Enough of the pro-dopers, we are what this sport is really all about. Remember, even when you're gettin' dropped, havin' a bad race, and you're disgusted with your performance; we are NOT spectators in the game,we're out there doin' it!!! The last place guy who gets dropped and lapped is far the better man (woman) than those that sit on the couch, beer in hand, watchin' Nascar, the NFL, or major league baseball. Listen to these guys on Monday morning and how they talk about the pitcher who got shelled or the quarterback who threw the 4th quarter pick. To here 'em talk, you'd think these guys were on their way to the Hall of Fame. Yes, I watch major league sports; but I'm also out there bustin' it every week and I know how it feels to give it everything you got and come up short; or better yet to come up HUGE!
Editorial over. Last night there was a great turn-out for a mid-week crit; I counted 28 guys in the Cat 4/5 race; the 1/2/3 field looked to have 40 - 50. We had me, Otto, Steve, Chris, and Caleb. Norwood had Jimmy, Fernando, new aquisition John Smertneck( a guy I've raced with for the last three seasons), and two guys I don't know. Peddler's had Drew Tindell, Nick Piccone, Wayne Povey, and Eric Toff. The rest of the field was mostly unattached riders and a coupla guys I knew as regulars. This race has come down to a battle (this was the third one in the series) between us and Norwood. Since their best rider Chris Labreuqe moved up to Cat 3 we have pretty much dominated the series. Chris Fritz took second behind Labreuqe in the first race and won the last one. So it looked to be a battle between us,Norwood, and Peddler's. Havin' Drew out there last night gave us one more guy to watch as he is a seasoned rider who can sprint.
We were scheduled for 40 minutes +3 laps which worked out to about 17 laps. The wind was pretty brisk, but the temp's were perfect. I told the guys to take it easy for the first two laps (at least until I got warmed up) and I was lookin' for Steve and Caleb to attack and Chris to save it for a last lap all-in move. Me and Otto would try and catch a wheel for a result.
The first coupla laps were at a steady, modest pace with us and Norwood at the front. Steve made the first serious move when he attacked on the back straight and Jimmy from Norwood went with him. It was probably too early, but this move had a chance. Jimmy is probably their strongest 4 and we all know what Steve can do. I was feelin' strong enough to stay at or near the front and it was pretty much me,Otto, and Caleb keepin' the pace steady to give the break a chance. A couple of the unattached guys made some strong efforts, but to know avail. After about four laps, Jimmy faded and dropped back to the pack; Steve couldn't hold it on his own, so it all came back together.
There were several minor attacks the next few laps including one of my patented, pitiful "off the front for 500 meters and 90 seconds" launches. With about (5) to go Caleb went and one other guy chased. Eric from Peddlers tried to bridge up a lap later, but he faded. I went into full agressive blocking mode. Nick (also from Peddlers) went to the front and pushed the pace for about a lap and a half with me doggin' 'em the whole way. He kept lookin' back waitin' for me to take a pull which was not going to happen. He kept the pace just fast enough to discourage the field from coming around but not enough to catch Caleb. Nice. After he gave up another guy tried the same thing and I rode his ass around for a lap before he quit. At some point two guys got away and were probably half way across the gap. We didn't think they would stay away, but with three to go me and Steve decided to close it down. Correction, make that Steve decided to close it down and I hung on to his wheel hopin' he wouldn't drop me. Steve pounded up the finishing straight into a strong wind at around 26 - 27 mph and it took him all of about a half a lap to reel 'em in.
Now the race was set. Caleb stayed away and ended up with a well earned victory (his third of the season). With a half lap to go Steve and Chris were on the front; Chris took off and Steve gapped him out, by the time the field reacted Chris was gone for a nice 3rd place (giving him the unofficial series win with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd). The field pretty much shattered coming into the last turn at 30+mph. The top ten in the field hit the last turn and everyone had a nice open shot at the finish line.It was basically a drag race to the line; it's about 400m, slightly uphill into the wind. Drew from Peddlers got the field sprint for 4th (just out of the money!), Steve was 5th or 6th, I think Otto was in the top ten somewhere (let me know), Eric from Peddlers nipped me at the line for 8th, and they didn't have me listed (only ten places), but I'm pretty sure I was 10th (I was number 73, they had 78 down as 10th). Worst case, 11th or 12th.
So a great tactical race, we rode well and pretty much controlled things. The Norwood guys rode well also; they're about a year behind us experience wise but with John Smertneck over there they should start to improve tactically(John's a lot like me, not the fastest guy around, but able to hang and work with the team). And of course ya gotta watch Drew, he knows how to stay at the front, conserve his energy, and he has a wicked sprint. And the rest of the Peddler guys are gettin' stronger. So a lotta fun tonight.
In the 1/2/3 Big Shawn (Peddlers), Tom "Toby" Weatherall ( Kellys, used to be a Beacon guy), and an Ideal Tile guy got away and stayed away with Shawn just missin' the win by half a wheel, he couldn't quite get around Ideal Tile. Toby gets a nice third to go with his win at Mt Holly on Saturday. Chris Labreuqe had a great ride, he was in the third break for either 6th or 7th. He also spent a lot of time early on chasin' the break at the front of the field.
So thanks to all the other riders and teams for an entertaining, safe race.
Now, who's up for Lakewood Sunday?