Same-day race reports! Only when it's raining outside!
I haven't had a full weekend off from work in a month, and was looking forward to a nice relaxing couple of days. So naturally, 7AM Sunday morning found me in my element: driving 80mph solo down 95S on six hours of sleep while listening to emo and having a spirited and profanity-laced argument with my GPS. Amateur road racing is exactly as refined and gentlemanly as Embrocation and Rapha would have you believe. Maybe they know something I don't.
For the five people reading this blog that haven't been to Ninigret before, it's a dedicated figure-eight bicycle track in the middle of a field in Charlestown, RI. This means that there aren't curbs or potholes, and if someone does something offensive in a corner you can just hop out and ride the grass till they decide to ride away and offend someone else. A few different southern New England teams that we don't see all the time in Boston show up regularly to these races. Some of these riders are fast and work well together, while others ride carbon wheels that look like relics from the early, flaming-wreckage days of the space program. The usual compliment of GLV, Threshold, and others from our fair city also made the trip.
The weather shamans had been predicting rain for our race, but as we staged the sky looked exactly the same as it had for the past five hours. With the pavement on course having a well-deserved reputation for removing skin like a belt sander (seriously, ask Rosenholtz), dry weather was a relief. The gun went off, and Tim Durrin (non-Internet famous Durrin, but a very nice dude) rode up to me and asked me if I was going to win. I asked why anyone would think that, and he responded "Because you're fast". Such kind and misinformed words have rarely been spoken.
It became fairly obvious that nothing was going away without a CLR presence in it. They had a half-dozen riders who alternated between starting breakaways and sitting on the front blocking for their friends already in the aforementioned breakaways. This became significant when an 8 man break (including CLR) snuck off the front following a prime sprint. After a full lap of watching the gap grow slightly larger, I decided this was an important move and I should probably act like a bike racer. I attacked up the home stretch, made up more than half the distance to the break, and then hit the long straightaway moving away from the start/finish. At this point the break either got motivated or I got slower (let's go with option A for my self-esteem). After a full lap off the front and still 100 yards back from the break, I sat up, was reabsorbed, and watched GLV's skinsuit watts bring back the last of the gap.
Now I was hanging out at the back of the pack recovering, but we all know what happens at the back of a 3/4 field. At seven laps to go, some misguided souls crossed wheels, creating tragedy and havoc for those around them. I missed most of the carnage, but had enough of a panic stop on top of a bicycle missing a rider that I decided to use my God-given free lap. After disentangling damaged bikes from damaged riders (sorry about your collarbone, friend), I jumped back in. Nothing was getting away for the rest of the race - a few brave individuals tried, but didn't last longer than half a lap. Michael Brier went hard with two laps to go, an identical move to the one he tried at Yale in the P123 crit two weeks earlier. I had jumped hard to mark him then, but let others do the work this time.
With one to go I had good position, and it was pretty apparent it was coming down to a sprint finish. I am a terrible sprinter, so this made me a little sad, but not as sad as if the 8 man break I had failed to bridge to earlier had stayed away. Coming around the back side of the course I got boxed in and momentarily freaked out, but then realized that Paul Curley was right next to me. For those not in the know, Paul Curley could escape from North Korean prison if you gave him a bicycle. I followed the disc wheel out of the snag and hit the sprint hard for what seemed like a top ten finish, and some mediocre payout to validate my efforts. BUT IT WAS NOT TO BE. Apparently a 545 Velo rider nipped me by a tire and relegated me to 11th. This is especially tragic because everyone knows all Masters riders are rich, whereas I'm riding a 13-month-old drivetrain and can't even afford tires for my race wheelset. That $10 could have really made a difference in my life, you jerk.
On the plus side, our new kits look and feel fantastic (thanks Castelli and New England Athletic) and it seems like I have decent legs going into the GLV vs. B2C2 throat-punching contest also known as the Blue Hills Classic in two weeks (also the third round of the Children's Hospital Boston Worker Drone Grand Prix, or 'CHBWDGP').