As most racers will tell you the features of a race mean a lot less than the people you are racing against. It is the riders who make the race and that was certainly the case at the 2015 MABRA Senior Criterium Championships in Frederick, MD. Team Beyer Auto, traveling in it's newly delivered 2015 Volvo XC 60 provided by Beyer Automotive Group arrived on-site knowing that Kelly Benefits Strategy had a full squad fresh in from Senior Nationals and expecting to dominate the race. What they didn't know was that we had brought our secret weapon, a motivated squad and had an exceptional plan.
Bottom line, DJ Brew = 1st; Mark Hyatt = 2nd; Team Beyer Auto = Crit Champs. Read Brew's account of how it went down:
Oh man where to start…I was super hyped about this race all week, especially after not being able to do the road race for the Police and Fire games this past Thursday due to an unfortunate accident. Maybe this worked out in my favor because it caused me to go in to Sunday much fresher than I had planned on being. Anyway, fast forward to the pre-race team meeting. Hyatt received his Man-Card!
At this race we determined to learn from our mistakes at Bike Jam and not play into the hands of Kelly, who bought their full elite squad. We were going to race ourrace, make sure no moves went up the road without any representation from us, do our leadout, then sprint, then win. During the warm-up laps, Jason, Hyatt and I went over our landmarks on when we were going to drop each other off and where the launch points were going to be. Now it was time to race. This race started fast, but it was also relatively easy to stay tucked in and just surf wheels until the finish.
I honestly have to say for the majority of the race there really were no tense moments. My teammates were excellent in making sure we had everything covered. The one small responsibility I had during the race was to keep tabs on Guttenplan. Other than the Kelly guys, he was probably the only other real threat in the race. I really just had to make sure he didn’t go flying up the road in a breakaway. He didn’t so my job was easy.
This basically took us all the way to about 13 laps to go when the Kelly guys decided to assemble at the front of the race and start ramping things up. Since I had stayed stress free throughout the race I was ready to roll at the end. Kelly kept it under control and from that time forward nothing was really going to get away. While Kelly had about 7 of their guys lined up on the front, my teammates started to move up to the front as well. We kind of just set back and let Kelly do most of the work. Hyatt antagonized their train a little bit to let them know that we were still there and that it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Sommers made his presence known at the front as well. I mean he is the Big Dawg. He had to let them feel a bite or two.
Mica gave me a friendly wheel to follow in the chaos up front. It did feel a little weird to be in a position to have to fight for wheels. Normally people are fighting for my wheel, but it was nice to be able to dust those skills off. I bumped elbows with Russell “The Muscle”, and Guttenplan, and Cicero, and Nick Taylor, but each time I would find another teammate to conserve more energy behind. I just remember jumping from Mica’s wheel, to Dimitri, to Hyatt, to Ryan. Finally with about a lap and a half to go, Jason finally decided he had enough of the shenanigans and it was time to put the hammer down. He went to the front of the
race and absolutely drilled it through the start finish for the last time. This was good because it finally single filed things. That’s what “real” speed does. This gave space for Hyatt and me to slot in behind Guttenplan, I think.
Now this is where it’s important to have a plan. Jason was on the front and there where 3 Kelly guys behind him, then Guttenplan, then Hyatt and then me. Even though those extra guys were in the way, the leadout still worked because we had a plan. After turn two, I shouted to Hyatt that it’d have to be early, and he responded with a concise “Yep”. This would allow us to jump the other guys and catch them off guard. Out of turn three, we started hitting all of our markers. As soon as Jason pulled off the front Hyatt took off up the inside, flying past all the other guys with me in tow. He got me to the final corner, but I still had work to do. Hyatt was absolutely flying out of the last corner! I had to actually throw down a legit sprint to come past!
At the end of the day, we would’ve went one and two either way. It was a thing of beauty. But most importantly, we really raced as a team against tough competition. We learned from our mistakes
and made adjustments. We stuck to our plan and we took first and second. We also finally won a jersey that has eluded us for the past few years and it feels good to finally bring it home