Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yarmouth Clam Fest

Before going to the glorious State of Maine this past weekend I was pretty excited, because Maine is totally awesome and I had always heard great things about the Yarmouth Clam Festival race over the years.

Anyhow, I left Newton on Saturday night, with two my GreenLineVelo driven by ZipCar teammates to sleep on the floor in Portland. Now, it should be noted that before we left Newton, I had a chicken parm sub, then on the way out of Somerville (to pick up a teammate) I had a delicious chicken burrito and lastly while we were getting gas in Haverhill I had a bottle of chocolate milk and a white chocolate candy bar. This was probably the healthiest I've ever eaten the night before a race.

We arrived in Portland and after a little socializing I hit the futon pad on the floor and awoke 6 hours later to head over to the race, naturally I stopped at the local Dunkin Donuts for some health snacks.

Upon arrival in Yarmouth I did the usual pre-race nonsense, registration, changing, socializing, "warming up" and helping teammate Greg install a new chain and my used cyclocross derailleur because he had a parts explosion the day before. Then, rolled over to the start, and away we went for 35 miles of bicycle racing.

Early on it was immediately apparent that I didn't warm up enough and I felt terrible. But I hung out in the race and hoped that it would improve as the race got on. The first 5 or 6 laps were uneventful, I tried to move up a bit with Chandler, but I still felt downright awful. But, regardless at 3 laps to go I made a big push to move up and then I felt even worse.
Tailgunning, photo: Don McEwan

So on the backside of the course at 2 laps to go I floated to the end of the pack and Kyle actually gave me a little bit of a push as a warning I was about to get DROPPED, and then breakfast, and most of dinner from the night before was expelled from my body as I rolled off the back of the group.

Finishing, photo: Don McEwan

But then, I totally rallied! With the white death extracted from me, I finally felt not that terrible and I punched it to get back in the group. For the final two laps, I tailgunned hard, then moved up about 20 spots on the finishing climb. Just after that I saw Nat, and I was like "OH MAN, INTERNET" and sprinted hard for 60somethingish position and then the race was over.

I should be noted that Greg got 11th, on my used derailleur that he installed 20 minutes before the race. That man is not human.

After the race, I hung out with people, ate some fried food at the event and chilled. From there we got back in the car, and went to the beach, which was great:


Gosh, summer is swell.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crits, Crits, Crits

That's right, I've done 3 in the last two weeks, and now I shall share some brief reports.

Exeter Criterium
For those of you not in the know, the Exeter crit is one of the "big deal" weeknight crits in New England each summer and has a Pro/1/2/3 race aka, it was going to be fast. It was. All you need to know is that I paid $30 to hang out in the bunch for about 27 minutes until I decided I wanted to float back a little bit and then BOOM the field blew past me and I was off the back, solo.

Then it was time to wait for a group of 6 dudes (including young Collin) who also got DROPPED LIKE ROCKS, and we rode another 4 laps chasing in a completely disorganized fashion and then we sprinted, which I won. SO, I was the fastest guy to get pulled and placed. I'm kind of a big deal like that.

Attleboro Crit (Pro/1/2/3)

On Saturday I went on down to Attleboro to contest the big kids race and had a blast. I sat in a lot, because I'm not that good at bike racing. But there were a few moments of brilliance... I attacked with Adam Sullivan about 10 laps in and we didn't really commit to DA BREAK and I dangled off the front for a few laps, because that's how I like to roll. Then I spent a bunch of laps recovering, and started to work my way up to the front to help out Sam because he has insane sprinting watts, and he needed "protection."After helping him hold position from laps 10 to 5 to go, I was in 5th wheel and saw Adam St. Germain attack and attempt to bridge to DA BREAK, I thought, "that seems like a good idea" and followed toute-suite, only to realize that my legs did not think that was a good idea, and I swerved to the left, hoping to get out of the way, only to almost kill the rest of the group. Fortunately the group was fine and I was sent to the back of the bunch with the scrubs where I belong, which is where I finished. Sam did manage 8th place, he used his winnings to buy me a Dunkin Donuts Coolatta after the race, it was delicious.

Attleboro Crit (cat 3)

After the Elite race (above) at Attleboro, I decided to double up and do the cat 3 race because I like pain and suffering on two wheels. Early on I was aggressive and tried to attack with Uri, only to learn that my legs hurt. Then I tailgunned it for 30 laps got to the front at 4 to go to help shut down DA BREAK and turned myself inside out for my team. Then I stopped caring entirely and rolled in 2nd to last. The team got 2 guys in the top ten, so I'm fairly happy with the race.

Thoughts
Basically, I'm getting better at hurting myself by being aggressive and racing in elite fields in which I do not belong. Now I just need to get some secret watts, because I've given up on this whole "sitting in" thing.