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 07/07/07 Branchbrook Park

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

PostSubject: 07/07/07 Branchbrook Park   Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:26 pm

(more on this later)

So we had a light showing today at the races with me and Otto being the lone Pro Pedals riders doing the 4/5 race. Eric was set to do the 1/2; but it got canceled due to light turn-out. Wally did bring the little Wally's up to do the junior races; I'll expect an email later from him to give us a full update. I do believe I saw one of the mini-Wally's take second in one of the races. We'll have to wait for the proud Dad's report.

We had 24 starters on the line; a small showing to be sure. There was a lot of other activity today with Prospect Park, Central Park, and New Briton all running; plus a number of riders are away at the Nationals. Me and Otto smelled opportunity (or maybe my deodorant wasn't working), maybe we could get'er done today. A win would sure be nice!.

Branchbrook runs in two variations. The "short" course that they use for the Cherry Blossom Race is a two mile loop that goes around a lake with only one real turn. It is flatter than a kindergarten school girl and rocket-ship fast. The "long version" adds a long, shallow (2 -3 %) climb with a hair pin turn at the top and turns it into a nice road race loop of just under 5 miles. I was lookin' for some Road points to pad my lead in the Cat 4 50+ rankings; again I smelled opportunity ( actually this time I think Otto may have passed gas; but I'm not sure. I know I smelled something). We were doin' the long course today with spot-on perfect weather.

The only bummer was the start time; 6:30 am ,ouch!!! So up at 3:00 am(double ouch!!!) and make the 2 - hour drive to the park. Pick up my number, hit the rest room, quick warm up, and we're on our way. Right from the gun some stupid college kid takes off and the rest of the pack let's out a collective yawn.About two miles later the pack is still rollin' along at a pedestrian 22-23 mph, I decide to roll to the front and start "the chase". Next thing I know I'm doin' 26-27 mph with a slight tail wind and I'm way off the front. I'm about half-way across and decide to just cruise and wait for the pack. Doesn't take too long; now they're startin' to roll. We pick up "the kid" and the race is under way. The pace settles in to a very comfortable 23 - 24 mph; but never really amps up. Several riders make half-hearted attacks. Otto goes out two or three times. I go off after the cone on the downhill (I do my best work on downhills or with tail winds); but nothing real serious. Meantime "the kid" has made several attacks and I'm startin' to think he might have something in the tank.

The only real excitement came when someone broke a spoke mid pack and on several occasions when we had to dodge joggers( Richie would love it here, you're allowed in the joggers lane as long as it's unoccupied); other than that it was very uneventful.

On the last lap "the kid" made a hard move and Otto jumped his wheel; but at this stage in the race the pack was responding to every little move and shutting things down. They never got more than 50m off the front. The pace had quickened to around 26 - 27 mph; not super fast but quick enough that no one was getting away.Guys were surprisingly tired goin' up the hill; I waited for the attacks coming around the cone; but it all stayed together. My plan was to stay between 5th and 10th into the sprint and to stay away from the inside where I got crashed out twice earlier in the season. Me and Otto came under the bridge with 1000m to go in perfect position. Otto was on the outside and I was a bike in, in the middle where I like it.

The sprint at Branchbrook is loooonnngggg! You come under a bridge, there's a very slight rise, and you swoop back to the right. At this point there's still 500m to go. Leave too soon and you'll be hung out to dry.Get trapped inside and there's a good possibility you'll get run into the curb."The Kid" jumps after the bridge; but as it turns out; he's got nothin'(he ends up 15th, we spanked his ass).As we crested the rise Otto was way outside with a clear path to the finish. I got a little trapped behind some blown riders, had to brake, and then swung to the inside on the finishing straight with a clear path ahead. I love the final sprint, it is the ultimate rush in this sport! I'll never understand the TT'ers and the guys that sit out the sprint; this is where the action is! Of course, it's also where a lot of the pain is; road rash hurts!

So we charge to the line with Otto nailin' down the final podium spot (3rd place) and the Captain notching his third top ten in three weeks with 8th. Not a win, not stellar; but not bad. Otto is officially" back in shape" now that he's soundly thrashed me in the last two races and I'm holding my condition past the half way point of the season. I hear guys talkin' about gettin' burned out and tired around this time of year; not me! As Doc Holiday (Val Kilmer) said in Tombstone "Why, I believe I'm in my prime".

So tomorrow, Marlton! We'll have the full squad in the 4/5 ( Richie,Chris, Steve, Big Dan, Otto,me, and who else?). Me and Dennis will be in the 45+ and we have a bunch of us in the 35+; Eric, Otto, Chris, and Richie for sure.

That's it 'till tomorrow.

The Captain
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