Sunday, November 25, 2007

New England Verge Series #5 Sterling, MA Cat 2/3

This was the first truly cold race of the season but it was a gorgeous day and I was feeling good as I spilled oatmeal and coffee all over the interior of the car rolling up route 2. At first glance the venue looked like your typical grass crit based around a middle school athletic field. Upon closer inspection I realized that this was not the case at all, this course was damn interesting with lots of tricky bits. I found this out the hard way on my first pre-ride. First off I come to the run up, I’m wearing road booties, I dismount, when my foot hits the ground I slip, slamming my knee into the frozen ground. I then tried to run up this thing which must have looked like something from the Ice Skate chase scene in Blades of Glory, I had all the traction of Formula One car in the snow. Eventually I summited the run up by using my bike as an ice axe, turning it cross ways to the pitch with the brakes locked. This took three hours and I missed my race, thank you, good night! I joke, the funny part is coming up. So then I start riding down the hill and is often the case when I begin riding in cold weather my eyes welled up with tears, blinding me temporarily, just temporarily enough to keep me from realizing that I was now plummeting toward a corner at Mach McCormack (that’s really f-in’ fast). When I started to lean into the corner I found that the ground was comprised of ice and lumpy grass much like the run up, both wheels began sliding, I corrected, riding straight through the tape in front of a bunch of folks. “Nice One Lance!” Jerry Hughes yelled back at me. Always good to have that guy around.
I survived the pre-ride and hit the road for a spin, getting back to the car just in time to balm it up, grab my coffee and head to the start line. Somehow, even with the two and a half hours of lead time before the race I got the start with four minutes to spare, barely made the call up for my last row slot (second to last really, but there were only a handful of guys in the true last row so I was assimilated into that group) because I was peeing behind a shed. Jerry Hughes lined up next to me, I shared the last of my coffee with him and left him holding my bike as I looked for a trashcan, telling him I’d be back in five minutes with three minutes to go.
And we were off, I hadn’t ridden the track during warm up and it was GREASY, I also didn’t know we were going twice around before the hole shot. “Um guys, you’re going the wrong way…all seventy two of you, huh, I guess I’ll come to”. There were crashes before we even made it the hole shot, then more when we hit the run up. If I wasn’t in dead last after the track, I was now. I made the downhill corner this time, didn’t wreck on the horse jump barrier thingy, and began the process of clawing my way out of the back of the pack.
This is where details such as names and chronology will suffer due to low altitude self-induced Hypoxia. There was some jumping between groups going on, the legs were happy, the lungs were working hard, the cold air was painful to get down, but all systems were go. I do recall nutting (yes it’s a word spellcheck, Wiki it you burk!) myself when I didn’t clip in after the uphill/downhill hairpin dealy. There were only a few spots on the course I could make a pass and have it stick. One of these was the slight grade up the track area, I’d recover through the corners leading up to it, maybe squeak a pass in before the gravel section, but then when I got to the little hill I’d rail it on the tops then look for a wheel to take me around the track.
It took nearly half the race to gap up the Reuter group (sounds prestigious doesn’t it?) he swiftly went down in a corner just like we Mountain bikers tend to do. I think we feel that it is expected of us to corner well so we over do it, often with hilarious results. Ahead I could see Scott Rosenthal and some other dudes I didn’t know, they were the next target. I don’t know what was going on but tons of fast guys were getting popped, maybe they tried too hard to match the pace set by guys like John Peterson, Brendan Cornett, and R. Grizzly Adams. Whatever was going on I soon realized that the only group between me and the unattainable actual chase group containing Todd Rowell was a group of five or s made up of Ryan Rumsey, Mark Bavineau, and some others. Again I made my move on the small hill and closed most of the remainder of the gap before the run up.
Now this crew was tough, any attempt I made to shake things up was rendered useless as gaps got shut down, a sense of complacency set in, I was pretty sure I was in the points and I was hurting, I didn’t feel like going anywhere. The words of a Sea Otter competitor from ’06 echoed in my bobbling head “Be happy when you’re done. Now get the fuck Up there!”. I began scheming, O.K. I can’t gap to Rowell, my best bet is to sit in, recover and attack that climb before the finish. Although my shrinking brain didn’t know how the finish even worked, “Do we just go the start line or do we go all the way around the track (into oncoming traffic…entertaining yes, but likely NO. You god damn moron) and then finish?” “I don’t know, go ask your liver”. I was in about third or fourth wheel, as we rounded the loose corner into the hill, first wheel already had a gap, so I blasted out around the right side into the chop, passing everyone else and closing down on him. As we hit the track there was no chanced of catching him so I just drilled it, looking back to see where Bavineau was, as I did this I caught a muddy rut which damn near sent me into the crowd, I totally lost control of my bike but righted it and came across the line in one piece.
The results say I was 10th but given the fact that they had second place finihser Brendan Cornett down in 62nd I do believe I will get bumped to TOP ELEVEN. Just where I like to be. Gee, does this mean I’ll get a call up in Warwick?


Colin R said...

The results had Cornett listed as a 62 - DSQ, so I don't think he's coming back up to 2nd to take away your points.

Thom P. said...

Huh, wonder what happened. I saw him way out in front right up to the end.

josh said...

really nice to meet you thom, sorry I wasn't so talkative I was sort of in a pissy mood after being one of those pre-hole shot crashes and a DNF.

for the record, I rode through the tape in the same spot, except grizzly adams and steph w made fun of me for it.

Colin R said...

Yeah no one knows what Cornett did... I'm guessing he swore at an old lady. Bitch probably deserved it.

Thom P. said...

Maybe he took a beer feed. Damn him straight to hell for putting me in the top ten. I was perfectly happy with my "Top Eleven".

ryank said...

Apparently Brendan rode through the pit and didn't take a bike change. He supposedly rode through the second part of the pit - which is actually longer.

He said he didn't remember doing it, but it was possible that he did.

IF Chicks said...

excellent job thom esp considering your start position. Each lap you kept moving up !!!!!!!! :)