One of my all time favorite races, the Blueberry is a nice long road race; a 16 mile loop with minimal traffic, virtually flat, and today we had very nice weather particularly for the early races. The race did not come together until last week, so we had a light turn-out (about 150 total); but enough for some hot racing action. Jason kept it simple with four fields: 3/4, 40/50, 4/5, and 1/2/3. Two start times, two fields out on the loop at a time.
First a big thank you to all of the volunteers, racing and non-racing. Jerry Dowd, Jerry Yu, Dennis,Boyd, Big Jim, Melissa Beaudry, Jackie Lockburner, Becky, and all the others I missed; thanks for your help. These races don't happen with-out a lot of work from the club members.
I didn't see the 3/4 race ( I was racing at the time); but from what I can piece together it ended with Ryan away with two CRCA guys (New York City buys) on the winning break. Those NYC guys race hard but you pretty much already know how this one ended; Ryan scorched 'em in the sprint. I like Ryan's chances against any small group in a drag race and he managed to nail his first Cat 3 win today after a summer of crashes and bad luck. Not to be totally out done by their team mate, Chris Fritz lead-out the group sprint with Ryan Hemmenway and Steve Moore going 5th and 6th. Richie pulled in 9th to fill out the top ten. Norwood strong man Chris Labreque spent a substantial amount of time off the front on an early break and hung in the top twenty along with Anthony who covered some early moves and did some of the team dirty work. New addition to the squad Andy Haggerty lookin' good wearin' the Pro Pedals colors for the first time also got a pack finish.
Who'd I miss?
In 4/5 action it was Dave Beaudry with our top placing in 5th, new rider Scott Land was some where in the top ten (I believe), Richie doubled up and finished 12th after 94 miles of racing(phew!!). Big Dan was doin' a lot of work at the front and I saw him out on at least one break. Lockburner was in there gettin' Dave to the front for the final sprint. Norwood had at least one top ten, John Smertneck (jerseyrider.org) videographer extraordinaire finished with the field after putting in one off the front attempt. Paulo Barterio, also of Norwodd was eight (he's been nursing a bad knee and isn't really in shape, he's a brutally fast sprinter when he's "on"). Wayne Povey of Peddlers was in the front bunch.And Butchy and Bob Jaggard came in with the field. So a decent day in 4/5 (sorry for the guys I missed).
The 1/2/3 field was light with only (15) riders. This usually makes for a very hard day. Eric and Steve Smith were our lone two representatives. Eric got off in a two man break and ended up way off the front with a nice 2nd place; Steve hung on 'till the last lap and ended up soloing in. An old buddy of mine Michael Joseph of Colavita managed to come in with the main bunch.
The 40/50+ race was by far the biggest fiedl, looked like close to 70 riders. The Mambos were out in force, I think I counted nine of 'em on the line. You'd think some of these guys would take up golf or something. Peddlers Shop had 3 or 4 guys; Somerset, Deno's, Summit, Elite; everybody came out to play today. We had Mike Smith, Mark, Ronnie, Eddie, Joe Schiavo, and yours truly ( I'm sure I forgot somebody). I was thinkin' we'd roll-out to a nice liesurely start, get warmed up, and maybe after 10 or 20 miles things would heat-up. Right from the gun I see Richie Ross sprinting from the line and I knew we were in for a rough day. We were over 30 mph on the opening straight, got around the first turn and it was 28 - 30 for the next five miles. The whole first lap it never dropped much below 26 mph. I'm sure there were at least 5 or 10 guys who saw their race over by the first turn. Second lap in it started to settle down. The attacks kept coming and several breaks showed promise, but I didn't think anybody would have the horsepower to stay away with the main field rolling along at a steady 26 - 27 mph.
Ronnie Short was far and away our most aggressive rider, he went with pretty much every break and chased 'em all down; it was an impressive effort. Mike Smith probably looked the strongest of our guys and I was feeling surprisingly fresh (particularly considering my rather poor performance yesterday and the hard pace today). Mark was riding strong mid-pack, but I didn't think he had enough in the tank for a sprint finish. I told Mike if he could get me to the front on Reading Ave I'd give it my best shot. Me and Mark were doggin' Richie Ross the last 10 miles; I'm sure he was sick of seein' us on his ass all day. I thought the Mambos might try and go early but they decided to save it for the end.
We turned onto the last straight away (Reading Ave) and I was way too far back (50th). I got on Mike's wheel and we slowly weaved are way up through the pack. The pace was high(28 - 30) and it was actually not too difficult as guys started to fade. I came around Mike just before Snowhill and hit the "S" turns in the top (15). As we came out of the turn the Mambos started to lead things out and they timed it perfect. I wasn't strong enough to stay with them but manged a decent sprint ending up with 4th place out of the 50+ guys and somewhere in the top twenty overall; one of my better races of the year. Mark, Mike, and Eddie (doing his first race in a long time) all came in with the main field. Mark Bechtold of Peddlers got a nice 10th in 40+.And friggin' Dave Hudson of Mambos notched yet another win, he's damn near unbeatable in Masters racing. So thanks to Mike for helping me work my way into position for a shot at the 50+ win, I came up a little short(may be that packet
So a good day of racing. My apologies to all the people I failed to mention, for a lot of guys this was the end of their season. Some guys will be doin' 'cross; I've got two more races and I'll be taking a short break. Then my favorite time of year, Winter Training!!
See y'all soon!