Yeah, long time coming, but I've been busy.
The course was rolling with one stair step hill about 1 mile long and 150 feet in elevation. The rest of the course was gently rolling except for the one mile downhill that we were easily pushing the 53x12 on. We did six laps on the 7 mile circuit.
I rode down with The Indomitable Duane Schofield and his Magic Bus of Doom. I only had one other teammate there, which was disappointing since it was such an easy course. the rest of them had talked about going to a training crit at nearby Wells Ave, which I thought was pretty fucking stupid. Yeah, lets go to a training crit where you might win a fucking bagel ten miles from a real race with all the usual talent in new england. Not that there's anything wrong with wells ave, There isn't, I've logged 100's of miles there myself, but if you're going to drive there all the way from western fucking mass......It turns out they stayed home and rode hills anyways. Really, They decided to stay home and ride hills instead of coming out to race on a fast circuit that I know we could have done well on. I shouldn't be complaining, I haven't joined up with them at all this year. What can I say, Ninigret loses its charm when there are 12 races a year there (not including training crits).
Anyways, the field was pretty stoked with talent, with the likes of Tyler Munroe and a handful of CCB riders, the Gearworks squad with curley, jennings, and a few others, five sunapee riders, graydon stevens, joe rano......you get the picture.
Solobreak went from the gun, and at the end of 3 laps had over a minute in a solo break (I found out later he had one guy with him for a while that couldn't hang). A few chases went off, but for some reason nothing stuck. The teams weren't organized but Solo had no blockers either, well, except for Duane, but one guy can't hold off the whole field. Part of the reason was the breakaway specialists like eric pierce and graydon kept trying, but they would get chased down. I like Solo, and he was sort of the home town hero, so I didn't do anything that would have jeopardized his break. I ended up in a 5 rider break that got about 15 seconds with peirce, but that came back on the down hill and I didn't do any work in it. In another effort, graydon went off the front and got about 15 seconds, but I brought the whole field up to him just before the downhill. Graydon is one guy that could have chased Solo down and left him for dead.
For some reason on the 4th lap we closed the gap on Solo but quick. A few attacks went on the 5th lap but nothing stuck. Then at the beginning of the 6th lap, Peter Megdal (nebc) rolled off the front and got a slight gap, then mark thompson (sunapee) took off and chased him down. At the beginning of the downhill they had about 15 seconds on the field, and I think pretty much everyone thought we would bring them back on the downhill, but the sunapee guys went to the front and started blocking like mad, which let the two get away. By the time we got to the bottom of the hill they had increased their lead to 30 seconds. Since the bottom of the hill was a mile and a half from the finish, and the race finished at the top of the mile climb, there would be no catching them. Sunapee blocked all the way to the bottom of the climb. They were the only team that demonstrated any real teamwork.
That's when the field started swarming, and at the bottom of the climb it was all together. It was tough to hold position on the hill, and even though I hit the bottom of the hill at the front of the pack, riders kept coming around me, and I had to keep popping out of the front of the field to get my position back. At 500M to go I was completely boxed in, and saw a small group forming at the front with curley, jennings, munroe - the usual suspects.
I made an aggressive move to get out of the field (just ask art) and made the junction to the back of that group just as curley started his last move at the 200 M to go mark. Of course, when he went, that whole group went. He held his spot, winning the field sprint, and I passed half a dozen riders to get 11th in the sprint, but 13th overall since the two man break stuck. My teammate was on my wheel just before I made my move, but he lost me when I jumped going after curley. We came in about 15 seconds down from the winner, 42 miles in 1:35, 26.5 mph average - not bad for a bunch of old guys, and the 35+ were only one minute faster over the same course.
I felt good for most of the race. The only time I was in difficulty was once going up the climb, when I got this burning in my windpipe, something I'm not familiar with. It's usually my legs that cramp up, or I just go into O2 debt, but I can't ever remember having an actually burning sensation in my windpipe. It actually felt more like a severely dry throat, like you have when you wake up on the morning after sleeping with your mouth open all night, except it was all the way down my chest. That sensation lasted about half a lap.
On the way back from the race we took a detour up to Beverly for some little bike swap. I bought 4 new road tubes with 48mm stems for $8 and a lightly used selle italia SLR Ti for $35. Not bad for a saddle that retails for well over $100.
After that we stopped at a greasy greek sub joint. Duane ordered a steak and cheese and I ordered a steak bomb.
The other thing is that I need to practice sprinting on the new bike. The front end of the CR1 is so fucking stiff that I don't need to put nearly the force into it to control the front end as I do on my other bikes. The couple of times I've sprinted with this bike I feel like I'm really throwing the front end all over the place. I'm concerned what will happen if I get out of the saddle to accelerate hard out of a corner, I did just that twice on the right hander after the downhill on sunday, and had to shut down the acceleration. That isn't going to work in a crit. Even the full carbon tsunami is noodly compared to this thing.
On another note I weighed the CR1 with my zipp 303s and no bottles. 6.84 Kg/15.05 pounds. How do ya like them apples?