We actually got to sleep in today, the race didn't start until 1:00 pm. My wife was wondering who the strange man was sitting at the table drinking coffee at 8:00 am this morning, I'm usually winding up for my last lap at Prospect by this time.
The Burlington course was pretty brutal, about a 1.5 mile loop with a lot of rough stuff on the back stretch. The front stretch was smooth with a scenic view of the Delaware river. Old, narrow city streets and a very sketchy road surface made for some interesting racing. The 3/4's were the first race off and as I recall it was Otto and Ronnie for Pro Pedals. The pace appeared brutal early and riders were gettin' shelled left and right, a harbinger of things to come. Ronnie got in trouble early and rode for as long as he could until the pace car ended his day. Otto was looking good for the first ten laps until he threw his chain on the back stretch (there was a lot of that happening today). He sat out and took an unofficial "free lap" and ended up quiting early to rest a little for the 4/5 race. Meantime at the front a rider from Empire, I think his name is Uri, was pushin' the pace along with Doug Hover from Rocket racing. Uri dropped his chain with two laps to go and in the end about 20 guys finished with the field . Brutal. The only other guy recognized was Toby Weatherall who got a nice 8th place.
Our race was next and we were scheduled for 14 laps. Looked to be about 60 starters. Me, Richie, Caleb, Dan, Steve, Chris, Bob,Otto,and John Leonhardt (in his first race) were on the line. The pace was very hard the first coupla laps, a little too hard. Me, Otto, Bob, and John fell off the pack early and by lap 5 I was circulating with several other guys just trying to finish. Meantime, up front, Chris was out on a solo break with about 7 laps remaining. That's a long way to go on your own, but the rest of the team did a great job of shutting things down at the front. Chris has become a master of these solo attacks and has won three major races this year (Marlton, Lakewood, and Today) with these strong, aggressive moves. Time to move up to Cat 3. Meantime, the rest of the guys almost made it a clean sweep with a Summit rider sneaking in for second place and the rest of the top ten was all black and red with Caleb in 3rd, Steve 4th, Dan 5th (after ramping it up and stringing out the field down the back stretch. This is rapidly becoming his specialty, puttin' down the big wood at the end and keepin' the rest of the field at bay). Richie wrapped it up coming in 12th or 13th. I finished and the pack just caught me on the back stretch. They had me down as 20th, but I really think I was back around 30th or 40th. So another rough day for me, but the team put on a show; serving notice for the 26th.
Meantime, lest I let anyone off the hook unscathed, we had some fine displays of bike handling today. In the 3/4 race, my old pal John Smertneck (check out his videos on jerseyrider.org) was pulling off the course at the end of the race and hit the apron at too shallow an angle and went right down. He seemed okay, probably more embarrassed than hurt. Don't ya love doin' stupid stuff on a bike in front of the crowd. The only thing better is actually running into the crowd like Steve did when his "drag chute" failed to open at the end of the race and he plowed into the fencing and knocked down a little kid. Well done. You and Chris have done a nice job at the end of races running into people(thought I forgot about that one didn't ya?).
Mark and Richie were in the 35+. Richie took an early exit with a dropped chain and Mark made it to about the half way point before he fell off the
So some hard racin'; some of us (me, for instance) got in trouble; but as for the Cat 4 team they were simply dominant today (there goes that word again). Excellent job with a fine display of both fitness and team riding. I've said it many times before, I think we do the best job of team riding in Cat4 that you're gonna see; and it's because you guys are unselfish and you know how to race. I wish I was there to help out, I've been feelin' it recently; but I'll be back!
Let's get ready to get 'er on for the 26th!!!
Until next time,