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Old 05-31-09, 12:27 AM   #1
arexjay
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Gerlach is back!

Borrajo and Allar put on a show in Arlington, as Chad Gerlach almost laps the field.

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Now riding with the Italian Amore & Vita squad directed by longtime domestic rider Roberto Gaggioli, Gerlach jumped away just several laps into the race. The 35-year-old quickly forged a gap that had spectators measuring not his advantage over the front of the field, but the gap from Gerlach to the tail of the single-file peloton.

At times, Gerlach hovered just 10 seconds from lapping the field, threatening to close the gap on the technical, five-turn circuit at any moment, all but locking up the biggest win of his return in the process. Sensing the danger, Kelly Benefit put six men on the front to drag Gerlach’s advantage back to a mere half a lap before leaving the rest of the job up to other teams and Gerlach’s fatigue. Twenty laps later, to the peloton’s surprise, Gerlach was not only still out front, but was once again knocking at the back door of the field, this time just 8 seconds back.

It was a move astounding for its strength and duration, but according to Gerlach, it wasn’t part of any grand plan. “It was really slow those first couple of laps, and I just attacked to kind of get the race going. They just let me go, and all the sudden I had 10 seconds, 15 seconds, so I just put my head down,” he said.

Pick up the pace they did – staying single file until Gerlach, now over an hour and a half into his solo, was finally within striking distance. When the countermove finally rolled up, Gerlach rallied again, sticking to the back of the break, continuing to roll through, and taking a late-race prime before finishing sixth in the sprint.
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Old 05-31-09, 02:50 AM   #2
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Nice ride, but he finished sixth.
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Old 06-01-09, 02:24 AM   #3
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He was off the front for 94 laps. It was an awesome race.
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Old 06-01-09, 09:58 AM   #4
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Nice ride, but he finished sixth.
Maybe I'm clueless but I'd rather ride like he did on Saturday and come in 6th than sit-in for 90 laps and win that race. That ride was outstanding.
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Old 06-01-09, 09:58 AM   #5
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hope he gets on the garmin team.
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Old 06-01-09, 10:45 AM   #6
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Maybe I'm clueless but I'd rather ride like he did on Saturday and come in 6th than sit-in for 90 laps and win that race. That ride was outstanding.
I thought being a professional bike racer was about either 1) Winning; or 2) Setting up a teammate to win?
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Old 06-01-09, 10:56 AM   #7
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For "professional" bike racers, the list has to be: 1) make money to feed self/family; 2) win; 3) set up teammate to win; 4) Get good exposure for sponsors; 5) glory. They're not mutually exclusive. Besides, from the race report he was only seconds away from 2, (if he had been able to lap the field), and definitely accomplished 4 and 5. His team didn't have to work all day, so he helped with 3. Plus, you can't tell me that bigger pro teams aren't giving him a closer look (number 1). Sounds like a pretty successful day on the bike, even without the incredible back story.
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Old 06-01-09, 11:00 AM   #8
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I thought being a professional bike racer was about either 1) Winning; or 2) Setting up a teammate to win?
or being on the podium/in the money or getting your sponsor's name on tv/paper/cyclingnews etc or winning a bunch of premes or winning the most combatative award. There's lots of things that pro cycling is about besides winning every race.

Either way. It was gutsy, courageous and impressed the hell out of me...but like I said, maybe I'm clueless.
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Old 06-01-09, 11:41 AM   #9
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Hey, folks here are talking about it and his sponsor got more visibility. This thread proves that there is value to his effort beyond the seemingly obvious.
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Old 06-01-09, 11:47 AM   #10
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very good points that I obviously missed.
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Old 06-01-09, 04:33 PM   #11
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6th is the 5th loser.
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Old 06-01-09, 04:40 PM   #12
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so you see no value in what he did?
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Old 06-01-09, 04:45 PM   #13
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Sactown, represent!
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Old 06-01-09, 04:54 PM   #14
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so you see no value in what he did?
Sure we do, but if we posted about every guy that drove a break for 90% of a given race, we'd have too many threads. I'm sure it was impressive nonetheless.
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Old 06-01-09, 05:02 PM   #15
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so you see no value in what he did?
Of course it has value. Just not an especially great strategy for wining the race absent a team strategy.

I did this once this year in a race (Piece of Cake, for those in Oregon). Stayed out for over an hour by myself in front of the Cat4 field. Terrible race strategy, unless there is someone in the field with balls enough to bridge the gap and work with you. I was proud of my effort, but I essentially threw away my chances of winning. I was eventually caught by a chase group, then dropped, then caught by the main group, then dropped again.

The key is it's hard to win with this kind of move in isolation unless you are truly stronger than the chase. As part of a team strategy, it makes sense. It forces other teams to work and lets the team of the guy out front sit on wheels and set up their sprinter without having to worry about the chase. Or, you can use a move like this to act as a stepping stone for a second attack to bridge up to the first. But essentially, to win with a move like this, you need help from a seriously lackadaisical peloton.
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Old 06-01-09, 05:16 PM   #16
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Sure we do, but if we posted about every guy that drove a break for 90% of a given race, we'd have too many threads. I'm sure it was impressive nonetheless.
but this guy was smoking crack a few months ago on that intervention show. i think this is why its so notable.
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Old 06-01-09, 05:53 PM   #17
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And over the winter he was training on a bike that looked like he pulled it out a landfill. One Saturday in January he pulled the River Ride around for an hour in the small chainring when his FD cable broke.
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Old 06-01-09, 06:17 PM   #18
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I've been able to race against the guy a couple times in the last couple weeks and I am less than impressed. He is crazy strong for sure, I got in a break with him at the folsom crit and after trying to trade pulls straight across and just about blew sky high quickly but the guy is still a little out there. He would attack continuously by throwing 10-15 hard strokes in but once he had a gap he would sit up and start yelling back at the pack or at whomever was trying to go with him/bridge. Very strange guy but wicked strong.
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Old 06-01-09, 06:30 PM   #19
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Old 06-01-09, 10:36 PM   #20
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I think it is impressive Chad is out riding again. Good for him.

I raced with Chad almost every weekend as a Jr. I have posted this pic before, but I thought you might get a kick out of it, if you have not seen it.

Chad and I at Jr National Championships circa 1989. I am in the pink, and Chad is behind me in the yellow.
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Old 06-01-09, 11:11 PM   #21
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I've been able to race against the guy a couple times in the last couple weeks and I am less than impressed. He is crazy strong for sure, I got in a break with him at the folsom crit and after trying to trade pulls straight across and just about blew sky high quickly but the guy is still a little out there. He would attack continuously by throwing 10-15 hard strokes in but once he had a gap he would sit up and start yelling back at the pack or at whomever was trying to go with him/bridge. Very strange guy but wicked strong.
That's so weird...
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Old 06-01-09, 11:12 PM   #22
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He rolled off the front on a lark, not part of a strategy.

It made for a very exciting race that people were buzzing about all day on Sunday.

That's good enough for me.
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Old 06-02-09, 06:29 AM   #23
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Sure we do, but if we posted about every guy that drove a break for 90% of a given race, we'd have too many threads.
Don't we already?
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Old 06-02-09, 09:22 AM   #24
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I thought being a professional bike racer was about either 1) Winning; or 2) Setting up a teammate to win?
Yet people still complain that Leipheimer and Cadel are boring racers. Regardless of how his DS saw things, rides like that make the sport exciting for spectators and that's how a rider earns fans.
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Old 06-02-09, 10:26 AM   #25
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I got in a break with him at the folsom crit and after trying to trade pulls straight across and just about blew sky high quickly but the guy is still a little out there. He would attack continuously by throwing 10-15 hard strokes in but once he had a gap he would sit up and start yelling back at the pack or at whomever was trying to go with him/bridge. Very strange guy but wicked strong.
I don't think Gerlach is 'treating' this as a genuine race - more using as a training ride. (My hunch is he could have probably lapped the field when he had the chances)

A knowledgeable cycling friend was in Arlington and thought it was entertaining.
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