Tomorrows New York Times headline:
WARNING !!!! CRAZED CYCLIST POLICE HAVE DUBBED " THE MAD BOMBER " TERRORIZES JOGGERS IN NEW YORK'S PROSPECT PARK!!!!
Authorities reported that a completely out-of-his mind pseudo-bicycle racer known only by the moniker"Crazy Rich" was spotted spending in-ordinate amounts of time in the joggers lane, particularly on the 40 mph downhill stretch before the start finish in Sundays Masters 35+ race at Prospect Park. Joggers where seen running about like squirrels in the middle of the road with a soccer mom bearing down on them, as the insane racer displayed total disregard for local custom and common sense. Police are searching frantically for the maniacal cyclist and have set up a hot line for anyone with information as to his where-abouts. So far all we know is that he dresses in red and black team kit, uses a 54 X 11 for climbing, and may be seen anywhere from Virginia to New Hampshire when out on his daily training ride.
But more on this later.
We had a great turn-out for todays run up to Prospect Park and it turned out to be a great day. We had Dennis and Joey D. in the cat 5, and me, Jason, Anthony, Richie "Mad Dog" Owens, Ryan Hemenway, Otto all doing the 35+. We were planning on the 3/4, but decided to all ride together and the people at registration accomodated us so we all jumped in the 35+. The weather was great, the fields were huge (80+ in our race) and we did some decent mileage. Prospect is my favorite venue; it's a 3.4 mile loop with a longish 4 -5 % climb, long fast downhills, and smooth surfaces. We were set for 13 laps. Hmmm...... I did the math real quick and it added up to 44 miles.A little more than I planned on, but what the hell; might as well get my monies worth. Some of the guys had to be beat from yesterday's " shock and awe" Pro Pedals ride. I had the good sense to chicken- shit out after the bridge and ride in nice and easy; Anthony and Richie pulled out early also. Jason and Joey D. ran hard the whole distance,they had to be feelin' it.
So we meet at 3:15 am (every time I say that I can't believe we actually do it). Richie managed to stuff four riders, bikes, and assorted gear into his mini-van; it looked like a farm labor bus heading for the blueberry fields. Dennis rode with me, Anthony and his wife spent the night, and Otto followed us up with his son( he'll be hearing from DYFS for that one, draggin' that poor kid outta bed).
So we get to the line, for the first time this year it's light out and we're not freezin' our balls off. Prospect gets kinda nuts because everybody races at the same time. They start the 1/2/3's, the 35+,the 3/4's and the 5's on 1 minute intervals. Now the 1/2/3's are doin' 7 1/2 to 8 minute laps, so they catch the 5's after 3 or 4 laps. Then it becomes mayhem. You've got close to 400 riders all out there together, one field is trying to pass the other, guys are jumpin' in with the other fields, all at speeds around 40 mph on the downhills.Damn I love it! There's never any time for a warm-up, so my goal to get up the hill the first time and then I've got 2 1/2 miles to spin some life into my legs.
So today the first time up the hill we're hittin' it at 21-22 mph. Ouch!!! That left a mark; second and third lap, the same thing. I'm thinkin' it's gonna be a real short day if this shit keeps up. By the forth lap we're down under 20 mph and I was startin' to feel okay. Somewhere early on a huge break of around twenty guys got away and started to put some distance on the field. Ryan H. was up there ( I really like this guy, he's a cat 3 and he's very aggressive) which is always the situtation I'm waiting for. With a "team mate in the break" (as the pro's say) I'm "under no obligation to work". Perfect. I wasn't gonna do any work anyway, now I've got the perfect excuse. Who can fault me? I've got a "team mate in the break". So in any event at one point we came with-in about 400m of catching them, two guys took off and I was; surprise, surprise, right near the front. So when Richie took off to chase the two guys I went with him. I pulled through once ( so that's what it feels like) and we hung out there in no-man's land until we died ( no more than a minute or two) and dropped back. We got very close to the break and then they just motored away. Richie and Jay fell into a pattern; Richie would pull the hill every lap ( he was gappin' the field every time up) and Jason would hammer across the flat; doin' some brutal 1 to 1 1/2 mile pulls at 28-30 mph stringin' out the field single and double file. This went on for 6 or 7 laps. It became obvious we were not going to catch the break, so everything started to slow down. I think the main pack was beat; we were down to about 16 mph up the hill by the last lap. We came through the finish with one to go, half the field sprinted and sat up, they thought we were done (the lap count was screwed up). Half the field sat up, finally everybody got it together and in the end it was Jason, Richie, me ,Anthony, and Otto coming in at the front end of the main field. Ryan managed a 10th place out of the break. Richie ended up in the jogger's lane at least three times coming down the hill, a big infraction at Prospect. By the end of the race everybody was screamin' at him (including me). A jogger actually got killed here a coupla years ago during a race. Hopefully he'll stay with the rest of us next time up. So we ended up with 44 miles at a 24.2 mph average, a decent day of riding; definitely not as blistering as last week; but fast enough considering the hill and the distance.
In cat 5 action Joey D. kept our streak alive as he got the win ( we haven't lost a cat 5 race there this season, Ryan Pettit's got the other three) and Dennis nailed seventh place, he's got a string of top tens up here including a 2nd and a 4th.Joey broke away on the second lap and was away the whole race; he almost did the same thing last time he came up. Somebody was protesting that he was drafting the pace car or sitting on another field or something. I don't know what happened, but he got the win. All I can say is if he somehow caught the 3/4's (which I doubt) or if he caught the pace car and It wasn't going fast enough TOO F------ BAD!!. Shame on the rest of the pack for lettin' him get that far ahead. What's he supposed to do, drop back? Anyway, nothing stood up and he got the win. He's been at the front all year; it was just a matter of time.
So a win, a 7th, and a 10th. That gives us nine wins for the year(admittedly eight of them are Ryan Pettit's) and 20 top tens; not too bad. We're off to a good start. For me, a very solid day of race pace training; I felt good today. Jason is looking stronger every time out, Ryan H. is riding well, Dennis is (as always) a consistent top ten, and Otto is the "come back rider" of the year. Two months ago he couldn't do 20 miles with-out me having to drag him home at 14 mph. Now he's getting stronger every week; he finished a very fast Branchbrook race last week, snookered an 8th place at the Pine Cone, and finished a long reasonably fast race today. Impressive. Of course I blew by him at the finish (that would have NEVER happened two years ago), so until we dusts me off he's not quite "100%" yet. But it won't be long before he's tunin' me up. Ryan P. sat out, he's not quite "100%" from his dog bite; he'll be ready for next week. He's doin' fine; the dog caught some kind of nasty disease and died.
Next up Colts Neck. This is one of my favorite races, Richie doesn't care for it 'cause there's no joggers lane he can use for passing, but he'll get over it.
'till next time, you "from the saddle reporter".