I'm thinking of changing my on-line nym to 'NHTMF'. Read to the end to find out why.
Topsfield is a fun fast circuit race. Narrow new england farmroads, two small hills (little rollers, right after each other) with the second hill leading into a long winding downhill that's easy to spin-up your 53x12 in a group, a 4.5 mile route that we did eleven and a half laps on. The course makes the race interesting. Lots of opportunities for attacks and breakaways, and this day was no exception. Adding another element was the weather. It was warm and rainy, with intermittent heavy downpours.
I warmed up for the race on my trainer set up under the hatch of my car. It was a good turnout considering the conditions, maybe about sixty, with 45 finishers listed on bikereg.
I had no illusion of placing or getting into a winning break, but hey, I thought, I'll just try shit, stay at the front, see how it goes. So I did manage to stay at the front, and I did try shit. I got off the front a few times in small groups, and once even got out of sight of the peloton. But, like I said, I had no real impetus to go for a good result, and it didn't seem that the rest of my break away pals were too interested either. A few other attempts were made by other guys, and I followed them, but it kept coming back together. This was real racing, attacking and following attacks off the front, not just sitting in the field hoping not to get dropped like the salem/beverly crits. I felt good. Not good enough to go it alone against a pro/1/2/3 field, but still pretty good.
A cat 1 named matt o'keefe (semi-pro mtb rider for cannondale, riding this day in a CCB kit) came by me at one point and said 'try helping out'. This was after I had drifted to the back to rest after an effort. I wasn't sure I heard him right, or that he was talking to me, so I ignored it. With about two laps left, a small group was forming off the front, and I ended up in a line chasing. I was on the wheel of gary apenes (horst) and the gap was closing. Gary took a pull, closed it more, then I took a pull, closed it more, then pulled off. A rider came by, with this dickhead o'keefe on his wheel, and dickhead yells at me "QUIT LETTING THOSE GAPS OPEN".
What the fuck?
This dickhead o'keefe had been riding at the back the whole fucking race. I never saw him at the front, never saw him closing a gap (both times he mouthed off to me he was on someone elses wheel), or even blocking for his team mate in the break. He was hard to miss, being the only rider in the field wearing a yellow nashbar rain jacket. So I rode up next to him and yelled "hey asshole, if you don't like it, don't ride behind me".
Seriously, it isn't my job to make sure he stays in the field.
He countered "you keep letting gaps open up". I responded "dude, I just took a pull and closed the gap then pulled off". He says "you've been letting gaps open all day".
Clearly this idiot had me confused with someone else. I spent most of the race at the front, and only drifted back though the field after I put out a hard effort. So I told him "EAT SHIT". I didn't hear from him after that. You would think that a 38 year old cat 1 would do better than just follow wheels at the back of the field. I wonder who he had to blow to get a cat one upgrade? If his performance saturday was any indication, he had no business getting out of the cat 4 field.
Anyways, during this whole tete a tete, another group had formed off the front that took the last paying spots. I rolled across the line in 25th place after just staying in what was left of the field. It never really rained hard during the race, but never really stopped either. I was soaked and covered with grime.....cool. As chronoman would say, 'today we became bike racers'. Less than 5 minutes after the race the skies opened up in a torrential downpour that lasted about ten minutes.
so, again, I'm thinking of changing my on-line nym to 'NHTMF'. I was listening to a story on the radio saturday on the drive home about these 'reality' show contestants that come out and say 'hey, I'm Not Here To Make Friends, ya know?'. The story said that the first contestant to utter that phrase never wins. This seems to be the story of my life, and saturdays interaction with dickhead o'keefe is merely another chapter.
So, I'm just me, busy being me, NHTMF.