Valley of the Sun Time Trial; Late afternoon
This stage unfolded just as predicted... Big rides from TK and AWfoSho resulting in the top two steps on the podium. The only hiccup on the day was a flat tire for El Gigante just before the turn around relegating him to the time of the slowest rider on the day... a whopping 12:07 down after a 14 mile TT. Big dissapointment because he was riding strong and his time at the turn around would probably have put him in the top ten.
West Phoenix Motel Six, Late Evening
Other than the obnoxious hysterics of the kidlets, and three trips to the office to borrow the plunger, a rather serious meeting resulted in a defensive game plan for stage two... defend TK's lead and AWfoSho's second spot by letting a small group of non-threatening riders roll off the front and hold them at about thirty seconds while they sweep up the time bonuses, reel them in and launch TK and AWfoSho at the base of the final climb. In the best case scenario El Gigante covers the early break.
ACT TWO: Scene One
Valley of the Sun Road Race, Early morning
Major Motion covered every attempt El Gigante made at establishing the early break. Instead the kiddos let a group of five roll off the front and held them at 30 seconds... until the masters 40+ field passed them. The pack, with all the DBCJRT boys in it, neutralized, the break... well I'll let you decide... the gap ballooned from 30 seconds to three minutes in less than nine miles, the break of "non-threatening" riders rode through the feed zone in the midst of the 40+ guys, and for the next 15 or so miles five of DBCJRT's top dawgs set up a five man rotation on the front to reel the break in. I'm not saying that the guys in the break were, uh, bending the rules, but seems like they had an awfully good day given that none of them could place on the podium in the TT and most of them were over 4 minutes down after the TT was over. The second time through the feed zone, the break was STILL at 3 minutes and STILL in the middle of the 40+ field. After El Gigante and The Staz (aka Chris Stastny. I liked KGB better, but The Staz seems to have stuck) fried themselves on the front, the inevitable attack from Major Motion came with TK the only one with enough gas in the tank left to respond. AWfoSho and Davitamon were left gasping in no man's land. But, the chase wasn't over... Ricky and Freddie Cruz of Major Motion, along with TK, spent the next 15 miles chasing at nearly 50K an hour and only took back a minute and twenty seconds or so... when the dust had settled, TK was bumped from his GC spot and AWfoSho rolled in fried... all the way down in the eighth spot on the GC.
I toyed with the idea of naming this scene DBCJRT versus the VOS Master Men 40+ Field because that is what the race really boiled down to. But that would imply that I felt that the kids, who shall remane nameless, in the break had actually received a free ride from the 40+ field. Like I wrote above, you can decide for yourself.
The Chief Judges Tent, Valley of the Sun RR
A written prostest, signed by the directors of Major Motion and DBCJRT on behalf of 12 riders in the junior 17/18 field is lodged stating that fields were mixing which allowed the two top finishers in the 17/18 road race to establish and maintain their lead.
ACT Three: Scene One
Valley of the Sun Criterium, Early Morning
The previous days protest is denied, albeit by sympathetic officials who seem to agree with the protest, but lacking a moto official to verify the mixing of groups, there simply isn't enough 'proof.'
Flashback... late evening previous day... two game plans are formulated: plan a if the protest is upheld, plan b if the protest is denied. Plan b calls for TK to attack early, take somebody from Major Motion with him so they won't chase, and pin it while the rest of the kiddos do their darndest to slow the field. Davitamon will patrol the front, sweeping the pack into the gutter whenever possible, El Gigante his lieutenant. The Staz calls out the attacks and AWfoSho shadows the new "race leader" making life as uncomfortable for him as possible, bumping, gapping, sweeping... you know the drill.
Flash forward again... plan b is set into motion and the "race leader's" race is over before the second corner of the crit... TK attacked from the gun, taking Ricky Cruz with him. AWfoSho swept their wheels and a ten second gap formed almost instantly. The pack didn't even know what happened. Then the DBCJRT boys went to work... Davitamon put them in the gutter over and over again. El Gigante put enough pressure on anybody who tried to mount a chase so as to make them uncomfortable, AWfoSho had the "race leader" gapped off and in the gutter for most of the race. All the while, TK had his head down working with his break companions to build a lead of over a minute in thirty minute crit.
The boys wanted to send a few messages... first to the officials: there is no way that the RR break rode clean and we are going to ride circles around them today to prove it to you. Second to the guys who were in the RR break: if you want to race dirty, we can play that game... but we are going to do it within the rules.
Valley of the Sun Awards Presentation, Late morning
TK on the top step, messages sent!