First off, thanks God for holdin' off on the rain; much appreciated. And thanks to the folks who ran the races. They made a smart move choppin' each race by two laps; it saved them from having to lop off 5 laps from the later races. It's a long day for the people runnin' this thing, they did a great job.
A coupla quickee's. First off, good to see Joe Yacono from Peddler's back on the bike and finishing the 35+. He's been (successfully) battling throat cancer and was racing with a feeding tube hangin' out of his gut. Everything is pointing to a full recovery and he has our best wishes.
We lost Caleb to a broken hand, he'll be back in a few weeks. He was one of our favorites to win the Cat 4 and was sorely missed. We managed to get 'er done anyway!
The results are already up on usacycling.org. Nice.
And, over-all, these friggin' races were FAST!!! It seems like every race was lightening-bolt quick today.The women's race and Cat 5 in particular seemed much faster than in previous years.
First race up for us was the 35+ with Eric, Jason,Ronnie,and Bob Jansen. I saw Eric make several moves and Jason did what he always does, gave it one big shot at the end, but he couldn't hold it. We'll get 'em next year. In a repeat of last year Dave Hudson of the Mambo's took the win (damn I hate these guys!) with Big Shawn Teske of Peddlers getting on the podium for third.
Next up was me and Mark in the 45+. I had planned on savin' it (savin' what some of you will ask) for the Cat 4 , but I figured I wanted to come up early and watch the Cat 3, so I might as well race. The 45+ had the biggest field of the day with 65 finishers and who knows how many starters. My plan was to stay in the front half of the field and try and get Mark in position for whatever he had left in 'em. A full year of flyin' back and forth to the west coast literally several times a week has worn him down, not to mention the lack of training, but you never know. The race was fast, right around 26 mph, but it wasn't too brutal. You really can't feel the attacks because you're already goin' so damn fast. Some guy goes off the front at 30 mph while the pack is doin' 27. Yawn. We'll see you back on in a few minutes (seconds?). I settled into a nice position and was pretty much doin' the Thursday night thing; goin' round in circles at high speed and actually feeling pretty good. Last time up the hill in the back I was in the top 15, I dropped back to pick up Mark on the outside and started my devastating ( did I say devastating? I meant embarrassingly mediocre) sprint to the line. Mark didn't have it today, I think he's cooked right now (he'll be back). I ended up in 22nd with Mark pullin' across in 34th. Bob Jansen had a pretty active race, he was near the front most of the day and made several attempted breaks, but I think the pace was simply too fast for anything to stick. And it wasn't the kind of race where we could do any blockin'. It was way to hard to get to the front and one or two guys weren't gonna slow things down. Bob makes his moves and if he can't get away, he usually sits out the field sprint ,making him considerably smarter than me. I'll risk life and limb for what ever table scrap of a finish I can get.
Next up was Cat 3 with Ryan, Chris Fritz, and Anthony. Ryan was a little too active early on, but with only 18 laps you really couldn't let anything go. There was some promise in an early break with Ryan, John Nyman, and two other guys; but it never really got away. Anthony did some real nice "domestique" work pullin' Ryan across the gap several times. In the end it came down to a field sprint with a lot of bumpin' and grindin' and Chris and Ryan finishing 16th and 17th; Anthony rolled through in 38th having done what he could for the team. Keith from Peddlers got the win to go with his win in the State Road Race; very well done!
In the junior races the little Wally's(Tim and Chris)came through with 3rd and 5th; but more importantly beatin' the mini-mambo(Matt Mestres) and the baby beacon ( Spencer Campbell).Good to see the rivalry carry over to the next generation.
For once I had a real interest in the women's race. With super-beast Caleb side lined it was up to his lovely ( and also beastly; on the bike that is) wife Beth to bring home the bacon for the Bonilla's. And that's my quotient of "B" words for this report. She was up against the 1/2/3/4's and really only has two or three races under her belt; but she is an absolute natural. Along with riding strong she seems to have an inate feel for racing ( runs in the family, perhaps); knowing when to go, when to sit. Anyway, she rode real strong finishing 6th over all and first Cat 4. Well Done!!
I believe Eric was our only guy in the 1/2/3. It looked like a brutal race. At one point a big group of twenty were away and I thought that was it, but it all came back together. Then there was attack after attack with three groups finishing about 15 seconds apart. Big Shawn came through in 4th for a solid day. Eric finished with the second group in 14th for a decent finish in a very hard race.
Cat 4 was our best shot for a win today; but we lost a few guys what with Chris upgrading, Caleb sidelined, and Otto MIA.That left it to me, Jonathan, Steve, Dirty Dave, Richie, and Joey D. I'd been tellin' the guys all week that Steve and Dave were our best shot. The plan was for Joey and Richie to attack early, me and Otto pull at the end, and Steve and Dave to sit. Jonathan was our "free-lancer". And it pretty much played out to a "T". The pace was too fast for any break aways. Joey made one attempt half-way through, but he lasted about half a lap. He also unfortunately crashed when he got pushed into the curb on the inside before the hill. He seemed okay physically, not sure how much abuse his Cannondale took. His wheels are a few grams lighter, that should help.
There was a slightly more serious break that developed, but Steve attacked and the field responded and closed that one down. Big Ed Murphy from Peddlers spent some time on the front, drivin' the pace.John Smertneck,the lone Norwood rider, made a hard attack on the hill and hung off the front for about a lap before he ran out of gas. I was trying to get to the front on the last lap, but didn't quite have it. The last time up the hill, Jon pounded up the hill with Richie on his wheel and Steve and Dave lined up for the finish. Perfect! Jonathan took 'em to the last corner where he blew; his work was done. Richie gave it a short tug with Steve and Dave comin' around for 1st and 3rd. Matt Tonielli from Beacon spoiled the party with a very nice 2nd place (bringing back bad memorys from his 2nd place last year to Chris Fritz in Cat 5). Richie hung in for 10th, I wanted a top twenty and got it (20th to be exact). Jon rolled in at 30th, completely blown from his Mambo-esque style lead-out. He really made the whole finish for us. Drew from Peddlers came from way back for a decent 5th with his team mate Jerry in 9th.
The Cat 5 race looked more like a 4 race, way faster than last year. We had Big Dan, Dennis, and new racer John Leonhardt in there. The plan was for Dan to go for a break near the end and for Dennis to sit in for the sprint. Sounded good, but again, the pace was too high. One rider made a pretty hard solo move and it looked like Dan spent a little too much time at the front trying to close it down. On the last lap a guy (don't know who) blew off the front and managed to stick it, winning by over 300m. A Summit rider got a bike length gap for second in the field sprint with Dennis timing his sprint almost perfectly for a podium spot and a very nice third place ( also managing to beat one of his weeky rivals, Aleksey Urosov who finished 5th). Dan recovered just missing the top ten (11th). John is getting a tough initiation into racin' but managed to finish, way to hang in there. You'll get it, I promise!
So a pretty decent day, we got the Cat 4 win with some solid team work and Steve showin' the rocket-ship speed he's capable of. Must be all that pent-up manliness since his girl friend left. Dirty, Dennis, and Tim Wally (I think it was Tim) with three thirds (nice symmetry). Beth Bonilla with 1st Cat 4 woman. Let's hope Caleb and Joey heal up quickly. And as for me, solid if not spectacular. That makes races number 44 and 45 on the season. My goal is "50 at 50". I'm also tryin' to force-feed my way into Cat 3. God knows you'd think I have enough races. Today will help, no doubt.
Next weekend we have Somerville on Saturday, Denville on Sunday, and Basking Ridge on Monday. I'm doin' Somerville for sure. Richie's doin' Basking Ridge on Monday. I heard there's a hill. I'm out.
Anybody up for Pro Pedals Monday at 8:00am on Labor Day? And please don't remind me about 4th of July, I'll be there even if it rains this time. As long as it ain't rainin' too hard. Maybe. We'll see.
Until next week "from the back of the pack, no make that middle of the pack, from the saddle reporter"