First off nice job by Dennis gettin' a solid top ten (7th) at Yuasa. It is definitely one of the most hotly contested Pa crits, the course is demanding. I think I lasted five laps there last year before I got the hook(actually I finished 3/4 of a lap down in 25th). And also, nice job talkin' the lovely Kim out of bed at 5:00 am to make the trip, you'd have a better shot and seein' Big Foot than of seein' my wife at a bike race before dawn. And did I hear the "U" word mentioned again?
Also, the TTT boys (Richie, Chris, and Stevie Wu) survived the Silvermine TT up in New York with a mid-pack time. Considering that we (our club)does not really specialize in TT's they had a decent day. We'll have to wait and see how they finished when the results are posted. Either way, good effort.
And as for myself, I was all set to go to Prospect yesterday; but when I awoke to the sound of thunder, I sat right up and I had to wonder(loose, butchered Bob Seeger reference). At 3:00 am with the rain coming down hard, do I really want to do this? In a rare display of common sense I went back to sleep. So, proving that the "common sense" thing was fleeting; I decided to drive down to Maryland today (way down , east of DC) for the Bobby Phillips Turkey Day Crit (I thought that would mean it was on Thansgiving;who knows?). I said my "let it be flat, Lord" prayer before I went to bed and set the alarm for a more palatable 5:00am. My wife and daughter were away overnight, so with any amount of luck I could pull this one off with out her findin' out about it. I needed for three things to happen; get there with-out a break down or an accident, get through the race in one piece, and make it back.
The weather was beautiful and after a coupla wrong turns I found the venue and it was love at first sight! The course looked like Greentree, only someone said "Super Size Me!" 1.3 miles long, three fast, wide right hand sweepers, a slight rise into a headwind on the back side, and the last turn tossed you into a slight rise (three kicks out-of-the sadddle and you're over) a fast 35mph downhill and a slight rise 300m to the finish. I was signed up for the 50+ race (what Ryan lovingly calls the "old farts race"), we had about 40 starters on the line and were mixed in with the 60+ and 70+. These Maryland guys have a rep for fast, hard riding and they did not disappoint.
Bobby Phillips himself, sporting a brand new stars and stripes jersey from this years nationals took us on a controlled "parade" lap and pulled off as we crossed the starting line; and it was Game On! The big local team DC Velo came to play and they jacked the pace up to 30 mph hittin' the first turn. For the first four laps there was a DC rider off the front forcing the field to chase. 30+ was the order of the day coming off the finish line straight and it was really startin' to hurt; but the head wind riser on the back side was starting to take it's toll. By the 6th or 7th lap the field was down to about 25 riders (we were already lappin' guys) and the attacks were not quite as violent or frequent. I usually do okay on these types of courses due to all the practice at Greentree taking the corners at high speed and today was no exception. I was feelin' real comfortable the last five laps. Several breaks tried to get away, but it's been my experience that it's damn difficult to stay away when the field is averaging 25 mph and can accelerate to 30 mph at will.
Coming into the last lap (12 laps, 15 miles total) I did my best to stay in the top ten. DC Velo was setting up on the inside and another local team, King Pawn was on the left. And I was right where I like to be, smack dab dead center gettin' a free ride. With one turn remaining the pace spiked up close to 28-30; everyone wanted to hit the last corner first. I was determined to hold my position, I came out of the last corner and jumped on the back of the King Pawn guys. We blasted down the hill, I went inside as I saw an opening (probably a little too early) and crossed the line in 11th place, just out of the money!(they were paying ten deep). My max speed showed 36.7, I need another 2 mph on top to get solidly into the top ten in these races.
So a decent day for everyone, we really spread it out today (New York, Maryland, and Pa). As I told Dennis, anytime you can travel into "enemy territory" and come away with a top ten (well, almost in my case) is a good day. That makes race number 48 on the season, My quest for 50 may fall one short. We've got Prospect on the schedule for 10/7; I'll be scouring the internet looking for that one last race to complete my quest for 50.
Until next time (Thursday at Greentree?),
Your "from the saddle and ridin' hard" reporter