My how things change...
[the threat of rain] + [a hilly course] = much lower attendance
I gotta say, at 10 AM I was like, "No way am I going to race in the rain again!" The around 3 PM the sun came out and my attitude improved quite a bit. I picked up Dave H and off we went. The drive down was dry and at the track most of the standing water had evaporated and it was relatively warm! After my last minute bathroom stop I even removed my seatpost fender. No knee warmers or gloves required. Good times.
The course was clockwise up the escape road and Rory M assured us that the big holes at the bottom of the hill were 'fixed'... Whatever. :)
There were about 30 masters, a far cry from the 70 we had when attendance peaked a month or so ago. Still, some of the best were there including Nikos M, Matt H, Sean P, his teammate Jeff, Tom H, Eric O, Kerry F (welcome back after your crash!) and of course my teammate Dave.
Having hit it hard this weekend I was glad the first two laps were ridden at a very sane pace. In spite of doing nothing yesterday my legs needing waking up! Lap three was the first prime – the alarm bell was ringing.
I knew I could not win the sprint so hung back. But like a total rookie I hung back too far and when the first guys across the line kept going I was faced with a big gap and the entire pack on my wheel. Damn, I should know better.
So now I got to play the supporting role. Which was okay I guess, my legs were still complaining some. I do recall turning to Sean and saying something like, "How does it feel knowing the race is up the road?" Not so bad really, we both had teammates up there.
This one ByrneInvent rider kept surging and riding pretty strong so I had to cover him a few times and at first Cucina Fresca and Old Town Bicycle made an attempt to close the gap but it was not happening. After the second prime (maybe even before?) it was obvious that this move was not coming back so I figured it was safe to try something myself. About this time Jeff suddenly got dropped from the break. Turns out he had gone for the second prime and blew himself up. Ouch. Been there.
At this point Sean let slip some sort of expletive and went to the front. The ByrneInvent rider did not seem to like the fact that I was not contributing to the chase, what can you do? You can attack.
The next time up the hill I waited until we were past the summit and then gave it some gas. I got away with Tom (for being 50+ this guy can ROCK it), Matt and one other rider I think. We stayed away for one lap but then got reeled back in as we hit the hill. So I tried again.
This time I got away with Matt, Sean, this ByrneInvent rider and this time it worked, we lasted until the finish.
At first everyone was working and the gap was shrinking just a little. I had no problem if we brought the leaders back because then there would be two of us and only one from all the other teams. But then as we go closer Matt eased up and I was getting tired so the gap stabilized. Okay, were now racing for 4th place.
I was feeling pretty toasted so offered Matt a leadout. He declined. Oh well, I ended up on the front anyway and figured what the hell. With tired legs you are not going to win up this hill so I tried to surge as the hill steepened and bang, everyone went past me. I managed to pull back Matt and we rolled across the line together. I tried to push him and then he gave me a hand sling. :) Sean and the BI guy obviously had a stronger finish than the two of us.
Turns out Nikos won – good for him. When he is fit he is incredibly hard to beat. It was also good to see Kerry drive the break. That guy is a powerhouse and he is no spring chicken! Definitely an inspiration to any masters racer.
I'm so glad it stayed dry! It was also pretty calm so no headwind for a change. And with the exception of those first two laps the race was not slow as we averaged about 24 mph.
|Time of Day
|upper 50s, mostly cloudy, calm
|clockwise up the escape road
|race – 22 miles
|race – 55 min
1st prime – pack
2nd prime – pack
finish - 7th
|knit shoes covers, bib shorts, Craft short sleeve undershirt, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, cap