Another day, another race. Up at 2:30 am yesterday, 2:15 am today; bicycling is viewed by outsiders as a wholesome, healthy sport. But this can't possibly be good for ya. Anyway it was me,Ryan,Dirty Dave,Dennis, and Jason makin' the run up to Prospect Park for a 6:30 am start. For my new readers, a quick overview. Prospect is in Brooklyn just across the Verrazano Bridge. Racing starts early because we gotta be outta the park by 9:00 am. It's a perfect course, 3.5 mile loop of gorgeous fresh asphalt, a nice 3/4 mile climb of about 4-5%, with a nice long false-flat finish. Now throw in some joggers, pets, and a few of the wondering homeless and you start to get a feel for the place. They run a 1/2/3, a 3/4, a 35+, and a 5. All fields are on the road at the same time and start one minute apart in that order. The fields are big to huge. Mid-season you'll have a full 125 in the 1/2/3 and 3/4. And if they start to overlap and catch each other it can be pure mayhem. Add in the crazy Jamaican and Cuban fans screaming (cursing? cheering? who knows) and the guy that blows the whistle as the field comes by and you gotta fun day.
Let's start with the cat 5. Ryan found another way to win today (that's four in a row if you're keepin' track). A two man break got away, Ryan bridged up (this is at 7 miles to go), dropped first one then the other, and rode the entire last lap (3.5 miles) on his own. The rest of the shattered field limped in about a 1/2 mile behind. I read on a race flyer last week that the race director was very impressed with how strong the cat 5's were riding and even decided to give them extra laps. Glad to hear it. And of course, it's not just Ryan's show. Dennis was in the next group of six that came in behind Ryan and the two other guys from the break. In a bit of bad luck, they were caught by another field, neutralized, and rolled across the finish line at 14 mph. No sprint! Given Dennis' speed he was probably good for 4th or 5th; so he ended up somewhere in the top ten. Oh well, that's racin'.
Not much to report in the 1/2/3. Jason is still nursing his compressed
vertebrae and pretty much did this race to get some race miles in his legs, he came in with the main field.
Me and Dirty did the 3/4, 10 laps for about 35 miles total. We had a large
field, 70+. I figured since it was a 6:30 start, cold, and dark(check it out
tomorrow morning, it ain't light out yet)the field might take it easy the
first lap. At Prospect the "big hill" is about a 1/4 mile past the
start/finish line. My goal is always the same, get up and over that damn
hill and I can spend the rest of the lap warming up. Well, the pack decided to pretty much gas it the whole first lap. I really hate when they do that, cause it really hurts! Anyway there seems to be a pattern to these 3/4 races. Go hard the first lap or two, then the attacks start, the breaks form, the field chases, the break gets caught, then we rest.
Then do it again. And somewhere in there THE BREAK gets away, the field
makes a half-ass effort to catch them, the field gives up and we ride around in circles waiting for the field sprint.Fine by me. I just sit back and
watch the action. I'm in no kind of shape to be doin' anything other than
surviving in a cat 3 race, so that's what I do. Dirty kept working his way
to the front and slipping back next to me. He then decided on the last time goin' down the hill to the start finish to go to the front and try and
maintain some sort of position for the sprint for 6th. I embedded myself
deep in the middle of the pack (right where I like it) and decided to try
and run up the gut for whatever placing I could squeeze out. Anyway, I got decent position, came through the middle and may have snuck into the top twenty(25, do I hear 30?). But more importantly, relegating Dirty to a finish somewhat behind me. This could create a major rift in the team, what with me beating Dirty and Jonathan on the same weekend. I'll be calling an emergency meeting of the Competition Committee this evening ( that would be me, Melissa, and Jaqui) and see if we can come up with some sort of plan to resolve this embarrassing situation. For the Pine Cone I guess we'll have to rely on Richie, Joey D., and me to help Ryan win (as if he needs any help).I'll keep everyone posted.
So until next week, your "from the saddle" and in front of Dave and Jon