Aventon Team Rises Above at Red Bull Last Stand
October 13, 2017
Mike Tyson once said, “…everyone has a plan until they get hit.” We went into both the men’s and women’s race with a plan to win. We just had to wait and see how hard we would be punched. The unique format of the Red Bull Last Stand provided a different set of challenges.
The event was an elimination style race, where the last rider across the line, each lap, would be taken out of the race. The group gets smaller and smaller, until only two remain, who then sprint it out for the win.
There isn’t any time to relax in this race, and the intensity goes up as the group shrinks in size, and each rider is sprinting to ensure they beat SOMEONE to the line. Unlike a normal crit, where the riders usually save up for one big sprint, this race requires multiple sprints, and energy conservation is as important as ever.
The women’s race was going to be a tough one. We had Kym, Sammi, and Esther, but the $5000 prize list brought out fixed gear specialists like Ash Duban and other professional road racers, such as Lauren Stephens and Ingrid Drexel.
We had great representation in the men’s race. Santos and Uhl would split leadership roles, while Howe and Tolley would ride support, taking the workload off the other two. While we had a plan to win, there were no guarantees.
The women started off fast, with Runnels leading the pack the first time across the line. Soon Sammi and Esther were both near the front pushing the pace and staying out of trouble as the group shattered behind. Sammi is the better sprinter of the two, so the plan was for Esther to attack the group when it came down to only 4 or 5 riders. This would take the pressure off Sammi and force the remaining riders to chase.
Both women made it to the final 5 riders, but Esther was tired from making repeated accelerations each lap, and she couldn’t get away. Both made it down to the final 3, so we had the numbers. The girls rode a great race, but the Tibco rider was simply too strong, and even the one-two-punch of Runnels and Walker couldn’t knock Drexel out. The end result was Sammi 2nd and Esther 3rd. The riders all rode a great race.
The men’s race was a slugfest. Riding off the front is always safer, even if it’s tougher, and for some of the local guys, this may have been only their first or second fixed gear road race. So, nerves were high and those local Texas boys were throwing haymakers trying to escape from the group.
Dave was on point covering every move and making sure nobody got away. The Intelligentsia guys were highly motivated to win a race right in their backyard, and relentlessly attacking the bunch in an effort to escape. Our guys were free from the chaos and the risk of elimination at the back of the group. But they had to dig deep to make sure every move was covered.
Eventually, Santos and Intelligentsia rider Kevin Girkins created a small gap, and they were gone. With the Aventon boys and the Intelligensia boys refusing to chase, the gap quickly grew and soon everyone else was racing for second. The pack behind became smaller and smaller as riders were eliminated, and the two up front raced for $100 prime laps.
Tristan was the last to be eliminated from the main group and took 3rd, while the race for 1st was taking shape up front. Kevin was likely the rider with the bigger motor, but Dave had more finishing speed. Dave played his cards right by allowing Kevin to sprint for a $100 prime with one lap to go. Dave was happy to save his efforts for the big move at the end. He attacked the back and was the first into the final corner, and there was no way for Kevin to come around. There were sweaty man hugs all around.
This weekend is our last big race of the year, and the Red Bull Last Stand was a good omen. Sammi won’t make it to Milan, but Esther showed that she has the strength to support Eleonore. Dave and Tristan (who also WON the geared race that night) showed that they have the strength, and the rest of the did a great job riding as a team.
Milan will be an all-out brawl, and we aren’t pulling any punches.