Tuesday, July 6, 2010

At Least No One got Hurt - Part 4

So I got to work today, and a co-worker asked if I had a nice weekend.

I replied, "Well, no one got hurt".

Not _quite_ true...there were a few crashes, but no one got hauled away in an ambulance. This was a far cry from the typical 4th of july weekend I used to experience before I started bike racing, when the excitement consisted of a bag of weed, assorted alcohol, usually some blow, and the occasional psychotropic. Mix that with driving various models of early 70's GM sedans and living on the NH border where fireworks are sold legally and....well....one can see how careening down the side of a mountain at near 60 mph on a bicycle wearing 20 oz of lycra and 10 oz of a polystyrene excuse for a helmet is inherently safer.

Monday was the criterium. The Longsjo classic started 51 years ago as a criterium, and has continued uninterrupted since then, turning into a 4 day stage race somewhere around 1990. The time trial, road race, and circuit race formats have changed over the years, but the one thing that has remained constant since the 4 day format was started has been the crit. Before about 1990, it was down one block from where it is now. They moved it up one block a few years before it became a stage race, and it's been there ever since. Except for about one guy in the masters field, this race is older than all of the competitors. It's older than a few of the juniors grandparents.

As far as crits go, it's pretty boring. It's classified as a 3 corner crit, but the two corners on the bottom of the course (turns 2 and 3) are less than 100 feet apart, both 90 degrees, and if you enter the corner in the first few riders you really can't even pedal before you exit turn 3. So what you _really_ have is a .9 mile circuit, on a slight hill, with two 90 degree corners.


Still, it's survived due to a combination of local support (The city and residents _love_ this race), Legacy (and by extension a pretty much reserved spot on the calendar), and a good prize list. Being a legit UCI and NRC race helps as well.

I wrote all that because, when you get right down to it, it's a basic boring crit, and has little outcome on the GC. Unless you have good teams racing, it's a promenade where everyone sits and waits for someone else to make a move.

I hate that shit.

Fortunately, Masters racing usually has some sort of team dynamic. While I wouldn't say the 2010 edition of the Longsjo Stage Race Criterium Masters category was a 'barn-burner', it was about as interesting as crits get from a racers perspective. Jonny Bold had the GC pretty much locked up barring a crash, so he was working to get his teammate Sam Morse clear enough to take at least 2nd spot. This isn't the kind of course a group can get away on without the support of a decent sized team. As a result, every attempt at breakaways was neutralized by the dozen-or-so opportunists in the field. The only thing that kept the race interesting at all was the points competition/primes.

I took two flyers off the front during the race, mostly because I was bored. My team mate also went for two forays off the front, but since he is _very_ well known locally as a strong and successful break away specialist, he wasn't allowed any slack. I lost steam during my first attempt since they rang the bell for a prime as I came through with only a small gap. My second flyer briefly sparked the interest of the former race leader Max Lippolis and current race leader Jonny Bold. However, as soon as Bold bridged up to us that raised enough warning bells in the field to evoke a chase and we were caught after one lap, Not a big deal really, if those two decided to keep it going, I'm pretty sure they would have dropped me. My team is also well-known locally for ripping up criteriums. Two of my more successful teammates are very aggressive, and my captain is....reviled...to be polite. I'd _like_ to think the riders in the field saw a Cyclonauts jersey attacking and thought 'we can't let those guys go', but hey, who am I kidding. If it was my team captain attacking they'd know for sure it was time to hold on for dear life, but seriously...my team captain outweighs me by 60 pounds (and my other teammate at the longso by at least 50 pounds) - something quite obvious when wearing a bright yellow skinsuit. Any rider that would mistake either one of us for him isn't really a threat.

So, as could have been predicted, the field pretty much finished together save a few stragglers, for a Same Time finish. I moved up one spot on GC since one dude ahead of me was a no show.

I won't be on the bike much for the next couple of weeks. I have surgery scheduled to removed a benign cyst from my back this week, and a business trip next week. I'm sure by the time the Clamfest Road Race comes around I'll be a basket case (all work and no play makes Zen a fucking nut case ([Smashing the door to bits with an axe] Jack Torrance: Wendy, I'm home!)). The Clamfest is another race that's older than most of the competitors. Fun Race. A racer died there a few years ago. Killed when a 70 year old driver drove into the pack after ignoring the cops. Really. I'm not kidding. Between that and the carnival workers from the back woods of Maine, how could you _not_ have fun?


Amanda said...

dude, get thee some craft beer to get through the next few weeks. or reenact 4th of julys of old...
but really, best of luck. heal quickly. and get the hell back on your bike.

solobreak said...

no one got hurt at Workingman's tonight either! No ambulances! We are so pro.

my word verfication is noducksi which reminds me of nottadouche. Yes, we had beers tonight after the race...