Racin' in the park, now thats what I'm talkin' about! The season has resumed after last weeks unlikely snow storm (which canceled all races in the area). The weather in Newark was quite nice; no rain, roads were dry, temps in the mid to upper forties (boy, I sound just like a real weatherman).Not a bad day for an early season race.Today's festivity's kicked off with me, Ryan, Caleb, Richie, and Jonathan in the 4/5, a 14 mile road race. The pace has been modest so far this season and the plan was simple: DOMINATION!! We were gonna kick their ass! We were gonna mount attack after attack! We were gonna.......well, you get the picture. Only problem was everyone came to race today. Right from the gun the pace was fast. I figured after the first lap things would slow down a bit, but it never did. We were doin' around 25-26 mph most of the way with the attacks pushin' the pace over 30 mph for brief stretches. Westwood Velo and Colavita had a bunch of their young hotshot kids attacking and driving the pace for most of the race. On our end it was Caleb doin' all the work at the front. He chased every break and was
drivin' the pace himself for most of the race; he was doin' some damage. Ten to fifteen riders were blown off the back by the end. Richie made a few stabs, Ryan was playin' it smart waitin' for the right moment to unleash his particular brand of two-wheeled fury, and me and Jon were pretty much sittin' about mid-pack. I had told Ryan if I had any legs I was gonna go on the hill on the last lap. I decided to make a move on the second lap and test the waters. I charged up the hill and attacked comin' out of the cone, passed Caleb,and hit it hard. After 30 seconds of blistering effort I turned around to see how much of a gap I had on the field. It turned out to be about three feet. Oh well, not today. I told Ryan scrap plan "A" and just go ahead and win the race.
On the last lap we all got around the cone in good shape and started our
charge to the finish. Caleb had a decent gap and Jerry from Peddler Shop
tried to bridge up. Ryan was playin' the good team mate, waitin' to se if
Caleb was gonna make it. The whole mess came together under the bridge about 500 meters and Ryan made his move. As has been the case for the past three weeks he coasted to an easy win, although I think he's slippin' a bit. He only won by about 50 meters today. Richie finished off the longish sprint with a very nice 5th place, I came in for 15th puttin' some serious whup-ass on Jonathan who was 18th ( I'm still smartin' over that chicken-shit 3rd he got two weeks ago after I got stuck in the pile-up). Caleb finished with the pack, completely blasted from riding a very hard, aggressive race. No glory (other than here), great race.
And of course we weren't finished yet. Me, Richie, and Jonathan (ahh...the
rivalry continues) lined up for 30 miles of 3/4 war. Another decent sized
field of fifty. Mark Cowin was lined up behind us to start the 45+. Wait a
minute....... Mark? Anybody seen Mark? Yo Mark. Mark was nowhere to be found, turns out he overslept ( hate when that happens). No doubt due to his preposterous work schedule. Having an extremely successful career really sucks. He even had his bike flown in from Phoenix to Newark just for this event. Maybe he'll wake up in time for the Pine Cone. Anyway the 3/4's rolled off the line and my plan for this race was very simple.....SURVIVE! These races have become fairly tactical this year. Each week several breaks get away and eventually one of them sticks. Today was no different. The second break looked like it might go as a group of 5 or 6 riders bridged up to the fron tbreak to form a group of 12. They had a decent gap and stayed away for about 4 or 5 miles. The pack ramped the pace on the back stretch along the river and brought the whole thing back together. With abot two laps to go, a break of 4 or 5 got away including Westwood Velo's William O'Donnell who won the last two weeks. That group managed to stay away and William his third win in a row. Looks to me like William and Ryan are on a collision course when Ryan upgrades. If those two get away ain't nobody gonna catch 'em.
Jonathan had the best position in the field sprint, but probably managed no better than top twenty. Richie was in there somewhere, and I rolled in at the back of the bunch; completey satisfied with getting in some serious
racing mileage and hangin' with the cat 3's.
So that gives the 4/5 squad nine top tens with Ryan's three wins leading the group. Even taking out Ryan's off the hook performances we're off to a very solid start.
Tomorrow, Prospect Park! Time to go to war with the denizens of Gotham City. And next week, of course our big event, the Pine Cone on 4/1.
That's it, your "from the saddle" and hangin' tough reporter, Mr. Ed