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 06/02/07 NJ State RR Race Report

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Number of posts : 132
Localisation : Berlin, NJ
Registration date : 2006-10-27

PostSubject: 06/02/07 NJ State RR Race Report   Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:02 pm

Ah...where to begin? I guess you would have to call it a less than stellar day, but we did have a few (very few) shining moments. I'll apologize ahead of time for anybody I fail to mention and for any inaccuracies, I'm doin' this from the "heat of battle" so to speak.

We had solid representation in all categorys today which was good to see. This is always a pretty tough race due to some decent mileage in all categorys and the heat. It wasn't brutally hot, but it was pushin' 90 with some decent humidity. I actually like this kind of weather as I don't seem to fade as much as the day wears on. Of course that could be due to my patented " Sit & Suck" riding style, the goal of which is to do as little work as possible and survive these damn things. I'll just keep trottin' out my "gettin' old" excuse so the guys from other teams don't try and drop me.

Let's start with the 1/2/3. Didn't get to see too much of it. We had Eric, Bob Jansen, and Ronnie out there. It was 95 miles of pure hell I'm sure. That's a long day on a bike at 25 mph+. The feed zone is always exciting as the 1/2/3's don't slow down and like to attack there. I managed to get Eric and Bob their bottles, Bobs was particularly exciting as a Northeast Hardware guy narrowly missed me as I half threw Bob's bag over this guys head. But they got their stuff. Bob managed the best finish with 20th, a pretty good ride considering a lot of those guys are area pro's. Eric came in with the field and the tenacious Ronnie hung on for a field finish. You guys all bust his balls about suckin' wheels, but he manages to hang on and finish some very tough races. Good job!

We all had high expectations in Cat 3, Ryan is easily the strongest rider in that field along with Will O'Donnel from Westwood Velo. They were set for 75 miles and really all I got to see was the finish. We had a solid roster with Ryan, Mark, Steve Smith, Anthony, and Ryan Hemenway. From what I could gather Ryan and Will were at the front most of the race tryin' to establish something, but it ended up all together at the end. Unfortunately two crashes in the finishing straight took out Ryan, Will, L J (Westwood Velo), and half the damn field. Ryan Hemenway managed to come through with a nice 12th place in the sprint. Keith Abruzzesse from Peddler Shop got the win to add to his win at Marlton two weeks ago.

We had high hopes in Cat 5 and did okay. With Dennis (fresh off an "oh - so - close" 2nd place at Somerville last week), Dan, Joey D., Butchy, Reuben, & Boyd; we were stacked. They're race went off at 12:00 and I'm sure it was hot! They were doin' two laps for 38 miles. The field thinned out a bit on the first lap and it came down to a field sprint with Big Dan nailin' down 3rd for our only medal of the day and Joey D. in 4th. Dennis and Boyd got stuck in the back of the field, Boyd got a little tangled up but stayed upright. Peddlers Shop Riders Ed Murphy and Nick Piccone came in mid-pack, Nick's had a rough year with the crashes so I'm sure he felt good about comin' in upright.

The Cat 4 race had by far the biggest field with over 80 riders. It was gonna be a good race with a lot of strong guys from different teams. Westwood velo had six guys, 3-D had Todd Lippin and Angel Martinez, Chris Labreque from Norwood, all the regulars were there. We had a solid shot with Dirty Dave, Stevie Wu, Jonathan (making a guest appearance), Jame Flaherty, Otto,Bob Jaggard,Crazy Rich, and of course the Captain. I like these long races, they usually roll out a little slower than the crazy crits. I even had some time to socialize.Angel from 3 - D came up and congratulated me on my recent 100 race milestone and a guy from Westwood velo, Sean introduced himself and asked if I was The Captain. My fame stretches far and wide through the Cat 4 ranks.

Anyway, back to business. The state road course is a true road circuit. No killer climbs, but a coupla small hills, some nice scenery, some rough road surface, and some decent mileage. You roll out of Bridgeton for about 7 or 8 miles of mostly flat terrain heading towards Greenwich. There's usually some attacks as you turn into town. When you come out of Greenwich there's a nice tree covered downhill stretch followed by a shallow, grinding uphill. Then you blow downhill at 35 MPH+ past a small pond, followed by a little kicker. Then there's "the big hill". Not really much of a climb, but decent by South Jersey standards. Most guys "Big Ring" it in a 17 or 19, I usually shift down to the small ring so I don't get bogged down. Now you are at the halfway point of the loop. After the hill you start to head back, there's a 3 - 4 mile stretch that really wears ya down, it's slightly rolling into the wind and there's always somebody driving the pace. Survive that and you take a detour up into Shiloh, back to Roadstown Road, then flat and fast to a deceptively long uphill finish. The Cat 4's did three laps, 56 miles.

We rolled out at a gentlemenly pace. We must have had a tail wind, we were doin' a steady 24 - 25 and it felt pretty effortless. They drove it hard through Greenwich and the first climb was at 18-20, not bad. We went up the hill in the back at a moderate pace, then the first real attacks started . The next 3 mile stretch heading back the hammers up front were nailin' it at 28 - 30 the whole way. The rest of the first lap was very fast and at least 20 guys got popped. I was thinkin' it's gonna be a short day if this keeps up. I was also thinkin' nobody's gettin' away from this field. The second lap things settled down considerably. At some point Richie decided to break away. I think it was him and two other guys, they had a pretty substantial gap and were out there for the better part of the second lap. Dave and Steve were being attentive and staying at the front. Me and Otto were being totally unattentive and staying at the back, we're at about the same point fitness wise; able to hang, but that's about it. James was riding mid-pack, lookin' good and Bob was keeping me company. Coming out of Greenwich the pace up the first long climb was fast, I got in a little trouble but recovered quickly (stud that I am). By the third lap the pack seemed exhausted and the pace had dropped way off, down around 19 - 20 for a coupla long stretches. I kept telling Otto to get ready, I figured there would be at least one more big move, but it never really came. By this time the field was together, the breaks were reeled in and it was time to get ready for the finish.

As we rolled down Roadstown Road I actually started to feel pretty good. I didn't do a whole lot of work (now there's the understatement of the year ) so I was fresh. I managed to weasel my way through the middle of the pack right up near the front. I was trying to get Dirty on my wheel so I could give him some sort of half ass lead-out, but he ended up jumpin' to the outside behind Steve and Jonathan. At some point Bob was dead on the front pullin' hard on the right side.

The last mile of a race is what I love about this sport . You can feel the electricity, the tension. it's about as dangerous a thing as you can do. I like to be right in the middle of the pack, a row back off the front.It's spooky, but you get a free ride to the finish. And where else can a fifty something, middle aged white boy get a rush like this? There is absolutely nothing like it.My plan is always the same; sit in the whole race, slip slide my way through the pack, and then pick my way through hopin' I get into the top ten.

Somebody went down with a mile to go. First rule of bike racing, never look back at the crash; save yourself! By this time we're rollin' down hill to the finish at 35+. Steve, Jon, and Dirty are out near the center line and they're working too hard. Bob has faded, Otto's behind me somewhere and I'm dead center gettin' ready to go. By the time we hit the 500 m uphill finish Steve and Jon are blown. Went too early and too fast. Richie's back there somewhere, he'd been off the front all day, he's done. Dirty's cramping but tryin' to tough it out. That leaves it up to me. Now there's a plan, the slowest guy on the team is the only one left. I pick my way through the remains of guys dying on the hill, Dave finishes half a wheel in front of me, and none of us manage to make the top twenty. Me and Dave probably were somewhere 20 - 25th. Well, there's always Prospect next week.

So a solid effort by the 4's. You guys all rode strong, you were in the breaks, you were at the front, ya got nothin' to be ashamed of. It's racin' and that's the way it goes. Basically we f----- up, but we'll get 'em next time. Other guys in the top twenty, Todd from 3-D was 12th or 14th, Chris from Norwood was 8th, John Smertneck from Atlantic came in with the field. I didn't see how Angel did. All in all, a good day of hard racin'. Remember why ya do this. We are in the top 1% of the population, how many of the guys you work with could do 56 miles at 24mph on a hot, humid summer day? There is nothing that compares to this sport, anytime you finish a hard race you should have a little smile on your face. Nascar fans watch races, football fans watch the games, we RACE! We're out there doin' it! What could be better?

Next up, Prospect.

Your "from the saddle reporter"

The Captain

Official results are posted on racelistings. The Cat 4's still suck, but not as bad as I thought we sucked. Me and Dirty just missed the top twenty(Dirty was 21st, I was a half wheel back at 22nd). And Dirty pushes back "never" for at least one more race by managing to hold off a hard-charging Captain at the line. My personal goal of finishing in the top twenty was almost attained (not too lofty, but realistic) and the rest of the team finished back in the pack, primarily due to workin' their ass off during the race; particularly Richie who was off the front all day. And by now you all know my game; sit, wait, and grab whatever table scraps I can at the end.

So again guys, good hard race. We just gotta play it a little smarter at the
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