Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fitchburg Longsjo Classic
Day Three – The Road Race

“Laughin' At the Notion of a Signal Light
Knew We'd Gone Too Far
No One Knew What Happened But It Seemed Alright
We Quickly Jumped in the Car
All Through My Head It's Happenin' Over Again

King of the Road Says You Move Too Slow!”

-Fu Manchu

7:20 AM, I was up an hour and a half before the time I’d set my alarm for, I guess I’m so used to being up at the ass crack of dawn (I think I work the word “ass” into just about every post) that waking up at 7:20 constitutes sleeping in. I was running late so I was maybe going a bit heavy on the gas pedal and maybe I was rocking out a little bit too much to the Stooges and not paying attention to the fact that I was drifting up over 80 on Rt. 2 on a Saturday morning. I ended up blowing by a cop while going about 85 mph, instinctively took my foot off the gas and adjusted the rear view to watch him tear out into traffic with his lights on…but he never did, bizarre, I generally don’t have much luck when it comes to these things.

“Son, all these bad things don't happen to you because you have bad luck; they happen to you because you're a dumbass.”
– Red, That 70’s Show

It was a gorgeous day, not too hot and a bit windy, got to the base of Wachusett with ample time to warm up with the rest of the IBC team. The start was on a downhill so I immediately got shelled to the back, I wasn’t able to move up at all until the first couple rollers on 31, and even then I would drift back. I tried riding the center line, didn’t work too well, then I went back over to the right and rode the gutter, there I was able to move up and brake less on the small climbs leading up to Princeton center. Word started spreading that there was a two man break ahead, whaa? Could it be Racine I wondered? The pressure was definitely not on at the front, nobody wanted to work or organize a chase. This was fine by me, I just wanted to get to the base of Wachusett and sort things out there. I knew I wouldn’t best Racine head to head.
Gaps would open after the Princeton climb, some selection was being made but guys were still coming back all down the decent by the Wachusett parking lot. My teammate C Todd clocked a top speed of 64 mph…nutty. The gap to the breakaway kept increasing and our pace was not, somewhere in there we did catch one of the riders. Our third time up the Princeton climb I decided to get up front and see what was going on, the riders in front of me weren’t cooperating so I went “all mountain biker” and rode up onto a slanted curb, over a pile of gravel, and through someone’s front lawn…illegal? I don’t know. It got me to the front, I assessed the situation, Racine was gone and it seemed no one besides me knew what we were dealing with. “oh ya, the kid on the ‘cross bike? We’ll bring him back”. Right, and by the time this race is over monkeys will fly out of my butt and negotiate a lasting peace accord in the Middle East.
Last lap we were flying down 31, selection happened on the Princeton climb, but again it started coming back after the feed zone,
but I had two IBC wheels, C Todd and Kevin Young, Kevin pointed out two of the GC guys to watch. Jerry Hughes was also there, I hadn’t preridden the climb to the top of Wachusett and I realized as we approached it that I had no idea how long it should take. Jerry used to come out and do the TT there so I picked his brain. He said it should take about six minutes, this was super helpful because a few moments after that I was suffering and struggling so terribly I needed to know about when it would come to an end.
Things blew up when we hit that climb, I instantly got dropped but knew guys would go out too hard and I’d be able to reel them in. My high end is not so great right now so I had to keep it in check, I pushed a pretty big gear, never really using my 25, just the 23, mashing away, trying to fake it with brute force. Pretty soon it was down to about twenty riders up the road, I picked off a few before the final steep ramp to the line and then put in my 19 and mashed like a single speeder, torquing my bars back and forth passing five guys right in the last 100 meters to finish 9th on the day and move from 15th to 9th overall.
Racine had come in four minutes earlier, seizing the day and the overall lead with an insurmountable gap going into the criterium the next day. I thought it was funny when I looked over at the dude before the Circuit race and he’s wearing full-fingered gloves and mountain shoes, I didn’t note that he was also on a ‘cross bike with a hodge podge of parts and Continental Gator Skin, Kevlar reinforced, heavy ass, commuter tires. Craziness.

Thanks to all the IBC crew (particularly Hannah, she filled 50 frickin’ water bottles with a Brita the night before) who came out and supported us during this race.

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