Friday, June 29, 2007

Fitchburg Longsjo Classic
Day Two - The Circuit Race

Another awesome early start, 5:15, so glad the next two days of racing start after noon. Coffee was had, rice and eggs and a small amount of oatmeal were eaten, I then proceeded to do some silly yoga-type contortions which seem to help my rickety-ass back and wait for IBC teammate C Todd to pick me up. We made it to Fitchburg without any run ins with the law and took a lap of the course, at warm up pace it didn’t seem so bad, I knew this would change after a few laps at full speed.
Me and the other IBC crew lined up in good position behind the junior field which was leaving two minutes ahead of us. I guess I had some nerves going on because I peed twice before the start (that and I have the bladder of a tree shrew), the second trip cost me my semi-decent position in the field as they moved up the line without me. My old pal Jerry Hughes dragging my bike along with him, probably costing him a spot or twelve, big ups to him for looking after my clapped out rig and not dropping her on the ground.
As we rolled out I got shot to the back as expected, I knew I had to move up but dudes were sketchy and all agro, it wasn’t going to be easy. The chicane after the start was most nightmarish the first lap sitting toward the back of those 120 riders, then everyone tried to move up on the slight grade around the corner, problem was if everyone moved up there’d be no one behind them, it was kind of mayhem, I decided all I had to do was survive.
The first time down John Fitch Highway I realized this might be a tall order as we clattered along en mass at forty plus miles per hour, the sound of carbon rims thudding over manhole covers, the pack suddenly splitting as we came flying up on a traffic island. If someone had slapped a heart rate monitor on me I’m sure my heart rate would have been significantly higher during this section than on the uphill bit.
I was finally able to move up the first time up the climb and each time after that, I even spent some time riding in the top ten, sometimes in the wind just to avoid backsliding. I had a nice introduction to pack riding by some large CCB rider who brushed/bumped up against me as he tried to pass. Like I needed to be made more nervous.
By the last couple laps I was maintaining my position toward the front a lot better, I thought this boded well for the final ascent up the finishing climb…no such dice. I got totally swamped going into the turn, I tried to shoot up the right side like I had done the other laps but got shut down and blocked. I clawed my way past as many guys as possible to finish an unremarkable 38th place, luckily we were all given the same time so my “GC hopes” are still intact. My teammate Mike Troisi pulled off 7th place and John Laupheimer 20th and both of these guys are racing well below their age class, they are a couple of bad dudes.

After the race Miriam and I went in search of a good diner breakfast, me being the guy thought we should drive around aimlessly until we happened upon a place, Miriam thought we should ask a local (it’s what Rachel Ray would do). The first local we asked was wearing a shirt with a mathematical equation on the front, it had a picture of a beer with the word “beer” on it, a plus sign, an image of a pair of breasts, an equals sign, and an image of a smiley face. He was really fixated on how many overpasses we had to pass under on our way to the diner. The second local we asked had a severely deformed earlobe and was visibly inebriated (it was 10AM). He told us there was a place down the way “The 50/50” which had a “diner atmosphere” but that there was another spot in the center that was nicer “it’s got waitresses and tables and everything”. We chose the former hoping that it wasn’t one of those diners where you sit on milk crates while rejects from the helper monkey college hurl handfuls of home fries and scrambled eggs at your open mouth. We found the 50/50, it was great, highly recommend it.

Miriam wanted to get a ride in so I dropped her in Harvard with a map of the first five miles of her route (she ended up back where she started in forty five minutes). I proceeded to THE swimming hole for a little recovery swim.

The day before it had been guarded by a giant Tom Turkey who came right for me, the only thing standing between me and finding out what it’s like to get pecked by a huge bird was my Cannondale. Apparently the sentries had changed overnight and now there was a family of Canada Geese with a belligerent papa goose hissing at me, I took the high road because I know what a goose wound looks like (a pie plate sized bruise, ya see they can’t actually bite a piece of you off, they just clamp down and pull as hard as they can) I didn’t want to know what one feels like. Can’t be worse than riding up Mt . Wachusett at the end of a forty six mile race, I guess I’ll know more about that tomorrow.

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