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 06/17/07 Lakewood Blue

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

PostSubject: 06/17/07 Lakewood Blue   Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:42 pm

"Be careful what ya ask for, ya just might get it!"

I learned the meaning of that old saying tonight, but more on that later.

Tonights' crit at Lakewood provided some very interesting lessons in team racing. It also proved that the Captain's influence is felt through-out the peloton.

Lakewood is your basic longish (1.2 miles) crit course. It can be fast, or it can be slow when the wind is up (which it was tonight). There's a long, modest uphill finishing straight, a right turn at the top, you wind about 400m to another right, all downhill to the 3rd right onto another modest rise, 500m to turn 4, a very fast slight downhill into the 5th and last turn, a quick sweeper to the finishing straight. These races have a small draw on weeknights; but there are huge fields for the weekend events (7/29). There will be two more Tuesday night races on 7/10 and 7/24. Check-out Bike Reg. I've got clearance from work to do the next two, and my wife hasn't figured out yet that I raced tonight (gotta remember to un-pin the number from my jersey before it goes in the wash, been tripped up by that one before).

We had 22 for the 4/5 race; me, Jonathan, Caleb, and Chris Fritz for Pro Pedals. Norwood had Chris Labreq and four other guys. John Smertneck and a junior from Atlantic, a guy each from Somerset and Wendy's, and other assorted wanna-be racers. It was obvious who was gonna dominate this race as half the guys had that "were screwed" look in their eyes before things got started. Caleb gets the "Crazy Rich" award for riding his bike, hoppin' a bus, and then ridin' to the race. God only knows what he was thinkin', I guess my man wanted to race real bad. Chris was moanin' about how bad his legs felt from Sunday's race (typical bikee behavior). The officials gave us a neutral lap, we were doin' 40 minutes plus three.

So we rolled around the course behind the pace car and as we come to the last turn Chris starts to roll off the front. We come around the last turn and he can't wait any longer and he starts to hit it. Chris Labreq from Norwood senses trouble and bridges up real quick and all of a sudden, your race is set. You've got two strong teams in the pack, two strong riders off the front, a textbook race scenario. The Captain's in his glory, nothin' I like better than "not chasin' because my team mate is in the break". You could consider it my specialty. Some guys are sprinters,some guys are time trialers; I do my best work being a "non-chaser". It's genetic.

So we're rollin' around at a reasonable pace. We've got Caleb and Jon and one of the Norwood guys on the front. Everytime the Norwood guy started jack-in' the pace I would tell him to back it down, give his team mate some time. I was in my glory, tellin' these guys to slow down, tellin' them to pick-up the pace. When Somerset or Atlantic (to their credit) would attack or try and bridge; we'd ramp it up and run it down. Text book racing that you don't see to often in Cat 4 & 5. We were already starting to pick -up lapped riders about 20 minutes in when things got interesting. Some hotdog (who was already down a lap) started yellin' that we were goin' too slow. Keep in mind we already lapped this guy and it was us and Norwood on the front the whole night. I told 'em we had guys away in the break. He responded this was a "training race" and we should be riding harder. Training race? Let's see, I paid money, I pinned on a number, and there's money to be won. That makes it a RACE!. So I decided okay,you wanna go fast? The break was a half lap ahead with six laps to go; they were gone! I jumped to the front of the pack, yelled to Jon, Caleb, and Norwood( who by now was doing everything I told 'em. Go figure.) To GUN IT! I figured this guy wants to go fast, we'll go fast. And the boys jakced it. We're flyin' down the back straight at 32mph and they are absolutely killin' me. We turn uphill into the wind and Jonathan's still poundin' 25 mph. I figure when he turns into the head wind he'll back it down. Nope. So we dropped the "training race" guy and by the time we came through the wind I was gettin' gapped bad and ended up gettin' dropped. Like I said, be careful what you ask for! So Jon drops back to try and pull me up; but I wave 'em off. I settle into "off the back TT mode" at some slow speed with two Norwood guys on my wheel and they simply cannot pull. I ride the next four laps with them behind me. On the last lap I attack several times and drop the one guy and I drop the other guy in the sprint ending up with another 9th place. Yeah, I know; there were only 22 guys out there. But I worked way harder for tonight's top ten than I did for the one on Sunday. It's also a reminder of why you always finish a race, you never know where you are. I'll take it.

Meanwhile the real racers had things wrapped up. Our Chris ceded the sprint to Norwood's Chris as he was fading near the end and Labreq was doin' the harder pulls. So he gets a great 2nd place with a wire to wire break. Outstanding effort! And Congratulations to Chris Labreq for a nice job. Caleb took off with a last lap flyer for third place and the last money
slot; paying for his bus fare. Another solid effort by him. Jon came in 4th(to go with his 4th on Sunday) and he rode at the front all night , also proving he is back to puttin' the Captain in his place. So we had all four guys in the top ten; not bad.

We're starting to get a lot of compliments from other teams about our team racing. You don't see a lot of organization on other squads. The biggest problem is everybody wants to win! It takes a lot of discipline to sit tight when you see the your team mate goin' away and your chance to win going with it. The reality is no break can make it if the pack decides to chase. We're gettin' results because you guys are strong and you grasp (and seem to enjoy) the team concept. If you're strong, you'll get your turn. If you're not strong enough to win, it's a lot more fun riding in a team capacity than just sittin' on the back passin' the time.

I guess the best compliment I got in a long time was when one of the Norwood guys told me " my team mates won't do what I tell 'em; but they were listening to you!" Like I said , the Captain's influence ripples through the peleton. Gotta love it!

So great job tonight guys, especially you Chris with your "sore" legs. My legs should be so sore!

Until next time , your "from the saddle and dropped at the end" reporter,

The Captain
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