alone for half a lap. When the pack caught up to me, Scott Wall attacked with five Mercy/Cannondale masters just sitting on him like a lead weight. I
countered Scott up the hill, and took one of the Mercy masters with me.

Now, tactically, that wasn’t very smart, to leave Scott isolated with the Mercy guys, however, he’s a big boy and could handle himself just fine. (Luckily, the wheel truck was right behind us and Chad got the hook up, and returned, hoping to help Scott.)

Eric Lambi, Nick Bishop (MRT) and another guy from MN came up the road to join us, and we were off! We opened quite a gap, distancing ourselves from the main group, trying to take time out of the Cochran/Birru
bridge, but not doing too great of a job of it. We were leery of taking Nick with us, since he wouldn’t work with Nate up the road, but we needed the training miles and it still would be two on two if we caught them.

With four laps left, Lane rejoined us due to a flat tire (and the wheel truck following the CHASE GROUP, not the LEADERS), so we picked up the pace, dropping our other hanger-on, leaving it three DMOS/MS vs one
Mercy master & one Nick Bishop from MRT.

We eased up with three to go and started working together more as we realized we weren’t going to close the gap on the bridge, holding steady at 2min up the road.

Coming into the final climb, I decided to try the ‘classic crunch’. I attacked, fully expecting Nick to chase. I figured either I’d stay away or Lane & Eric would sit on Nick, we’d regroup, and we’d counter again.

Oops. Didn’t ask Lane and Eric if it was a good idea. Lane was cramping and riding Shawn Baker’s rear wheel with only sixty pounds of air, and Eric was cooked as he raced two crits in Kansas the day before.

Nick closed the gap to ten meters, so I sat up and swung in behind him. Now we were up the road now with a 200 meter gap on Lane. Real smart.

So I attacked again. Same result.

And again. Same result. Now with a 400 meter gap on Lane.

Well, Nick & I decided to ride in together and chat out the race just get it over with. We had slowed down considerably and with 200 meters left, we shook hands, wished each other luck & sprinted into the finish
line with the best sprint we could muster. Nick took the final paying spot with a fine effort in his junior gears, too.

Regrouping with the rest of the team afterwards, we learned that Justin went off the front with Eric Nonneke (ISU) and got second in the sprint finish. And then I caught hell for losing the sprint – Lane had that one
called the moment I had attacked. (Note to self: Always consult with teammates about strategy. Mental telepathy doesn’t always work.)

Anyhoo, again a great race – My goal for the weekend was working to ensure a team victory – we came pretty close. I was a little worried about overtraining last week – over sixteen hours and nearly three hundred miles. I guess my plan worked, because I had the strength, power, recovery and better climbing legs than the last two races.

Again, it is AWESOME to have such a strong team to race with, and we’rebetter for getting the kinks out before Iowa City weekend.

Team: Des Moines Orthopaedic Surgeons/Mortgage Solutions Bike Race Team

Justin Hyde: 2nd
Marc Hollander: 7th
Lane Anderson: 8th
Eric Lambi: 9th
Chad Vandelune: 10th

Note to readers: If you want to give us race radios to ensure better communication in future races, they would be greatly appreciated 😉

Thanks for reading!

Marc Hollander
Desmoines Iowa

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