Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Race report: Palmer

Executive summary: gnats. Lots of 'em.

Expatiation: Protein-enhanced air made breathing more nourishing, thanks to bazillions of gnats hanging in the air. Barry had a few in his nose. I had some in my eyes, lungs, ears. Yum.
Oh--and the race went ok too. CBRC Cat 4 team set a pretty fast pace right at the front with Phil going hard enough to cause us all to wonder "what's up with the going hard, Phil?" It almost worked, though. You could tell people were getting a little psyched out and wondering what the plan was. Turns out Phil just felt like running hot and staying away from Brakey McCrashy and his buds in the main field. My favorite part of the race was when we came to the sand-strewn turn under the bridge and there was no marshall in sight. Which would have been fine if the moto pace had not totally dropped us and been completely out of sight. We turned the corner into a round-about and really pissed off the peloton before Phil figured out which way to go. Luckily he was right.

He led for half of the first lap and I barely had to pull at all. Barry was in there too, hammering away until the pace on the climbs was too much. Then I noticed a couple of guys from Boston Velo talking quietly and smelled an attack forming. I was right (for a change) and got to sneak in behind them as they shot up the right gutter and off the front. They traded hard pulls and I refused to work at all. Then they blew up and the rest of the field caught us, but we stayed together for the rest of the race. Little breaks here and there but nobody really wanted to repeat that move.

Several near-crashes and at least one doozie right behind me. An unmistakable "clack" of a frame hitting the ground and racers going "ooh!" And there was that incredible blowout that sounded like a .357 going off right next to you. A guy in front of me had to brake so hard to avoid a Fred drifting in on him that his rear wheel lifted off the ground. I thanked him for such a nice recovery. At one point I was checking to see if there was a hole on my left to slip into to pass a yo-yo-ing wheel and I drifted to the right, running a hairy-legged hard-man on an ancient Richard Sachs off into the grass. He was totally cool about it and just said "ON YOUR RIGHT!!" I felt so bad I gave him a long pull and we re-joined the front group.

In the end, I learned a lot but my placing was shit. I got 28th, but with the same time as 1st place because it was a big-ass group sprint. For once I didn't get out-gunned at the finish, but out-smarted. By the time the sprint started I was already red-lined and was just slow on the draw. Once I realized that "this is it", there were already five or six bike-lengths (at least) between me and the top 5 and it was over before I got started.

Phil ended up in the second group, in 43rd place and Barry came in just behind him in 50th. So going by the numbers it was not much of an eventful day, but I have this gut feeling that it was one of my more productive races so far. And I'm indebted to Phil and Barry for allowing me to rest so much early on. I stayed pretty fresh and didn't feel like I was at the mercy of the peloton, but actually launched and answered several attacks. I'm also just getting much more confortable in the tight quarters of the middle of the pack--historically the thing that freaks me out the most. Jenny Ives had an awesome race, though she was too humble to admit it. 20th place after launching an extended break that lasted, probably, half her race. I'll let her summarize that one, though, as I only have it second-hand.

In preparation for Jiminy Peak, I could definitely stand to work on sprinting. I totally had these guys on the climbs, no problem. They, however, had me with even less difficulty in the sprints.

Phil and Barry might want to weigh in in case I have mischaracterized any part of this through the subjective filter of my drug-addled memory. Sausage and peppers grinder at the deli was the perfect recovery meal when combined with three Hefeweizens when I got home, by the way.

Sorry I couldn't join on the ride tonight. Got held up at work late and rode home via Font Grove/Krumkill, mashing out all my job-related frustrations through the cranks, in the dark. Ready to race this weekend.


1 comment:

James said...


Sounds like you guys did pretty well. I also heard through another source that Phil was putting in a hard effort at the front.

Good to hear you were up in a break. From what I remember of the course it would be difficult to keep away from the pack. At least someone tried and it sounds like you played it smart.

As for the finish, that has been my experience as well. If you find yourself realizing "this is it" it's usually over. But that is racing - ride and learn.