1998 Tour le Fleur
Lafayette, Louisiana - April 4-5, 1998

(Unofficial Partial Results)
-----

CRITERIUM ROAD RACE RACE REPORTS
(CLICK FOR LARGER VERSIONS)
Pro/1/2 Criterium - Click for Larger Pic
Cat. 4 Criterium - click for larger pic
Brad Hecker - Cat. 4 Crit.
Charlie Davis - Cat. 3 Criterium

Brad Hecker (center) at the start
Herring Gas' Kenney Bellau at the Crit.
Charlie Davis (center)
Pro/1/2 Criterium

CRITERIUM

CATEGORY 3
===========
1.  Chris Knetschehe (Cycle Center)
2.  Mike Brown (Baylor)
3.  Charles Copeland (Texas A&M)
4.  Alonso Whaley (Team Coastal)
5.  Shannon Graham (Texas Flyers)
6.  Chris Powers (Baylor)
7.  Richard Lamb (Southern Elite)
8.  Kary Cummings (Doenges)
9.  John Insoft (West Coast Wheelmen)
10.  Kurt Ward (Greenville Spinners)
11.  Maciek Malcharek (Unat)
12.  Tim Fieraut (Mid-South Velo)
13.  Chad Brown (Auburn Flyers)
CATEGORY 4
===========
1.  Justin Gilmore (Free Flite)
2.  Danny Collins (Jacksonville)
3.  Everett Baker (Tri-City)
4.  Chris Wyatt (Unat)
5.  Jesse Watson (Sir Speedy/Cajun)
6.  Mark Adame (Lz Petite)
7.  David Leger (Sir Speedy/Cajun)
8.  Bob Knopfel (Suburn Flyers)
9.  Chris Williams (BMC)
10.  Nathan Bedel (Free Flite)
11.  Tim Robinson (Murphy Marauder)
12.  Mike Scheiff (RCCA)
13.  George Cole (PCR)
14.  Allan Vindas (Team Defeat)
15.  Will Hibberts (Unat)
16.  Doug Azar (MTD)
17.  Kelly Hamm (Mid-South)
18. ?
19. ?
CATEGORY 5
============
1.  Stephen Tomasowski (Red Stick)
2.  Robin Davis (unat)
3.  Rob Hudson (MTD)
4.  Chris Hawkins (West Florida)
5.  Morris Taymon (Northwood)
6.  Timothy Henry (Unat)
7.  Chad Gibson (Texas A&M)
8.  Stan Bernard (Roadkill)
9.  Michael Sternberg (Bud Light RCCA)
10.  Stehpne Valliand (Oxford Bike)
11.  John Onate (Jackson Metro)
12.  Ronald Hammons (Unat)
13.  William Oderdunk (Smurfit)
14.  Howard Demarico (Jackson Metro)
15.  Kenneth Covington (Northwest Cycling
16.  Victor Vindas (unat)
17. ?
18.  John Stirling (unat)
MASTER 35+ (around 50 riders)
==========
1.  Jim Copeland (Colorado)
2.  Frank Moak (Herring Gas)
3.  Dirk Himley (US Postal Service)
4.  John Barmettler (US Postal Service)
5.  Ed Beamon (Navigators)
6.  Doug Grattan (US Postal Serivce)
7.  John Wordin (Mercury Cycling)
8.  Max Miley (Matrix)
9.  Kenneth Smith (Arlington Velo)
10.  J. Grantmann (Shaklee)
11.  Randy Legeai (Saturn/NOBC)
12.  Mike Reade (Arlington Velo)
13.  Jim Brock (Healthlink)
14.  David Hille Baylor-Mirage)
15.  Todd Allinger (Cox Atlanta Velo)
16.  Bob Quick (AUP)
17.  Mike Compton (Ringling)
18.  Rich Raspit (Outdoors)
19.  Micky Allen (Matrix)
20.  Ian Jones (Outdoors)
21.  Nolan Gaubert (Unat)
WOMEN
=======
1.  Nicole Freedman (Shaklee)
2.  Anette Kamm (Fuji/Cane Creek)
3.  Laura Vanfilder (Navigators)
4.  Elizabeth Emery (Saturn)
5.  Jeanne Golay (Unat)
6.  Tino Mayolo (Powerbar)
7.  Kim Erdoza (Powerbar)
8.  Andrea Smessaert (Wisconson)
9.  Julie Hanson (Saturn)
10.  Sandra Kolb (Pacific Velo)
11.  Sherri Stedje (Ticycles/BBC)
12.  Angela Rodriguez (BBC)
13.  Andrea Ratkovic-Bowman (Pedalers)
14.  Lisa Klein (Smart Fuel)
15.  Stacy Liddle (Whole Food)
16.  Jennifer Davidson (Ticycles)
17.  Marjon Marik (Powerbar)
18.  Amy Matson (Mid Cities)
19.  Laura Shuford (CT Cycling)
20.  Katid Liviun-Clark (Bud Light)
21.  Mary Georgetti (Eurotek)
22.  Desiree Margagliano (Canadian)
23.  Shari Stillman (CBRC)
24.  Suzanne Johnson (Oz Heartland)
PRO,1,2
======
1.  Julian Dean (Mercury)
(sorry, didn't get the rest)

ROAD RACES

MASTER 35+ (24 riders)
===========
1.  Dirk Himley (U.S. Postal)
2.  Todd Allinger (Cox Atlanta)
3.  Frank Moak (Herring Gas)
4.  John Barmettler (U.S. Postal)
5.  Rich Raspet (Outdoors)
6.  Peter Allen (U.S. Postal)
7.  Jim Brock (Healthlink)
8.  Mike Compton (Ringling)
9.  Doug Grattan (U.S. Postal)
10.  Ian Jones (Outdoors)
11.  Chuck Moore (Jackson Metro)
12.  Max Miley (Matrix)
13.  Stephen Dean (Matrix)
14.  Randall Legeai (Saturn/NOBC)
15.  Robin Robert (Saturn/NOBC)
16.  Mark Delaney (Saturn/NOBC)
17.  Brian Piazza (MTD)
18.  Lonnie Kennedy (Big Shark)
19.  Guy Cross (Natchez)
20.  Tommy Smith (Natchez)
CATEGORY 5
==========
1.  Chad Gibson (Texas A&M)
WOMEN
=======
1.  Julie Hanson (Saturn)

RACE REPORTS (Three Race Reports Follow)

TOUR LE FLEUR 98 MASTERS RACES
As I Rode 'Em
Ok, it's 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning and I'm on the road to Jackson with about 3 hours of sleep, twelve dollars in my pocket and a full tank of gas. I pop in "Best of the Doors" and settle in for the 3-hour drive on this uncharacteristically cold April morning, wondering if I'll be able to walk unaided down stairs by afternoon.

THE CRITERIUM
A Bad Day for the Wheelsuckers
This year, the 10:00 a.m. Masters race attracted, quite possibly, its strongest-ever field. The 50-rider horde at the starting line was hard to distinguish from a National Criterium Championships field, and included 5 members of the U.S. Postal Service master's team, two Herring Gas riders (Frank Moak and Mike Lew), ace sprinter Rich Raspet of Outdoors, Healthlink's Jim Brock from Alabama, Texans Max Miley and Micky Allen of the Matrix team, multiple National Champion Jim Copeland of, I think, California, and other semi-pro riders from teams like the Navigators, Mercury Cycling and Cox Atlanta teams. Into this mix were thrown NOBC riders Robin Robert, Warren Sciortino and myself, along with most of the other area master's class criterium riders.

Needless to say, this race started out quite fast. Despite having had a fairly good position at the start, I quickly found myself halfway down a long single-file string of riders, most of whom, like myself, were gasping for air. This is a really, really great crit course with fast downhill turns, a bumpy section of brick and a long uphill straight. Although the pace was fast, it stayed fairly steady and after a few more laps my breathing started to catch up with my legs. Still, I was way too far back to have much of an effect on anything, and frankly I didn't really want to be up there so early anyway, so I simply concentrated on the not-so-easy task on holding onto my position.

It was fairly early in the race when a series of one and two-rider breaks started to edge away from the field, completely unnoticed by me. All of a sudden, it seemed, I looked up and what had seemed to be a few unthreatening guys up the road had materialized into a 5-man break with a 15-second gap. Seriously, the first I knew of this break was when I heard the announcer say it had a 15-second gap! As it turned out, this was no trivial group. It contained two Postmen, one Navigator, Jim Copeland and Frank Moak (Way to Go Frank!!). Before we knew what had hit us, this break was putting serious time on us each lap and the chase effort had completely fizzled, thanks in no small part to the remaining USPS riders.

Once the break had amassed about 45 seconds, things settled down a bit until the last five laps when the pack was caught by the break. As usual, things got pretty confusing, and I think another two riders went off the front around that time, so with just a few laps to go, most of the pack is getting ready to sprint it out for the last two of the 10-deep placings when they announce an $80 prime. Copeland goes for it, and just keeps hammering, separating himself from the pack, holding his lead to the end and finishing first. With four of the original 5-man break, along with about 40 lapped riders, we scream around the bell lap. I had worked myself up into a reasonable but not great position, about 10 or 12 riders back, by the last turn, and finished around 7th in the pack sprint. However, that was only good for 11th place once they sorted all the lapped and unlapped riders out. Warren Sciortino also finished in the pack. All-in-all, a bad day for the wheelsucker sprinter types like me, but a great day for the really strong breakaway experts.

THE ROAD RACE
Us Against Them
Lining up for Sunday's afternoon Road Race, I was a bit shocked to find only 24 riders in our group. Since this worked out to 20% U.S. Postal riders, it didn't bode well for me, although it promised to be a good race. Along with the postmen were most of the stronger riders from the previous day, sans Copeland. The NOBC was represented by Robin Robert, Mark Delaney and myself.

Although the first couple of downhill miles went smoothly enough, shortly before the first turn the Postmen started their attacks. In an apparent effort to break things apart and/or wear down the pack, these guys spent most of the first couple of laps taking turns attacking and forcing the rest to chase. There seemed to be such an unending supply of USPS jerseys, I started to wonder if they were breeding back there. This tactic immediately put everyone on the defensive, and about half of the non-postal riders, including myself, took turns covering the repeated attacks. For me, at least, it was becoming increasingly important to prevent the U.S. Postal team from getting a rider solo off the front and then having a couple more bridge up to him once the rest of us were toast. Of course, this was sure to kill any chances I might have in a sprint, but it was just too much fun to pass up. I was more than willing to help out the Herring Gas riders in covering the attacks and closing gaps, and besides, I needed the training. At one point, I had covered one of these attacks, ending up off the front with one of the postmen. I'm pulling this guy on a downhill, legs burning, hoping I'm going slow enough for the pack to make up some ground, and he's sitting behind me telling me to shift into a bigger gear (I was in a 53 x 14 and going about 32 mph). I was just so thankful to have such a expert coach back there! I suppose this guy thought that I really wanted to do a 2-man time trial for the next two laps (or until I was dropped in a shivering heap on the side of the road, whichever came first). Anyway, we were, of course, caught by the relentless pack and the attacks continued. Just before the end of the second lap, I again end up off the front, this time with two of these big USPS guys. As I come into their draft, the one in back turns around and tells me something like "you'd better pull or we're going to work you over." I was surprised to hear such a Cat. 5 comment coming from someone who could obviously rip my legs off at will. I'm sure my massive 124-pound body and glassy stare had them worried. Anyway, one of them soon rode me off his wheel, but the pack caught and things came back together pretty quickly.

On the last of the three laps, things seemed to ease up a bit more, and it looked like riders were starting to seriously consider a pack sprint, although there were still occasional strong attacks and chases. Checking my computer at that point, I had an average speed of around 25 and a half mph for the first two laps (around 32 miles). About half-way though the last lap the effects of my earlier efforts (combined with my substandard training program, I suppose) were definitely starting to catch up with me, and I decided to hang out farther back in the pack which, surprisingly, had shed relatively few riders. The road course featured one notable climb that came just a few miles before the finish, following a gradual downhill. On the last lap, USPS rider Dirk Himley took a last shot at a solo break by attacking the downhill. This time he succeeded, and as the back of the pack and I slogged it up the hill, he floated over the top with a good gap. Even so, things started to heat up coming into the final turn, about a kilometer from the finish, and as usual the sprint started in earnest about 500 meters from the line with riders spread out all over the place. Robin attacked up the left side a bit early and maxed out at around the 100 meter mark, finishing just behind me and with Mark on his wheel. This was definitely the most fun race I've done in a while, and was great experience and training to boot! In the end, we limited the USPS riders to 1st, 4th, 6th and 9th, which I guess was respectable under the circumstances, and area rider Frank Moak finished third behind Cox-Atlanta rider Todd Allinger. Mississippi rider Rich Raspet nabbed fifth, with Alabama's Jim Brock taking 7th.

Many thanks to the many Masters riders who travelled to Mississippi and provided us with such a deep field. Well, now it's 6 p.m. and I'm heading home with a Chicken Chimichanga in my stomach, a cold coke in the cup-holder, and a really nice feeling about a race in which I failed to place. Time to slip Celene Dion into the casette player and revise my training program!
Randy.


SENIOR CRITERIUM (Cat. 4)
Tour Le Fluer, April 4 and 5, 1998 Jackson, Mississippi Overall the organization at the Tour Le Fleur was remarkable. Every one of the criteriums started on time--amazing! Weather was good, although it was a little cold Saturday afternoon. I especially enjoyed watching the Pro 1, 2 crit on Saturday. Standing on the start/finish line stretch, located on slight uphill, I had to hold onto my hat to keep it from blowing off in the draft each time the pack blazed by. Some of the area riders that stand out as strong cyclists in our Louisiana regional events were chewed up and spit out in short order. I noticed one Louisiana rider that was dropped, then he got dropped again, finally I watched him get dropped a third time. Hmmm.... How did he do that? Saturday Criterium Cool and clear, with the sun shining I headed for the registration desk to sign up for the Masters Crit. I had it figured, the die heard masters (that would be you Frank and Mike) would ride with the Pro 1,2 and since the 3’s had their own race I was sure it would suck up a few other animals and the Masters ride would be hard but reasonable. For once fate was on my side. As I was ready to hand over my money I noticed five US Postal Service racers signing up for the masters crit. Realizing I would be way in over my head, I made a bee-line for the cat 4 registration table (I think I probably scorched the carpet.) Obviously my pre-race strategy (like what race to sign up for) needs a bit of refining. I watched the masters race--thanking god--from the curb. Jim Copeland, Mike Lew, Frank Moak, and five riders from the US Postal service Masters team among many others tore up the course. For once I was in the right place at the right time. Cat 4 Crit, Saturday, 45 minute, + 5 lap The course was an eight corner crit about one mile long with a short down hill on the back side and a long steady up hill along the start/finish stretch. Seems like about 60 riders started the race.

Windy, windy, windy is all you could say about the backside. Every time I hit the seventh corner with my spinergys I said a little prayer. The wind felt like it was trying to lift me off the ground and fling me, like a bug on a windshield, into the adjacent building as I was trying to make the corner--a touch unsettling. The race heated up pretty quick and I took up my customary position near the back. After 15 minutes or so the pack split on the uphill, I was too far back to react and catch the lead pack. Eventually I ended up in chase group (I used the chase word rather loosely) of 12. I could see the main pack and I figured the chase group would close in a lap or two. So instead of going after the pack alone I decided to work with the chase group. One minor snag--no horsepower! It took me a while to figure it out, I pulled for a couple of laps, talked nicely and asked em to pull, encouraged them to pull through--no luck (one or two other guys were at least trying). Eventually I figured it out, most of them were pulling--it was just hard to tell. I didn’t have enough left to go after the main pack alone so I hung in with this group.

The final lap, I accelerated up the hill, got a gap and tried to get away (an attempt to finish first from the chase group) I was tired but felt like I could make it. Although I clipped a pedal heading through the pave’ section it just slowed me for a second. I made the final corner and pushed up the hill toward the finish line. At about 300 meters I ran out of gas. Two or three guys from the chase group sprinted past me at the finish. Overall I enjoyed the race and learned a little more about riding crits. I finished around 35th. Jeff Clark and Steve Zeraunge from Team Red Stick also rode this race. Steve Tomasheki raced Cat 5 and won the crit, his second crit ever, better watch out!

Cat 4, Road Race, Sunday, 3 Lap-45 miles
This race started at noon, so the weather was great, sunny and cool. The course was a 15 mile loop and included a half mile climb At the starting line Robert Massart told me there were 95 riders registered when he signed up earlier. I felt strong considering I raced yesterday; however, I was a little nervous about the size of the pack. Big packs and young riders tend to worry me a little. For the most part the race was reasonable, no serious breaks, lots of brakes, big time yo-yo effect in the middle of the pack, and the pace was pushed on the climb. I was intent on getting to the front (lofty goal for me.) I did manage to ride mostly in the middle of the pack. I would move forward to the front 1/3 of the pack, then find myself drifting back (I would look back and see nothing but air.) Unfortunately each time we approached the half mile climb I was near the back. I ended up accelerating and climbing to the front the first two times up the hill. So I figured the third time is the charm, If I could start at the front I might be able to encourage a small group to get off the front. The final approach up the hill, I was on the outside at about the middle of the pack and starting to push straight up the yellow line.

Suddenly someone overlapped a wheel and when down on the right side. The pack rapidly expanded to the left with falling riders. I found myself climbing the hill in the grass on the left side of the road. Eventually I figured my rolling resistance would be cut down if I jumped back on the pavement--so I did. It took everything I had to close the gap (this seems to be my recurring version of off the front.) I managed to catch the front group at the top of the hill. The final mile or two highlighted riders jockeying for position prior to the last left hand corner. I wasn’t overly concerned because I wasn’t real fired up to sprint with a large group of Cat 4s so I hung out in the back. Around the last corner I noticed Jeff Clark and figured I could pull him up in contention for top 10. The pace was picking up, I pulled Jeff for a bit, sat on a wheel for a second, then it was time to go. Jeff was on my right and I yelled to Jeff, “I’m gone” figuring he would be right on my wheel. Something happened behind me across the road on the right and a crash exploded across the highway behind me. I accelerated with all I had and got with in reach of the front sprinters, I looked back--no Jeff. I was leading out thin air. He got caught up in the crash. He tried to jump up out of the way on the curb and fell in the grass. I finished 21st. I was very pleased with my strength., ... now if I can just learn to race.
Jon Anderson Red Stick Racing


TLS REPORT
Team LaS'Port Report About 8 of Team LaS'port's group showed up for the road races at LeFleur (we skipped the crit since it didn't work out on anybody's schedule). On Sunday we were missing Joe Otero (TDY in South Carolina), Clifton Cearly and Mike Sinkule (both at mountain bike races in Texas). We batted .250 that day with 2 riders winning a total of $345 of the day's purse. In the women's road race, Kathleen Scully (4th career race) and Karen Kirkley (2nd career race) were in their first races with the big girls. Karen lost the group on the big hill, first lap, but completed the entire course. Kathleen, who has the strength but not enough experience, stayed with the pros until near the end of the third lap. The women were constantly stopping to let the men ride through or being thinned out because of the ambulances around the crash in the men's pro-1-2 race. Both enjoyed the experience and know they have their work cut out for them to get better. They thought it was so cool to have LaS'port jerseys mingling with the Saturns, PowerBars, and Shaklees. Saw no other Louisiana women after a big turnout last year.

In the Cat 3 men's race, LaS'port's Jack Ditt (I have to train with this guy!) got 2nd place in a 2-man sprint clear of the field, that started with 108 riders. On the first lap, he was part of a 4-man break with Brandon Quirk of Arkansas, but the other two wouldn't work to make it stick so they were caught. He moved to the front beginning the last lap and stayed there. Locals Mike Simpson (Wal-Mart) and Jack's teammate Russell Metoyer finished mid-pack and had tremendous difficulty moving to the front of the pack especially on the last lap. In Cat 4, our own Dave Bunce captured 3rd place and was ahead of the huge crash 200 meters from the finish. We had talked before the race about the previous crashes there in past years (big hint: NEVER be on the right side of the road in that sprint. Every crash over the past 4 years in that spot has started on that side and migrated to the middle. Both Dave and I were on the left.). The crash caused me to slow down a bit, weave at 22 mph (down from 35 mph) through the carnage, and I noodled in for 34th place out a 95-man field. There was also a crash on Cavalier Hill on the last lap that took out a huge number of riders who couldn't catch back on. That hill is not the place to "start" riding or speeding up after being slowed. Dave had dropped back to me to talk and the two of us whipped around the bodies and charged to catch the leaders up front through the hole that the crash created. Teammate Barry Taylor, a new Cat 4, was dropped on the first lap. Two years ago, Dave got 2nd in the Cat 5 road race during that tremendous thunderstorm, so he's done well in his only two races at this event. (Personal note: so far this year, I've finished with the pack in two races -including Nolan T.- that I was pulled or dropped from the previous year. I'm having a great year by those standards!) Since I left before the end of the last races, all I can tell you is that Michael Simpson was in a 3-man break halfway through the LAJORS race and 49-year-old Joe French was in the pack halfway through the Cat 5 race. Haven't heard results yet. I can only speak for the Cat 4 race, but the pace was hectic, fast and stupid. I was able to drink only half a bottle 'cause I was afraid to keep my hands away from the brakes. Our first lap was as fast as the Cat 3's first lap (about 25 mph average) passing the start/finish line at 34 mph. The results sheet showed we did the 45 miles in 1:32 which can't be right since that means a 30 mph average. Probably more like 1:52. It was extremely difficult for me to move about the pack. Rubicon, with similiar fields, is much easier to manuver about. I can move to the front in that race whenever I feel like it. Still, Tour LeFleur has that big-time race feeling about it and I like it.
Regards, Alan "hey, my legs aren't sore" Moore

NOTE: A great place to watch the crit in Jackson is on the overhead walkway before the 7th turn. The headlong view of the pack racing down the hill and the view of the turn from above is unbeatable!! Plus, you're out of the cold and the wind! Check it out next year. I mean it, you won't regret it. --- Alan Moore


RETURN TO NOBC WELCOME PAGE