Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paradise Cross Frenzy Race Report

I did not feel super sharp when I woke up on Saturday. I nearly made the decision to stay home and not risk getting more sick. But then I decided to man up and get my race on.

Absolutely awesome day with sunny skies, no real wind (for a change), and temps warming to the upper 50's. My pops came with me for the short ride up to Windsor from West West.

The field in front of both the Bike Shop and Brewery was jam packed with caution tape. It was hard to figure out where the hell the course went, even while watching riders, even after racing a zillion laps, "Wait, which right hand hair-pin is this!"

As we milled around the start I reintroduced my self to Alec Donahue. I refreshed his memory by saying that we battled at Ice Weasels last year. And he incorrectly responded by saying, "Oh yeah cool. Then it'll be a battle today too!" Yum, yeah for like the first lap.

And lo and behold after hald a lap I ended up behind him after the junior in second place slid out and nearly took me with him. I rode the next lap and a half behind him, but it because apparent pretty quickly that I needed to settle down and race my own race. After racing MMRC and Canton I realized that I can't go anaerobic for 60 min. Perhaps close to 35, maybe 40, but not 60.

So I eased off (or I should say, just rode, and didn't sprint every time the course unkinked) and let a few people pass me. Notably, Shawn Milne was the first to fly. Ahem, pro bike racer, ahem. I guess you do get a Wiki page when you win UCI races and the GC at Fitchburg.

Then two UVM kits and an NCC kit passed me. I noted that Chris Hamlin in the second UVM speedsuit was breathing wicked hard, and I hoped he was diving into his red zone early. "Stick to your plan and you'll catch him Tob."

Right, so I settled down into 7th, and was happy to see I was still in the money. I was running with Sheldon Miller untill he stacked it wicked hard in the upper fast barriers. I thought he would be back up and on the chase quickly, but he lost a chunk of time due to a bent derailleur hanger.

So I was flying solo for a couple of laps until I pulled up to Makunda and Chris. I pulled up so quickly it seemed like these two were dropping anchor. So I cruised through and thought I'd start pulling away. But they didn't seem to be so quickly deterred and after a lap of leading and not going any where I let someone else have a turn. Bah, boring part where we were all together for a bunch of laps. Actually it was pretty fun to be in a good race. I kept riding too close in the tight turns and would hit the wheel in front of me, stopping me and opening a gap which I had to shut back down. But I was noticing that Makunda hadn't been doing any of the pulling, perhaps saving legs for the last lap?;

I tried to pass on the hairpin before the barriers, but Makunda had the same idea, and I stayed in third. But I had good speed through the barriers and managed to move up a spot there. I followed Chris down to the end of the field and around the slow/tight left hand 180 and juiced it as we came into the last good open stretch. From there I tried to sprint everything and not eat it as I was pushing the limits on each curve. I prayed for my chain not to drop again on the barriers (did I mention that happened a couple of laps previous) and held off Chris and Makunda in a good sprint for fourth. We were closing in on 3rd too, only if we had another lap.

Turned out to be a great race. I was happy with my pacing. Happy I didn't fall, and happy to have a solid race for fourth. Race within a race right? Just got to get that front derailleur fixed.

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