Saturday, March 6, 2010

good inTENTHtions

Just got back from my first Cat4 race of the year. Of ever, actually. I'd say things actually went better than planned despite my tenth-place finish. I met two of my new teammates before the race, Rick & Kyle. Great guys, and they had raced last week so they gave me a couple tips on how this field was sized up. Rick had placed 2nd in last week's race, and Kyle I think 8th, so I knew I needed to be around these guys if I wanted to at least finish in the pack. We shot off to a quick start, with a couple bunnies going up the road for a break in the first lap - too windy to make that stick and we reeled them back easily. Lap 6ish was a sprint lap (top 4 on sprint laps earn 4,3,2,1 points toward the series final standings) and the pace picked up considerably. Before that it was paced like your average brisk group ride. I stayed up in the top 10 coming around the final turn, and good legs got me up to fourth for the first sprint. A SPECS rider took first, with Rick & Kyle taking 2 & 3, so I was feeling good about being on this Bicycle Shack team! Second sprint was lap 12ish, and I wasn't in as good of position - I knew I couldn't cross the gap to the 2 guys vying for 4th, so I sat up and rolled across in sixth position. It was about this time when a lone rider seized on the others' efforts and decided to put a solo gap on the field. He kept pulling away for a few laps, gaining about a 15-20sec gap on us at his farthest, then the group realized that the high wind wasn't going to wear this guy out. So with about 4 laps left, the group began slowly reeling him back in, but nobody up front wanted to do any more work than they had to, so it wasn't enough in the end. with about a half lap to go, I looked back and saw Rick a wheel or two back & he & Kyle were looking fresh. I hopped up front hoping to stretch out the pack a bit, and hoping to close some of the now 10-seconds the dude out front had on us. I knew I couldn't hold that pace to the line and eventually the sprints would swallow me up, but I was hoping the stretched out leadout would clear things up for the other Shackers to make a move. 100yds from the line or so I blew — dead straight into a headwind and slightly uphill finish — and I didn't get a chance to pull to one side so I was stuck in the center as they started around me, but I saw Rick come around on my right to take the final sprint for 2nd place. Kyle took 4th. Rick went 2-2-2 for sprint laps; Kyle was 3-3-4 I think. I went 4-6-10, earning only the one point for starting and another for the 4th in the first sprint. It's all good! Fun clean SAFE race. Looking forward to next week.

I wanted to stay today and give the 3/4 race a go, but evening family plans called. Next week, I'm keeping an eye on the rider that broke away and stayed away, then letting some other teams lead out that final push to the sprint stretch.

Ride yer bike!

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