If you look back at my blog posts from the past you'll find it riddled with stories of potential and of failure. Robert has learned quickly about things we all take for granted like "the draft", "pedal-up cornering", and "crossing wheels". Star told us early on that when it comes to Robert and racing, "He's either going to crash...or win!" That pretty much explains the first half of our season racing with him. But the proverbial "back nine" for Robert has been truly unbelievable. He's won or been on the podium in countless races since June including the CAT4 State Championship, The Georgia Cycling Gran Prix Championship (5 Day Stage Race), and this weekend he won back to back at the Litespeed BMW Crit and Grant Park Crit's. It makes those of us who've been racing a long time just sit back and smile. The kid has real, God given talent.
Robert is being coached now by former Pro Cyclist Nathan O'Neill and it's paying off big time. We're expecting to wave bye bye to our phenom friend when he's forced up the ladder of pain to race CAT3. I'll miss being a small part of his successes but I look forward to watching his progress and living vicariously through him. So Robert...RACE HARD! You carry the dreams of all us "masters" who wish we'd have found cycling in our twenties.
I asked Robert to take his time and write down how the Georgia Cycling Gran Prix went down. What he sent me needed a little help but to preserve the integrity of his words I've limited my corrections to grammar only. You all will undoubtedly recognize youthful bravado in his writing. You may even mistake his confidence for arrogance. But trust me when I say that Robert is a good guy with a big heart. He's just not a writer.
Happily though, he does have a killer instinct to go along with his naturally twitchy muscle fibers.
Enjoy! And thanks Robert!
Off went the whistle and the race began! We headed up the 18% climb right out of the gate! I was sure that the climb was going to blow a lot of people off the back. My plan was to sit in as much as possible to keep energy for the rest of the week but I guess all the other guys had a different idea. Chad, Sean, Ovi, and Marcus stayed on the front and attacked one after the other. They were awesome! Sean and Chad went off the front and stayed there for about two laps. They were slowly brought back and right when they were back in the group Ovi and Marcus countered perfectly. They created a great gap and held it for a couple of laps. Some guys started to think that this was “the” break so three bridged across. Marcus and Ovi were slowly grabbed up by the field but the chasing three stayed off the front for the remainder of the lap.
When we started our climb up the hill yet again, I saw a guy move to the front and heard his teammate/coach yell, “BLOCK, BLOCK, BLOCK!!!” from the sidelines. So I knew he had a team mate up the road. I didn’t want him to hold me back so I went around him and started to bridge. I looked back and was amazed that I already had about a 15 second gap and the “blocker” was doing his job perfectly, so I lowered my head and hammered to the breakaway. As soon as I got there I told them that their team mate was going to block and I know my guys have my back as well. But I also told them that everyone has to work! I talked everyone up and told them how strong they were, how hard their pulls were, and anything else I could to get them to do more work than me. I can honestly say it paid off! I kept encouraging the guys and putting in some work of my own. We worked well together and listened to each other.
|2012 Georgia Cycling Road Atlanta Race CAT4|
If you're interested in Friday's Road Race story you should check out Sean Philyaw's recollection of the race. Friday - Oxford Hills Road Race He WON IT in a solo breakaway!
With two to go I was second wheel. The guy in front didn’t want to be there and kept telling me to move up. I just shook my head and stuck to his wheel. We rolled back through the finish for the FINAL LAP. The guy in front slowed down just enough to allow two guys to squeeze by. I followed their wheels and wouldn’t let them out of my sight. Sean and I looked at the finishing sprint before the race and gathered that there wasn’t enough room to make up any places, maybe one position. So the whole race I was looking for the spot to make my move. It was right after a left hand corner on an uphill stretch that led to a right-left chicane. After the last corner there was about 100m left to the finish. So right after the left hand corner I started my sprint. I went around the two guys in front and kept hammering all the way through the chicane to the finish. I held everyone off and crossed the line in first place with my hands in the air. The Frazier kid did a great job and stayed with me to finish second. After the race the he and I talked on our cool down lap and congratulated each other on the race.