July 4th holiday, and I set my alarm for 5:30... I'm still trying to decide what to do, race or group ride. I figure I need to leave by 6:30 to do the race, and 6:00 to do the group ride. By 6:15, my choices are race, or do my own ride, and by 6:20 I decide to go to the race.
So, I throw stuff in the car and I'm off to Medina for my second Twin Sizzler. It's a short 27 mile race, that will finish by about 9:30. Plenty of time to get home, and get ready for the afternoon picnicing and fireworks. On the way down, I call Dave to find out that we'll have at least 3 in the 19-34 field, and he hasn't heard about who else is coming out. Then Brett tells me he's racing down to be with his team, and my decision is made. I'll race with the younger guys to get some team action.
So, Dave S., Chris B., Pete S., Gary and I line up for the Elite 19-34 field. Brett has 7 Solon guys, with Spin fielding two separate kits to make up the numbers. Jimmy Mac (A&F) and Andy Moskal (Roadhouse) are there as singles, with one RGF. There are a bunch of other ones and twos in this typical mishmash field. We probably had between 30 and 40 lining up together.
At the gun Jimmy goes to the front and starts the pace pretty high out of town. Not crazy high, but enough to get the legs moving on almost no warm up.
Once out of town, Gary gets into a move of 4 that gets a small gap. The group is quickly brought back with some help from us... I think I'll start calling this friendly fire. It's not intentional, but we need to learn that NO MATTER WHAT, if a team mate is in a move with even a small gap, we should let someone else close it down, or pull us across. If you have a mate on the other side of any gap, don't be the one that starts to fill that gap.
Jimmy, Andy and Zak from Spin take off, and I jump onto the move. We're brought back in short order. Probably by a spin rider or two.
As I sit in to recover, Dave goes with the next move. I go to the front to block, and Pete starts to jump across the gap... I tried to call him back, and he sat up... but with a gap, so I tell him to go again instead... I screwed that one up, since Pete would probably have been fine, but I was being over sensitive at this point.
I stayed near the front most of the race... watching for Jimmy, Andy or Zak to try and get away. Being attentive to who was doing what. I saw Jimmy make some hand signal to Andy, then we made the turn and Jimmy took off... with Andy on his wheel, and me tagging along. And we hit the hill... Jimmy was setting pace, Andy and I were hanging on. I'd try to come up, when Andy was flagging back, but I don't think he wanted me to do much work... he did sound worse than I did though. I felt pretty good about that.
Jimmy kept the pace even, watching Andy and I to make sure we were still with. I looked back and couldn't see anyone. I was figure this was good for the three of us. They need to take me with, since my guys should be blocking the field now. It would be nice if we had a Spin and or Solon guy with us, but this could go the distance. Once over the top, I figured I'd commit to this move for sure.
As we came over, we were joined by about 5 others, I have no idea where they came from, but Chris was on the front. So we had two now, with a few Spin guys. They took over pulling duty, and I faded to the back with Andy. Once there, I notice "we still have a gap, let's go!", but it wasn't big enough, and they weren't committed enough, and it was all back together very soon.
I fell through the pack a bit to recover, and noticed it was considerably smaller now. Maybe down to 25 or so, though all of our guys were still in. So was Brett and a collection of his guys.
Next move comes up, and it's Jimmy, Andy, Chris and I. I tell Chris to work, but again it's short lived. Another one, Brett is on the front. Zak makes a move up the right with Jimmy on his wheel. I see it and come up along the left... as I come by Brett, I invite him along. It's four of us going off the front. Brett told me his team mate Ross closed it down. I guess it was one of those days.
Making last turn before the technical finish, I'm near the back with Dave. I'm sure Dave is going to give it a go with about a mile or so to go... the pavement in the last mile is horrible, and this move just might work. Only Dave is leaving it late to get into position. I'm keying off him, if he goes, then I know we're near the finish and have to get to the front. First to block, and second be ready to go into the finish in good position.
Dave goes, and gets a nice gap. I'm on Jimmy's wheel, with Andy right in front of him about 20 back. All the Spin guys start to ramp up in pursuit of Dave... Chris is well positioned right behind them. Then the pavement goes to garbage...
Somehow, I'm right on the yellow line, and realize I need to move up. I'm about 15 back, as the Spin boys start to line it out. Though, I'm just left of center, I look and Brett is on my LEFT! Then Zak is even left of him... we're coming down the main drag wall to wall... I tell Brett, "We are too far back, we need to move up!" I'm cussing like a sailor as the pavement bounces us around... I should be in my element here, as Zak says... "It's like Paris-Roubaix!" Where did Jimmy and Andy go? Up near the front!
So, I start digging in. Dave is pulled back about 100m before the first finishing turn, I'm about 12 back. I end up on the right side somehow. Dive into the first corner, over the tracks... make up some spots, and take the inside of the second turn... now it's straight to the line... Chris is ahead with a few of the Spin guys, and I'm gaining. Andy is about 100M up there now, raising his arms. Jimmy is a few meters back for second, and then the RGF. Chris gets over the Spin guys for fourth, and I'm almost close enough, but pull out 6th.
So, the whole day is dominated by "friendly fire". I guess that's what we get for racing with age groups and not categories. After the race, we had a nice team debreifing about team racing tactics. Each race, we're getting better, and I was very happy to see everyone get into a break attempt. We also did well to put at least 2 into the top 10, with Chris pulling another top 5.
Overall, I was just treating it like a Westlake Worlds. Kind of like a 4 corner crit, where you only did each corner once. What a fun race.
The Explainer: Living by Annika’s Rule
13 hours ago