Monday, August 4, 2008

Bow Road Race

Masters 45+
Brian, Jody and I raced Masters 45+ at Bow. The weather was threatening, and we did get wet. The P/1/2's who raced in the afternoon did not fare as well, as their race got cut way short due to severe weather. I'll post an abbreviated report here. Visit my blog if you are bored enough to read a looong report.

We kept the modified course from last year, which makes the climbing just a bit harder. We also were neutral up the bulk of the climb on the first lap. This suited me fine, as I did a hillclimb race the day before. However, as we approached the KOM wall, John Funk (Cycle Fitness) and Paul Wonsavage (Onion River Sports) bolted away from the pack. Funk had two potent teammates, Tom Officer and Mark Luzio, in the field to keep the rest of us in check while he rode away from us.

Funk and Wonsavage soon had nearly two minutes on us and were out of sight. But on the second lap, we brought Paul back into the pack. Luzio and Officer performed flawless blocking duty while Funk was still up the the road. It seemed nobody wanted to deal with this situation. So Alec Petro (Team Psycho) and I put in some double duty chase effort. We repeatedly came around the blockers to keep the pace going. This started to work. Soon we had Funk in our sights again. I wanted to finish the deal, but Bill Thompson (CCC/Keltic) suggested we let Funk simmer out there a little longer. Bill and I tried to get away at one point, but Officer and Luzio would have none of it.

As we came through the start/finish for our fourth and bell lap, we caught Funk. When we began the climb again, Petro rode off the front solo, surprisingly, since he contributed so much effort to the three lap chase. Nobody responded. Then we hit the KOM hill. This fragmented what little was left of our field. Funk, his teammates and one other gapped me at the KOM. I was toast. Fortunately, a couple other strong riders with me had some juice left and were able to close the gap. Now we just had Alec Petro off the front by 10-15 seconds with half a lap to go. Being at the front, as I too often am, I did not realize the pack sat up just as we began the big descent. I accidentally rolled off the front. With Petro disappearing and a non-responsive pack, I thought to myself I was not going to let Petro win this race by himself. I was quite sure my bridge attempt would be futile, but then again, in a sprint against those guys I was looking at like 15th place anyway. I had nothing to lose.

After insane hammering downhill at speeds approaching 50mph for 2-3 miles, I caught Petro. He was glad it was me, as the two of us put in disproportionate work to shut Funk's break down. We essentially worked together for much of the race already anyway. So we drilled the remaining 3+ miles of the race through all those turns and steep, punchy climbs, never completely out of sight of the chasing pack. But we made it. Crossing the intersection by the fire station, we saw nobody back. Then it got interesting. I can't sprint even if my life depended on it. I wasn't about to play cat and mouse games either and screw a sure thing up. So we just lined up and ramped it up side by side. Alec slowly inched past me. That was all I had. I was quite happy with second place. A chase group of about 20 came through just 16 seconds behind us. What is interesting, this is almost exactly how this race played out for me last year. Similar cast of characters, different finishing order for the others. Brian came through in 25th, Jody in 31st. It was an exciting race, and the brief downpour mitigated any overheating problems.

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