I started in the back near the usual suspects and had an ok start but I very quickly let all the people I wanted to beat get away (Jeff Z, Bramhall, Jeremy, and Jake) so I rode my bike really hard to move up, but on the day 1 course that was 7 minutes long and had about 30 seconds of space to recover, I was not very happy. It was eerily similar to last year.
I tried hard to go fast, but I sure felt like I was not going very fast. However, I did catch Jake, who crashed a few spots in front of me and then got up and smacked my ass as I passed him, thanks dude. But regardless, I was not very happy for the next few laps as I was getting passed by guys I usually slaughter. Fortunately, about two-thirds of the way through the race I came across Dave Chiu, who I let get away early and was suffering a similar fate. We had a nice chat about how much we were each sucking and I went on my way past him to maintain my mid-pack location.
By this time I had settled in with a group of dudes and most notably Chris Bailey who has a bazillion watts and would pass me on long flat bits and then I'd get him back. During my battle with Chris I came up on Jeremy who had flatted (for the second time) and eventually ran his way to finishing on the lead lap, NICE WORK!
Ok, back to the battle with Chris, on the last lap I thought I had successfully gotten rid of him and then out of nowhere he came up behind me and I was like, "OH SHIT I NEED TO TURN ON THE GAS TO MAINTAIN MY MIDPACKNESS!" Going into the last run up I made sure I was in front of him and railed the turns in order to get a gap on his lack of technical skills. So, coming out of the grass and into the last long pavement section up to the finish I went all out my like my legs were steam engine pistons and hoped to stay away, but apparently I forgot that Chris has a bazillion watts and he closed the gap on me to take the a very well earned 53rd place to my 54th place. Hmm, 54th, that is the same neighborhood as my races at Gloucester last week, 55th & 54th.
On Saturday night I did normal people stuff like eat "comfort food," drink beer and watch football, before getting 10 hours of sleep for my day 2 adventure. Thanks to Adam Sullivan, (who is not very internet, but is very nice) for housing me.
Right, so got to the race, rode around, got loose, tried to rock out to some fresh jams and got excited to race my bike. When I went over to the start I was staged near the same people as the day before and knew I needed to kick some ass.
When the whistle blew I went out hard, passed most of people I wanted to beat and I got in to the top 30, which was a good place to be. I thought I saw Jeff Bramhall near me and then he disappeared, and after talking to him later, he was crashed really hard. So damn you whoever you are, I wanted to beat Jeff fair and square.
After the start I rode really well, sprinting out of every turn, and on to every flat, taking advantage of the on/off nature of the course. I found myself near some people I didn't know and I was feeling good. But, for the whole middle section of the race there was one guy from NBX who would wheel chop like crazy, albeit not dangerously, into turns and then fall, or drop his chain or whatever and I 'd pass him back. He was really aggressive and bumped shoulders, but hey, he was being safe so I let it slide. Until way late in the race when had passed me for the 3rd or 4th time and dropped his chain on a fast flat section after a downhill and decided it would be a good idea to stand in the middle of the course to fix it. Yeah, thanks dude, I almost ran you over.
So, after that I come through the finish line with the bell for 1 lap to go, and take a guess who has come out of nowhere to be all up ons my wheel? Chris Bailey! Bah, I thought I didn't have to try anymore! Now it was back to work to keep Chris behind me, but Chris continued to close the gap. On the last few sections and the last hard ride up I kept my shit tight and didn't let him get around me. But then, on the last set of stairs, just before the finishing straight, Chris got around me and I went deep into my database of tactics and figured I could just sit on his wheel up the finishing straight and come around him. But, for the second day in a row, I forgot that Chris has a BAZILLION watts and accelerates like a formula 1 car and he opened up a gap that I couldn't close, and once again I came in just behind him taking 35th to his 34th.
Hey, a 19 place improvement in a field of over 110 each day? I'll take that.
Other race notes:
There were some things about this event that were not so great and I'm going to get my bitch on, so deal with it
- There was a ton of glass on the course, a few minutes of raking could have helped a lot in several places. I know a few racers that went out and pick up glass by hand.
- There were a lot of places to pinch flat. There was one spot where 5 people I know got a flat, one guy twice. Would have been nice for the promoters to fill that stuff in with gravel or sticks or something.
- In addition to being very flat inducing, the race didn't have neutral support. LAME. For a big event where teams have to pay for the privilege to bring tents and the organizers can afford a few hundred yards of metal course fencing, they should be able to afford some neutral support. 35 people did not finish my race on day 1 and 41 didn't finish on day 2.
- Day 2 course had some seriously sketchy sections. Most notably a section along the water that had 1 line, where if you botched it you'd either run into a metal fence or would end up in the drink.