Sunday, July 09, 2006

TOP Hale Farm Road Race - 07/08/2006

Nothing much happening in July, since I skipped the Twin Sizzler (weather, and just plain tired), I decided to do the Summit Freewheeler Hale Farm TOP race. 

Since it's only a 25 mile race, I decided to pull the Brett Davis move and ride there. 8:30 start time, 30 miles to the start.. I figured 6:30 would give me plenty of time to get there. I had my route planned out, nothing crazy, mostly downhill with some bike and hike trail to get me there. It should be fun.

Turns out one of the east side riding groups was planning on doing the Emerald Necklace ride that morning, so I figured I'd meet with them and they could pull me half way there... the advantage was I also had to leave about 15 minutes earlier than planned. Well, plans didn't quite work out. I was a little late, and they went the other way, but I was well on my way before I figured out they weren't going to help. Reguardless, I got a little nervous at about 8:10, but pulled into the lot at 8:20 with time to sign in, drop a bunch of stuff and line up.

I was the lone SBR rider in the A race, Don Frey represented in the B's. The A race looked a bit stacked 5 or 6 Summit riders, 4 or 5 StarkVelo, 3 from AGF and Batke and Hopkins from Torrelli. There were also a bunch of single guys rounding out the field of about 25. I had either made a really dumb move riding down, or it would be perfect.

The Hale Farm RR course is the same course we do for the covered bridge race, except the finish is after the turns and the bridge. I don't like the finish there, but race what you're given.

We rolled out of the school and kept it nuetral until Riverview road. Pretty much straight away then someone goes to the front and lifts the pace. Shortly after we started moving, the attacks start. Tris Hopkins was the first one off the front. We pulled him back, and then Batke goes. Surprise! Ha. For the most part, Eddie Delgros is on the front doing the work to bring the breaks back. I tried to stay about fifth wheel, and just be attentive. 

Five laps, with so many 1/2/3 racers, I decided to race defensively. I watched a few guys, if they got nervous, I'd try to follow. Dick Brink, and whatever Torrelli guy was not attacking, and Brian Ramsey were my main watches. Other than that, sit and make sure I was conserving, but would jump with anything that looked to go.

Overall pretty uneventful. With 3 to go, I tried to get into a move with Batke that didn't work because there was traffic in the first corner after the attack. Lots of surging going on as different people tried to get off the front. Someone would go, they'd get a gap... someone else would chase. I'd follow, and occasionally do some work. Being alone though, I didn't feel I had to work much.

With just over 2 to go, Batke got off the front with an AGF kid. They had a nice little gap and were starting to work together. Another AGF guy got on the front and start to soft pedal a bit to help. Then Tris Hopkins bridged up with another guy (may have been a Summit guy). Now THAT looked dangerous. Both Torrellis in a break with another team or two with numbers, I needed to get onto that move. I was sitting about third wheel as we went by the school, and two Stark guys were next to me. One guy says to the other "I can get you up there, ready?" Free ticket to the front! They jumped, I jumped with them, and held on. The first guy pulled us to within 20 yards, as he came undone the second guy finished it, and I made it in. 

Now this looked very good. Stark, AGF and Summit in a break. Surely this could work! Once on, I needed a little recovery, fortunately we were starting a paceline while I was at the back. We started to roll through. By the time I did my little pull the group had grown from 6 to 8 or so and the gap had shrunk. Pretty soon we were all back together again... shoot. Well at least I didn't work myself into the ground chasing this down.

All together as we went through for the bell, pretty calm during the last lap. A few people had little jumps, but it was all shut down pretty quick. As we came to Ira road, the whole field slowed way down, so I decided to give it a shot. Nothing risked, nothing gained. I got a pretty big gap before they realized I was gone. I was hoping that nobody really knew me, so they might let me go a ways. If I could get to the back hill, I'd bury it to get to the turns first and try to hang on...

Nothing doing, I got a reaction before the school. I pretty much sat up there so I would have something left for the finish. It was all together when we made the turn onto the back side...  now I had a little trouble. I really hadn't though much about the finish... I was about 10th wheel going into the backside. If I wanted to finish well, I had to improve my position before teh covered bridge turn! Not happening though! I made up a spot or two before the turn, so I was eight there.

Turn at the bridge, jump sprint to the next turn. One of the AGF guys popped a few in front of me, so we had to close a bit more space. Second turn, and give it all! I saw I was not going to get into the top 5 pretty quickly, so I just rolled in. At least one guy came around me, so I ended about 10th. 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it went. I felt good about how I raced, though I probably shouldn't have made that jump at the end, and should have planned my finish better. Every day is a learning experience, and given the days competition, I'm pretty pleased with the results.

In the B race, Don finished well with a strong field of StarkVelo and Summit Cat 4s. In the field and in the top 10.So a good day for the lonely team.