The Fortune 700 Experiment
GLK took over the organizing duties for the 2016 Fortune 700, and in doing so, sought to emphasize the team nature of our sport. I called it an experiment in the title of this post because that is basically what it was, a "beta test" of some features intended to make the racers think as a team, rather than individually. Kept intact from past years' running of the event was the basic format - an opening three-person team time trail on the three-mile circuit outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, followed by a fifteen minute break, and then a six lap circuit race which, at the outset, was to include the ascent of Salvia Canyon each lap. Apparently, however, and due to some strategic complaints, the climb portion of the race, and its complimentary descent was cut back to a single ascent. I am not sure what the complaint was, but it easily could have been the climb, or the descent (this is a brakeless, fixed-gear race remember), though it just as easily could have been the weather. It is hardly surprising considering the time of year, but right on cue, upon reaching the August doorstep, the humidity has spiked. Standing around in the shade was no safe haven, sweat from my brow, a soaked shirt, and why the heck did I wear bibs under shorts anyway (I should have known I was not going to get a ride in) so you can imagine what the conditions were like on the bike.
LD Labs - sticking together
before the fun
Anyway, LD Labs, Engine 11, Leader/Undefeated were the largest of the teams who showed up to challenge the home GLK riders. On to the TTT: The strongest teams did not seem to have much trouble keeping together, at least long enough to get their second rider across the line at the end of three laps, as it was that riders' time that stopped the clock. Nothing really unusual in any of that, pretty typical ttt stuff. It was the circuit race where the twist most affected the goings-on. Each person on a team was given a different colored wrist band - green, red, yellow. The rider wearing green was supposed to lay it all out for the intermediate sprint on lap #2, red wrist band took over on lap #4 for the climb of Salvia, and yellow saved it all for the grand finale to finish lap #6. After each rider, in turn - green, then red - finished their sprint, they could drop out, or choose to remain in the race to help their remaining teammate(s). As you can see, it was in some ways a cool concept, favoring the teams that worked best as a group. In practice, the format proved to be a bit convoluted, and as GLK said, it probably won't be back next time. I have to give them kudos, though, for attempting to shake things up. I also consider it worth mentioning that they decided to keep the association with the late Chris Cono, by continuing to hold the event in his memory.
Alright, that is it. A selection of one hundred thirty-one photos has been made made for the Flickr album - you can check them by clicking.
fifteen minute break
one lap into the circuit race
red sprint - up Salvia Canyon
Neu York - yellow sprint
women's podium - yes, the women had their own race and, though there were only five competitors, there was no slacking off