Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Twin Sizzler

July 4, 2005

A beautiful, warm, breezy Independence day for the 35+ expert race. It was the normal master's field, which I've never raced, so a new experience for me. Torrelli turned out with Brian Batke, Dave Chernosky, and Tris Hopkins so it was everyone racing against them. If one of them moved, the field moved. If they slowed, everyone slowed. I've never seen one guy block for a teammate as well as they did.

Summit, Stark and Lake Effect were also out in numbers. We had Pat Miranda, Eric Gibb and myself. Brett was supposed to show but rode to Medina before the race, and misjudge the timing by about 10 minutes. (40 if he would have wanted to actually register).

At the start Pat set a reasonable pace out of town which didn't last long. Batke pushed the pace as we hit the first rise, and it was game on from there. I followed his wheel on his first attack and we had a two man break. We traded about 3 or 4 turns before the field brought us back. I sat in while Tris tried, but that one just accelerated the field.

We then had a lull for a bit, with 'smaller' teams trying things, but they'd also just ramp up the speed for a little bit. Then is would slow down. At one point I found myself falling back and decided it was time to move back up, I was able to come up on the right side and latched on as Batke went again.... so I followed in what could have been a three man... we got a small gap, but again they pulled it back before I got a pull. Did the same thing again a little later with Batke and Derrick from Lake Effect. It wasn't my plan to mark Batke, it just seemed to work out that way. If I would have had a chance to work with him, I'd have done it.

After my three moves, Tris Hopkins got away solo, and the field kind of chased.

A few race highlights...

Half way through, we come up on what I thought was a down rider from the under 35 field... turns out one of the guys had to pull off to hurl... all over the street.

At the start of the race I was about 5th or 6th wheel, and I felt a fine mist... didn't think much of it until we were dropping the big descent. I was on the front when Mike Gorman of Stark came around me... it was like I was in a shower. I thought it was sports drink, and it was sprayed all over the BACK side of his seat tube. After the race, I asked how he did and he showed me his flat. Turns out I was getting sprayed with Tufo tubular sealant that is supposed to seal holes in tubies.... yuck!

There was a guy in a Gary Fisher kit with MTB shoes on. At one point he got forced off the road into the gravel, calm as what, he just hopped back up and probably lost nothing.

So, Tris ended up staying away for about 7 to 10 miles. The field was content to leave him out there. He was never really out of sight. Any time a Torrelli went to the front everyone jumped on it. Quite a few calls for 'Watch right', 'Watch left' as they came up on a side. Pretty negative racing, but what do you expect.

As we started to climb back up to Medina, Summit put two guys on the front to bring it back together... or the two guys got tired of negative racing and decided to work. I figured I'd go up and help a bit when I somehow got off the front of the field. Up the hill it turns out a break of 6 had formed that I never saw, so I pushed it to bridge. The group had caught Hopkins and as we crested the hill and I was about 100 feet back. As they started to accelerate again we still had a reasonable gap, but I was having a hard time closing the last little bit. Then two guys came around me, and Batke was on my wheel so I figured we were caught and backed off a little. As he came around, I realized there was still a little gap but by then it was too late and we were all back together. Batke was not happy about how this was all shaking out.

So Groupo Compatico as we hit the WORST piece of road I've ever raced on in the last two miles of the race. Broken concrete with a few rail crossings thrown in for good measure. Fortunately, Pat and I had preridden this section, so I had an idea what the finish looked like, but it was nasty in the pack. I was pretty far back, and knew I had to move up, but so did everyone else. A little excitement as a Stark guy gets his wheel stuck in a groove in the concrete and comes close to hitting the deck. I'm working on moving up when another Stark guy bails and heads for the 'side walk'. I don't know if he ever made it back into the field.

The finish has a left turn, 100 meter slight rise over a set of tracks, then right turn and a 500 meter sprint to the line. I was between 20th and 25th into the first turn, and tried to make some positions up before the last turn but was pretty far out. I made up some, but the sprint really started after the last right turn. The line wasn't well marked, but I made it up to about 11th before another Stark guy caught me on the line as I sat up.

I was happy enough with the result as I did work the race. Turns out Batke won, Chernosky was second, and Pat Miranda broke up the Torrelli sweap by beating Tris Hopkins for third.

Nice job by the team, as we showed well in the women's and citizen fields as well.