Interview with EMC2 member, Gus Rosada
Today we are talking with Gus Rosada of EMC2 regarding his recent overall success in the 4 day stage
race – “ABD Fall Fling”. Sitting at a cocktail table in the Salsaria, located in downtown Elmhurst, several fellow EMC2 racers willing be grilling Rosada on all aspects of the races; ranging from nutrition, training, stress and strategy. Those firing the questions include: Matt Howley, Jim Ward, Steve Bast, Tim Radcliff, Tony Gambino and Jostein Avestad (Fellow racer Jim Landenberger is NA). With his back pressed against the wall Rosada looks fit, confident and poised to take any and all questions.
Q: Gus, did the pressure of holding overall second place after two stages have you considering blood doping, EPO or other?
Rosada: No comment*
*Better back off or this interview is not going anywhere
Q: Gus, can you please tell us a little bit about your history with EMC2, the training and any events that may have contributed to your strong season ending form?
Rosada: Been riding with EMC2 for 3 years and consistently hitting the morning training rides; During the winter, I try to ride outdoors for as long as possible and am not defeated by snow and darkness, will ride in almost any condition to stay off of the indoor trainer. As far as events, I would say that the Century ride/race helped, but I credit the consistent EMC2 morning training rides.
Q: let’s talk about the race, your expectations and how the first day of the Fall Fling went?
Rosada: Well, I came in with no expectations and just wanted to do the event, but the first race went pretty well and I took second place. It was a pretty windy day on the short track at Pella, nobody seemed to want to do any work, especially into the wind. EMC2’er, Matt Howley, had raced earlier in the day and he had tipped me that this may be the case and to go with any breaks. Before I knew it, a group of about 4-5 riders were off of the front and as expected nobody was willing to do the work to bring them back, so I moved up front and was able to bridge up to them. Even after that effort, no other riders were doing any pulls or chasing down the breaks and I find myself riding upfront, again. A Tower Cycling rider broke off the front and I was glad to grab a wheel, and when look back there was nobody chasing us down, I can only imagine that other Tower riders were blocking for us and not chasing their own. We were a two man break with 30 minutes to go in the race and I was a little concerned about the amount of time remaining. It worked out and we held them off. This was a pivotal move, because after doing most of the work for the group and then keeping the peloton at bay for the remaining 30 minutes it was a real confidence boost and had me believing that my form was solid enough to compete for the Overall. After the race, the Tower rider that I had teamed up with advised that he would not compete in the individual time trial the next day. That was good news.
Q: So going into day #2, the individual time trial, you are in second place overall and what was going on in your mind and how did you prepare?
Rosada: I knew if I road well that I would be in good shape on account of the points from day #1 and the Tower rider not riding in the TT. As for the preparation, I used my road bike for the TT and I clipped on the aero drop bars that morning. There was nothing else to do; I had ridden the course before. Of course, I ate sensibly, hydrated and slept well…
Q: We have all seen the fancy equipment that rolls out for TT’s and you one of the race leaders are sitting on the starting block, sporting a road bike with “clip-ons”, were you intimidated? Did you feel that you could compete?
Rosada: I have a “no look” policy and I figure that I got what I got. I took 6th place and raced the course one minute faster than a year ago and was happy with that. Additionally, this result placed me second in the overall.
Q: Stage 3 looms, how was your training and state of mind during the between week?
Rosada: Nervous! The training was the normal EMC2 ride, that’s it, but as we rode we did discuss race tactics and possible threats that could come from larger teams, like ABD and Tower. All the talk did add to the pressure, but did not affect me much because my plan was to ride the best that I could and there is not much more you can do. Of course, I did not want to disappoint.
Q: Stage #3 has a very large and competitive field with over 50 racers; you end up winning 1st place in the stage out of a bunch sprint. But the day started off a little funny; the organizers threw a curve ball and changed the planned course, adding a more technical twist with a 180 degree turn. You had more EMC2 riders join you in this race and how did that work out and how did the race go?
Rosada: It felt really good to have the guys around, even just to see a friendly face goes a long way. The team reminded me before and during the race to stay off the front, out of the wind and be sure to grab their wheels; it also helps to have a team mate open a gap when you need to get in the slip stream. We all had the top competitors’ jersey numbers written on masking tape and adhered to our bikes top tube, we were marking them. The start of the race was a little packed and a few riders complained about the large field start. The race featured several intense accelerations, but the large field provided riders in addition to my EMC2 boys to reel in the breaks, plus we kept an eye on our marks. Crossing the start/finish line in the last lap was a little confusing and I did not hear the ‘last lap bell’, Ward told me that it had rang and we needed to move up. We were not panicking because the laps were over two miles long and took about six minutes each, there was time. Coming out of the 180 degree turn slowed the field (again) and put us into a head wind, here we were able to move up quite a few positions. Going down the back stretch, the pace helped by a tailwind was whipping up fast, making passing riders tough. With about 800 meters to go, exiting the sweeping turn the pace was 36 mph, we were moving into the cross wind and my team mate rode this 300-400 meter section to the final turn as if it were the finish of the race. Reaching the final turn I saw an opportunity to get off Ward’s wheel as he was now going wide (and slowing) and jumped Steve Bast on an inside lane and used him for about ten pedal strokes. Now I am up to full sprint, my confidence is high and I just gotta go! – All out! And I do! As I hit the line, I realize that the sweetest thing was that I had literally just passed my main competitor at the finish. This places me in a tie for 1 st, overall.
Q: Stage #4 you are tied for first place. What was your preparation?
Rosada: Well, I was actually feeling great the night before. Had a solid dinner, exchanged a few emails/texts with fellow team mates on tactics/strategy, and then pretty much slept like a baby.
Q: So there you were on the 4th and final race day, what do you recall?
Rosada: In the morning, all I could think about was not wanting to let the team down. As we gathered at the starting line, a few riders from other teams introduced themselves and asked me to point out my main competitors. Some of my team mates had been talking me up before the race, and asked others to help up if it made sense for them. The race itself grouped both 4’s and 40+4’s, and was extremely fast paced. For the most part, I was able to hang back in the pack as my EMC’er team mates did a great job strategically reeling in several key attacks. I thought this must be what it’s like to ride pro, watching fellow racers burn match after match for me and the benefit of the team. During all this, my main competition rode as smart as a fox and never left my wheel the entire race. Coming in to the last lap, my team mates had done great work helping me get into position and it was now up to me as we came into the final stretch. In the end, I was just barely edged out at the finish line but very happy with taking 2nd overall and extremely proud of my team mates.
Q: Gus, any closing thoughts?
Rosada: People that have ridden with me know that I am helper. If there is ever a mechanical issue, like a chain derail, gear problem, broken spoke, flat tire or other I am there to help as much as I can and same goes for keeping riders with the group and working them back up if necessary. It was an unusual situation for me to be the one getting the help and it sure felt great to have EMC2 there for me.