Monday, May 18, 2009
I raced in New York City this weekend- Saturday morning at Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn, and Sunday at Cedar Creek Park in Wantagh. Both races were Pro-am crits, as no masters events other than 40+ were offered.
Saturday was a death march around a windswept rectangle on an abandoned airfield- 45 laps. I don't have much to report on this one other than the fact the Jack Simes Jr Jr won it, our man Alain was 4th, and I was 10th. Only about 20 starters, so for me, it was basically a race of attrition- I knew the race paid 10 places and so I grinded it out, counting on others to tire out and abandon, which they did. The 'field' was fragmented all over the place, and my 90 minutes of stick-to-it-iveness paid dividends- $38 prize money plus one USA Cycling point. Yay! Add that to the $10 I won at Ninigret Wed and I'm ahead by $7 when you deduct entry fees.
Today was a touch stressful in that we lost our way to Wantagh repeatedly, before finally arriving with only 1/2 hour to register and get ready. There was no need to fret- other than missing out on a warm-up, getting ready for a race is pretty easy. This time, I believe we had about 55 starters line up. It's another Pro-am race, so there's a few Kelly Benefit guys in there, four or more Mengoni guys, lots of Champion Systems and Somerville guys.. A strong and aggressive field.. another windy day where it was blowing, no gusting, into our faces on the finishing stretch. We were strung out in an echelon every time through the start finish line. This caused some havoc in the field. There was an opportunity to get in the "break" of 15 or so guys within 10 laps of the race. It happened more like a separation than an all-out attack. Somebody decided they couldn't be bothered to hold a wheel and everyone else decided it was too early to bust a nut closing a 3-5 second gap. Well these guys suddenly turned on the gas and the gap grew slowly but steadily- like in a cartoon where the caboose is disconnected from the rest of the train- a very gradual separation. Adding insult to injury, a few more guys bridged across within a couple of laps and that left about 30 of us scrambling for the next 25 laps to catch the runaway train. At the incessant "encouragement" of team mate Alain, I put my nose into the wind and pulled my ass off waaay more than I wanted to- almost every single lap for a bit there, unlike Alain who dragged us around for 1/2 lap at a time, every single lap. It was frustrating- we could see the tail-gunners of this group and at one point we were so close we could read the numbers on their backs.. But the wind was brutal- only 5 or 6 of us were working, and there were some do-nothing-douchebags in our group who were getting mixed in there and getting in the way. Hats off to the Alder Racing Team, who also missed the separation and who all worked very hard to close the gap, in between some unhelpful and pointless attacks anyway.. At two to go Alain uncorked it and dragged a Frayse kitted dude with him up the road and they took the honors about 5 seconds ahead of our field..
The headwind into the finish was absolutely awful- like a really bad day at Ninigret. I lined it up about 10th wheel at 1 lap to go. We reached the u-turn and I was up into about 7th wheel. This little train was accelerating and shelling dead legs along the way. We crested the "hill" and barreled into the downhill chicane before the finishing drag, with me in 5th wheel. The wind is blowing into our left shoulder so the leadout is echeloned towards the right side of the road. When the lead guy decided to swing off to the right, he took the three guys behind him [all wheels are overlapped] almost into the curb. Lucky for me, I did not overlap wheels, and in what seemed like a "Matrix" moment, the wheel I was latched onto drifted violently to the right, practically grazing my front tire and leaving me completely isolated in the wind, but with enough asphalt that you could land a 747. Your hero turned on the power and took the field sprint! It feels like I'm coming around. So 10th and 25th for me. I'm satisfied with the immense amount of fun I had this weekend, even if I wish I had better results to report. Thanks for reading.