Independence Valley Road Race and Piece of Cake

I’m finally back.  Although it’s not Kennettron 5000 right now, more like Kennitta 0.50.  But I’ve got over all my sicknesses and injuries for the entire season.  I’ve decided that I’ll have no more of it!  

IVRR was an epic race, and not to use the term lightly either.  It was by far the worst racing conditions, or best depending on your preferences and % Inuit heritage, I’ve ever seen.  It sat at a nice 33 degrees the entire day and snowed, sleeted, and rained on the quickly thinning field throughout the 80 mile course (mainly snowed).  Two steep little climbs and a strong as hell field helped weed out all but the strongest (myself included).  I got dropped on the last lap on one of the hills and came in 15th I think, with only 18 total finishers out of 50 or 60 starters from what I heard.  It was miserable.  I couldn’t see on the descents because my eyes were cross-eyed from fatigue and snow blindness, my fingers could hardly budge the break levers, and I must have weighed about 40 pounds extra from all the clothes I was wearing that were saturated with slightly above freezing water.  It was awesome.  Probably the coolest race (literally) that I’ve done in a long time.  

I got a ride with Chris and Karey up there to the desolate and barren wilderness of Washington, and we all huddled back in the car after our races and drove home with hot chocolate and the heaters blasting the entire way back to my house.  We ate a big dinner of vegetarian pizza and bbqed chicken made by my mom, then watched some 2004 Giro d Italia before some serious sleeping action.

Waking up the next morning was tough.  I was super tired, and had just been dreaming that I had looked at the clock and had seen that I had hours before I had to get up.  Feeling content and happy, I went back to sleep (still part of my dream). Then my alarm went off and I had to get up (not part of my dream).

But things got better from there.  We were shockingly surprised and happy to see dry pavement outside.  And it stayed that way all day.  Despite my silent wishes for more snow. HA.

Chris and I raced at 10 in the morning with teammates Kenji, Joe (who placed 5th), Brian, and Jim.  As you may know, the Piece of Cake Road Race is entirely flat, hence the name.  It was windy though, and my legs were a bit lagging from yesterday so it wasn’t quite a piece of cake.  More like a piece of pie.  A big thick slab of hot apple pie with figs and a thick crust.  Pretty tasty actually, and filling too.  With plenty of cinnamon on the top.

My back was hurting like a hurt back for the first couple miles, and unfortunately that’s when all the moves of the day got away.  A group of 3-5 and a group of 14?  as I sat back in the pack.  But I got in a good race anyways and started feeling better on lap 2 with the endorphins kicking in.  I attacked and drilled it at the front for two laps straight, causing havoc for the guys at the front of the peloton trying to work in unison.  They were a bunch if whiners if you ask me.  “Get the f– out of the gutter god damn it.” They yelled as I went all out in the cross wind sections in the gravel of the side of the road.  “You trying to bridge up to the break all by yourself?” as I got reeled in from one of my solo moves.  “What the f–.  Stop messing up the pace line!” as I purposefully tried messing up the pace line as I attacked, using the teammate up the road excuse.  I don’t know what their problem was.  If they want to race like the bunch of sad silly sally’s they seem to be, they should think about downgrading to the 5’s.  Anyways,

With a lap to go, I sat in the pack and chased down breaks and such, saving some energy for a good lead out for Kenji.  With a couple kilometers to go, I found him and got him on my wheel.  I moved us up to the front and hammered it with 500 or so meters to go, a bit to early I think.   I should have waited for about 10 more seconds.  I dropped Kenji off with a little over 100 meters to the line, and he took 4th in the pack sprint and 19th overall (some of the break away guys had gotten dropped).  I finished a measly 29th out of only 38 finishers from an original field of 70, but was happy with the race anyways.  It was a great weekend of training and it gave me confidence that my fitness will return shortly.  The power is there, it just needs to be coaxed out a bit.

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20 thoughts on “Independence Valley Road Race and Piece of Cake

  1. name

    “They were a bunch if whiners if you ask me. ”Get the f– out of the gutter god damn it.” They yelled as I went all out in the cross wind sections in the gravel of the side of the road. ”You trying to bridge up to the break all by yourself?” as I got reeled in from one of my solo moves. ”What the f–. Stop messing up the pace line!” as I purposefully tried messing up the pace line as I attacked, using the teammate up the road excuse.”

    Seriously – you race like an idiot. The whiners were right. Your excuse was just that. If you want to get a pro ride, you should work on not just your legs, but your head.

  2. kennettron Post author

    Yeah I guess you’re right. If I really REALLY wanted to win 16th place, maybe I should have conserved more for the end. Well, did you get it? Did you win 16th place??? Do tell. Way to leave your name by the way, Mr. Name.

  3. zing supreme

    kennett races like a belgian, a true euro pro from the armpit of europe. If you can’t win, you may as well mess up as many others as you possibly can. Next time you see him smell for a distinct mixture of cologne covering 8 days worth of B.O.

  4. chris

    To “Name”, and all others confused by this post. There’s a thing called “Team Tactics.” Say that a couple of times. Really think about it. Then ask yourself “Why in the world would Kennett want the whole peloton to catch the break where his team mates are, lessening the odds of a team win. Is there any way to disrupt the chase?”

    Secondly, stop being a coward and put up your name, seriously amigo, its wimpy.

  5. Nick S.

    Messing up a paceline is a Cat 4/5 team tactic. That’s bush league for a Cat 1/2. If Kennett had a guy in the break, he should have sat on and enjoyed the ride. Or… if he wanted a workout, he could have tried bridging across solo, and if he got caught sit in a do it again. But sitting at the front, putting the chase group into the gutter and messing up a paceline is pretty weak, sorry. There might be a time where Team O isn’t in the break, and will need help to bring the break back. If you get a rep for riding like that, other teams aren’t going to be willing to help out.

    Next time you watch a pro race on TV and there is a break away, watch closely. You rarely if ever see a team with the rider in the break, trying to mess up the paceline. Team tatics are one thing, pack edict is another.

    I give Kennett the benefit of the doubt though. He’s a super strong guy, trying to get some fitness back after some early season sickness and crashes. Not to mention he had been his only teammate in the 1/2s for almost a year. Once this new Team O learns how to ride as a team, you all are going to be VERY good!

  6. kennettron Post author

    Nick, thank you for the CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. It’s much more beneficial to give advice in this sort of way than the other. I agree with both Name and Nick. I do need to learn race tactics and I do need to learn team tactics. If you see me doing things non-beneficial during racing or training, let me know because all I want is to get faster and smarter.

    In my defense, I guess I wasn’t purposefully trying to mess up the paceline (I was just riding hard) until people started yelling at me. Then I got mad and did it on purpose.

  7. Phil

    It sounds like this is a debate about whether blocking is effective or acceptable in OBRA racing. Obviously done right it’s not against the rules. And obviously it’s effective and used in the pro peloton. Heck, Thomas Prehn devotes an entire chapter in his book to how to block effectively, using plenty of pro-race examples, and he was USPRO champion so he knows what he’s talking about (“Racing Tactics for Cyclists”, Velopress 2004). Blocking has to be done right, and when done right, you often don’t even realize what’s happening.

    I’ve been in plenty of races where teams with members in the break worked hard to block our chasing. I get ticked when it’s aggressive (1992 state champs road race – I got run into the ditch due to aggressive blocking). However I marvel when it’s done smoothly and smartly, even though I’m pissed at the same time. This happened many times at last year’s Eugene Celebration stage race from a team that came up from California. I even complimented them on their smooth tactics afterwards. They eventually won, and their tactics were solid. They raced for their leader, and damn did it work well. Are we too soft and cushy in Oregon? Don’t want to hurt feeeeeelings?

    In retrospect Kennett, you should have been in the break. But hey, easier said than done. Barring that, you should have attempted to bridge solo, or with 1 or 2 helpful riders. Barring that, blocking is the only thing that would have helped your teammate. Face it folks, it’s not like some day in the future Kennett’s going to get a free handout in a race because someone suddenly remembers that 6 mo’s ago he “didn’t block my chase”.

    Kennett – if you want to keep learning, come borrow the book. Reading’s no substitute for experience, but it might help.

  8. andrew

    I read the account, and I think Nick said was “Name” was trying to say. To get a Pro ride – your ability to put down the power is only one factor. A lot of it is who you know, and how those people are going to relay your strengths to potential teams. It’s a lot easier to get people to help you out and give you that intro if you race smart and are generally easy to get along with. Think of the guys that made the pro ranks around here – ALL of them are pretty nice guys who are known for racing with guts. I can think of the few super-talented a-holes who didn’t get a pro ride.

    Race smart and people will notice. Writing all over the internet about what a bunch of whiners the rest of the field is won’t endear you to folks. Remember PR is a big piece of being a Pro.

  9. Larry J.

    Over the past 20 plus years I have competed in many competitive sports and found cyclist in general to be the biggest whiners of all. As long as Kennett was riding safely and not endangering anyone…..who cares! You guys take these little rinky-dink OBRA races a little too seriously. It wasn’t like Kennett was going to the front, blocking the road and purposely slowing down. He was simply riding hard and from what I gather, allowing others plenty of room to go around him.

  10. Nick

    Ok, I just re-read Kennett’s account of the race. I totally missed this part. ” I attacked and drilled it at the front for two laps straight, causing havoc for the guys at the front of the peloton trying to work in unison.” LOL, you weren’t blocking, you were chasing your teammates down.

    I’ll say it again, Kennett is a very strong rider and I have no doubts with his determination and drive, he will reach his goal(s) in cycling. My advice for what it’s worth Kennett; Listen to coach in regards to training, don’t over train damn it!!! When you race, race hard like I know you want to and can, but be smart about it!!! And when it comes to taking advice from others, some of its good and some of its just effin dumb. Its up to you to filter out the dumb shit and absorb what will work for you. Just because something works for someone else or another team, doesn’t mean it will work for you and your team.

    Now a couple comments for the other posters: Phil, agreed ‘blocking’ by a team that is smooth and done right to the point know one knows its happening does take place….. In a pro race. However, I question how often that actually happens in a local OBRA Cat 1/2 race. What Kennett discribed as ‘purposefully’ messing up the paceline, was in fact a bush league move. And I think he has now learned from that. And while no, 6 months from now, Kennett (or anyone else) isn’t going to get a free ride because they didn’t ‘block.’ Every ‘known’ rider and team in Oregon has a reputation, which most definately affects how other riders/teams race against that rider/team. And like Andrew pointed out. If Kennett wants a pro ride, riding smart is a HUGE part of it.

    As for Larry, WOW. Way to discredit the 2000-3000 OBRA members, not to mention all the officials, race promoters, and volunters who make our ‘rinky dink’ races happen. Real classy!

  11. Chris

    Hi Kennett,

    I was in the pack with you at PoC. For a while I was trying to help with the chase, and at other times trying to get away (with others). Mostly what you were doing was attacking and riding alone for a while until caught. And it was mostly after the break was long gone and we were just riding for the fun of it, so I didn’t say anything. It wasn’t dangerous, but I didn’t really get the point. By the way, I didn’t say anything. At one point you were off the front with 2 guys on your wheel (I was one of them) and you guttered us as well. Why not try to work together and try to bridge?
    As a general strategy, Team O had 1 guy of 18 or 19 off the front, which isn’t really great odds (although 5th was a nice placing). You had a bunch in the pack including at least one good sprinter, so why not either try to bridge with a couple others to get better odds in the break, or chase as a team?

    See you at the races,
    Chris

  12. Larry J.

    okay, the rinky-dink comment was totally out of line. just wish folks would simply relax, ride hard, stop complaining and have fun. i’ll be quiet now ;o) cheers!

  13. kennettron Post author

    haha. Sorry Chris. That was stupid of me. If I had realized it was just the three of us (or maybe I did and was being dumb) I would have worked with you.

    Nick, well said and I will listen to Jeannette!

    Andrew, I’ll keep that in mind.

    Zing Supreme, I don’t wear cologne. I naturally omit a sweet vanilla odor.

  14. Damian

    I’ve been reading your posts for a while now, and have this advice to offer. Listen to the likes of Nick S. and Russell C. if they are giving you words of wisdom. Both have been around racing for a long time and both have been winners. Watch how Hutch’s will set Nick up for a sprint, or if he’s alone observe how he works in a group. If the numbers in the break don’t help them, watch as they bring it back to a field sprint for Nick (even if it’s a weeknighter). Ask Russell about race tactics if he is a resource for you. Ask his advice about what races you should be focusing on. Has anyone in the NW been involved in a more organized well run regional team than him (Maybe Noreene)? Has anyone helped send more racers to the PROs from this area? Tyler Farrar, Tom Peterson, Evan Elken, Dougie O! All part of a team he ran. Side note, Nick honed his skills winning races and helping Doug and Barry Wicks win races for OSU. You may have blown through the 4/5s and 3s on sheer strength, but as people have been saying, there’s a lot more going on when you’re racing guys who know what they’re doing. Talk out a game plan with Team O before the races (if you’re not already). Joe is another guy who’s been on well run teams (and he gets in good breaks), so pick his brain too.

    Before you get ahead of yourself and make plans to race a full NRC schedule when you’re not even a 1 yet, learn the craft in these regional races. They will be your best learning tool along with these experienced racers. Pack etiquette, proper pace line, how much to work in a break, knowing the strengths of guys up the road, when to bridge, how to help teammates, communication etc…the list goes on and on. You seem a little too anxious to get out there and, just “gutter,” people and yourself. Plenty of 450w+ guys have never done anything but be a local hero. Learn how to race, be patient and treat the pack with respect, then those watts are going to be dangerous.

    d

  15. K-Man

    “2000-3000 OBRA members”

    Heh… 4000+

    Also… for smooth blocking, the GL’s actually have done a pretty good job as has HPChiro.

  16. Squirrel

    Get off your computers and on your bikes. You could be in the break instead of having to complain about the chase. If you don’t like something in a bike race deal with it there. Don’t bring the drama back to real life. If people race dumb, that’s their prerogative, if they are dangerous yell at them and signal an official.

    Do any of you remember what bike racing was like when you started out? It wasn’t about trying to organize everyone to fit into your plan, it was about making people hurt until they dropped off the back. It was about feeling like a horse. Stop taking yourselves so seriously, this is supposed to be fun after all.

    But that’s just the opinion of a lowly Cat 3 so I am sure it doesn’t carry much weight with all y’all.

  17. kennettron Post author

    Weren’t you on your computer when you wrote that, Squirrel? I do like the bit about being the horse. Or a squirrel. Both are fast animals.

  18. Squirrel

    My point exactly, maybe if I was on my computer less I would have made it on the only break that went this weekend.

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