So, here's how it went down. I started by heading out far too early and left home on Friday afternoon to head to the cool kids "Pick up you numbah" party at New England Bicycle Consulting. It was cool, some friends were there, some pro's were there, and of course there were free health snacks such as twinkies, donuts and candy, not to mention free beer. So I was off to a good start.
Then I went off to Greenfield, MA to crash with the UVM Cycling crew (and 2 colby kids), a good time was had, along with delicious dinner courtesy of Ben Danson (Dan Benson) and his folks. They are winning the lifetime weekend host awards.
Anyways, 5:45 wake up to help set up the Wheelworks tent, van, barbecue and cheer on Andy in the 4's race. I yelled, I screamed, I had a bagel, I was in a good mood. Then I watched Frances crush the 3/4 women's race (again) and now it was time for race prep.
So, change, pre-ride, hit the trainer, the usual business and I'm thinking to myself, "wow, my legs feel pretty good, better not suck." I had also convinced Liz (MHC) that she needed to amass a cheering section for me to keep me motivated throughout the race.
Ok, social time comes to an end and I cruise over to the start and wait for the start. "GO" and I immediately speed up, then slow down, pretty much to a stop. Yeah, there was a curb, it was lame, but at least I didn't get caught in a crash, like pretty much every other race on course that day.
(Jake and I are talking about the weather here, photo: lodri)
So the first half lap is chaos and I just try to move up a bit, this works pretty well until we hit the run-up, where I find my self next to Cornell Jake and we have a casual conversation because we've come to a complete stop and are walking the run-up behind all the traffic. After that I go out pretty hard, but not too hard for the first 2 laps and eventually settle in on Cim's wheel, knowing he's kinda fast as he had finished on the podium each day in the 4's last year, and from there I pretty much stayed put.
(Barriers Day 1, I'm all like "whatever,"Photo: Liz)
I passed a few, got passed by a few, but essentially I just tried to stay with Cim and the others in my group and hoped for the best. Final result 36 of 108, not great, but I rode pretty well. I did however have the added bonus of beating every UVM rider in my race, so take that UVM Cycling!
(Just barely not hitting the tree on Day 1, Photo: Uri)
Heckles/Cheers from Day 1:
"My mother rides faster than you!"
"You look more pro than you are right now!"
"You look so euro!"
"You better close that 3 minute gap to the leaders!"
Post race, I grab some free beer, begin a long "who you know"- off with Cornell Jake and watch the elite races and then have and uneventful, but pleasant evening in Greenfield and fall asleep at 9:30.
After having a good, respectable day 1, I really didn't put a whole bunch of thought into day 2, just hoped to have some good 'ole fun. Like the day before, I was there early to set-up and watch the 4 race. Which was definitely highlighted by heckling Chuck to the maximum amount, I got a few stares from the other spectators when I said "What are you doing!? YOU NEED TO MOVE UP 60 PLACES! DON'T SMILE! GET TO THE FRONT OF THE RACE AND STOP SUCKING!" Then Frances won the women's 3/4 race again and I summarily gave her a bag of sand.
Right, so did the usual pre-race routine, mostly socialized and resumed my "Who you know off" with Cornell Jake. Went to the start and was feeling good. Got the go and moved up, a lot. In fact, I may have moved up way too much and gone out too hard, and knowing from what happened at Providence Day 1, I dialed it back a bit and settled behind an Embrocation Rider's wheel, and holy lord he was fast. Ever single time we came out of a corner he would gun-it and I had to do everything in my power to get back up to his wheel, and I mean everything. It was so freaking fast, I was on the rivet and that became my entire game plan.
After 4 laps of this blistering pace I started to hear my cheering section say I was in the top 30 and all I kept thinking was "Verge Points, Verge Points, Verge Points" All the while Lee passed me about halfway into the race and I greeted him with a friendly "F%^& you Lee," to which he responded "F%^& you Steve!" and away he went. I was busy wheel-sucking and wasn't going to chase him down.
(On the off-camber ride up, Day 2, Photo: Liz)
A lap later I see Lee crash and I pass him, going full gas to catch back up to my group and away we go. By this point, my legs are really burning and it's taking more effort to stay with my group, but I try my best to hold on. Then, on the last lap disaster strikes. We hit the sandpit, I fumble and I'm immediatly passed by Cim, Lee and Jim, all people I know, WTF! So in panic mode I go all out to get back up to them, only to be out-sprinted and I coast in.
Post race I was searching for my result, some people said top 15, others top 30 and I had no clue. After what feels like eternity I see the results, 27th. AHHHH! 1 F^&*ING PLACE BEHIND LEE and 2 PLACES AWAY FROM VERGE POINTS!!! I SHOULD HAVE RIDDEN THE SAND BETTER, MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE RUN IT! AHHH! After being furious for 30 seconds, I went back to being happy with my race as it is now my best Verge series Result. Also, I caught up with Lee and we had a break-down of our epic battle from the day.
Post race more free beer, Jake and I continue the "Who you know"-off and start a new series of bets on Podiums in the elite race, (I won that by the way). Then I helped clean up, went out to the bars and crashed in NoHo, 'cause I had no reason to go home.
Since I had nothing better to do I spent Monday at New England Bicycle Consulting and got to see what they do and meet the man behind it all, Carl. Definitely a unique business model and I hope it works out for them. Also got in a skills ride and checked out the NFG Cycles shop, had some bagels and home I went.
Seriously, seriously awesome weekend.