Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Race Report

There was a (road) stage race this weekend at Bird's Hill Park.  I only managed to get there for the road race on Sunday morning.  8am is very early to be starting a road race.  Some might even dismiss it as highly immoderate.  But in a strange way it was nice to be up early, and the East Beach parking lot was bustling with excitement.  The upside to the early start is that you race 2 and a half hours, and you're still done before noon, which was rather nice.
Anyway, the cat 3s, 4s, and 5s started at pretty much the same time, so the cat 5 race was over before mine was and I can't tell you what happened there.  The cat 3s were a smaller group, and they came in in ones and twos after 9 laps around the big loop.  I am similarly unaware of the dynamics in that race.  But in the cat 4 race (aka The only race that matters to 99% of the FGBC road squad), there was little drama.
The early part of the race was marked by the extreme cold.  It was clear and sunny, for the most part, so relief was on the horizon, but wardrobe selection was crucial.  We went around the park a few times.  You know how on our road rides, everybody takes a turn on the front, and if yours wasn't as long or as fast as someone else's, you feel a bit guilty and resolve to pull your own weight more?  Yeah, that doesn't happen in these races.  A couple times I glanced at the computer as I came into the second spot from the front, noted the speed, and then tried to pull at the same pace for a minute or so once I got to the front, and I found myself having slowly ridden away from the pack, who seemed unconcerned about a lone breakaway.  The few attacks that were launched were always marked, reeled in, and then the brakes would come on.
After about 4 or 5 laps, the jackets came off, but not the gloves.  And so the fully intact peloton rolled toward the final uphill, everyone jockeying for position for the field sprint.  I managed to stay near the front, grabbed somebody's wheel when they went, but couldn't come around.
The tactics obviously need work, but it was a good time.  It will be even better with teammates, next time. 

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