2011
02.16

Long time Elite Bicycles friend and rider Lars Finanger rode his Elite Razor Carbon and his Elite Joule Pro Carbon to a 1st place finish in this weekend’s Valley of the Sun stage race. I will not bore you with the details, but rather give you Lars’ race report on the three stages after the jump.

what a good lookin' man...

“Stage One: 14-mile TT, Buckeye, AZ

Oddly enough, the event I felt most prepared for on paper at VOS, the opening time trial, ended up being a ho-hum performance in comparison to the Cat 2 field. I left San Diego very early on Friday morning and arrived to the start two hours before my start time. I had plenty of time to prepare equipment and get in a good warm up. I was secretly still upset a colleague of mine had forgot to bring in the Zipp Sub-9 disc wheel he was going to loan me for the race, but I had a back-up plan and carried on with a Wheelbuilders.com disc cover on a Zipp 808 wheel. The upside was I could glance at my wattage off the Power Tap and focus on maintaining a high, yet even pace throughout. The downside, my disc cover had seen two seasons of long distance triathlon racing and was sporting some healthy cracks in the plastic shield. Bottom line, I need to come better prepared with dialed-in equipment. I rode an even paced race to place 11th on the stage at one minute behind the winning time of 30:43.

Stage Two: 87-mile Road Race, Casa Grande, AZ

Matt, Chris and I went into the road race with a loose plan of attack. We all felt good and we agreed we would be aggressive and opportunistic. No more than three miles after the start, one of my teammates launched off the front of the group and drew a few other out. Conditions were windy (crosswinds) so they didn’t stay out for long. On the second lap as we headed into the crosswinds, two riders jumped from the group and got a few hundred meters up the road. The pace in the group was sluggish, so I pushed a hard but steady tempo and no one followed. I was committed so I stayed in the saddle and bridged the gap to the two leaders. I told them to keep the pace steady but that the group was not following us. At the base of the climb, we were joined by three other riders and we were now in business. One rider in particular, Michael Jasinski from NorCal, was so strong on the climb that each lap we dropped riders from our break. I made an alliance with him that I would get the group to give him the KOM on the second and fourth times of the climb if he would pull us up (no brainer, right!). This guy was a workhorse but he had difficulty keeping a steady pace and his accelerations on the fourth of six laps whittled the break down to three. While he took top KOM time bonuses, I took second and got two seconds for each, four seconds in total. On the penultimate time up the climb, a race vehicle told us we had two-and-a-half minutes on a chase group of six riders behind and that the peloton was nowhere in sight. Despite our own hard tempo pace up the climb, somehow we lost two minutes to the chase group behind. We were caught near the feed zone so with 10 miles left to race, we were a group of nine riders. The pace over the next seven miles was very hard and I had to sit out every other rotation. At the start of the final climb, I rode up to the NorCal rider and told him this was his race to lose and that he was the strongest climber in the group and he should “go and not look back”. He listened and jumped and it instantly splintered the group. One rider followed him and they put 50 meters on me very quickly. I rode tempo and carried three others with me. With 200 meters to the line, those three jumped and I took fourth to the line. We put good time on those who had fallen off the pace early in the climb.

I ended up sixth on the stage and jumped into the race lead, four seconds ahead of the road race stage winner. My early gamble of riding in the break paid off.

Stage Three: 45 minute Crit, Downtown Phoenix

I told myself before the race I needed to stay aggressive and stay near the front of the race. In the opening ten laps I did neither very well. I was in poor position near the back of the group and was riding passively. The announcer started auctioning off primes and I started using the laps after a prime lap to move up in the group. Finally, halfway through the race I established a position in the front quarter of the group and the ride became easier from that point on. I finished safely in the group and ahead of the two GC contenders sitting in second and third place and hung on to a four second victory margin!

I am realistic and know that in the road race I might have managed to sneak one by the field. The guys told me that morning that racers usually note the top 10 GC riders and in 11th place I might go unnoticed. The group may not have given me a leash in the road race had my number been written on enough top tubes, but that was their fault and not mine. Maybe next time they will pay attention to the rider sitting 11th!

It was so cool having my wife, Emily, and our three month old girl, Kaia, at the race cheering for Dad. It made sweating it out in the desert even more worth it.

Ride on,

Lars”

Congratulations to Lars on an awesome race! Check out his Razor Carbon on our forum here: Elite Forum

For more information on the frames that Lars rode to his win check out the Razor Carbon page here: Elite Razor Carbon

and the Joule Pro Carbon page here: Elite Joule Pro Carbon

For info on the wheels Lars mentioned above go check out the website of our dear friends Zipp Speed Weaponry at zipp.com


This post was written by: Elite
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