Well as race reports go this won't be a good one, but you gotta take your lumps in this sport. I had bad legs and low energy. This doesn't happen to me often, but it does happen, and I can't do anything to change it once I'm in the midst of it, like anyone.
It was my first race in the 45s group and I've always known those races are the same or even harder than some of the 35s races, but I have to admit, I had a little bit of the classic over confident feeling going into it. I was also heavily marked, which is that nice compliment that nobody wants.
I think it was a couple of my attacks into the wind that split the field, but it was a big group with 3 Arc en Ceil hall of famers in there. They did exactly what good teams do without ever having to go over the plan. They started hitting us with attacks, and when one was covered the next teammate went. They got a very well deserved win from good friend David Kellog. Randy and Todd played their roles perfectly. A small chase group caught us after it became super negative, and that just added to the ass kicking I took in the gallop to the line. I ended up 8th.
Race #2 was the 35s immediately after the suffer fest that was the 45s. Teammate Bill Shattuck had already raced the PRO race with Jamie Tosca so all we had was 2 hurtin' puppies for the 35s. (Jamie is only 34 racing age).
I felt awful in the early laps of the race and watched helplessly as the strongmen got in a break. Arc en Ceil once again got 2 guys in there. Man they did a great job all day!
Meanwhile I was struggling to even hold onto the group, but the pace eased a bit and I slowly started to feel a little better. The break was gone and not coming back ever again. There I was riding around in the bunch after not making the break, or even trying. There's nothing I hate more! It's so obnoxious how some guys will then chase hard after guys that try flyers, only to catch them and then go right back to soft pedaling as the real leaders ride farther away (and I'm not talking about guys with teammates in the break). Feeling my self hatred boil up I figured I owed it to myself to do everything possible to not be the thing I despise.
I threw in an attack after the welders brought back a flyer, and gained a decent gap. I got help when a CVC rider bridged up and we started to rotate, but he only lasted for a lap and then exploded. I think he may have been in a long break in the PRO race too. Anyway it lasted for about 10 or 11 laps in that brutal wind when I got caught by 2 riders with 1-1/2 to go, and then the whole field 30 meters from the line. It was a flogging I richly deserved.
Anyway this race isn't about me, or you or any of the winners on the day. It's about Chris Hinds and his son that he left far too early in life, and for that I'm glad I gave every ounce my body could muster up on the day. Thanks to everyone for supporting this race, and if you didn't donate your prize money, then you should send it back now. Jon Lowenstien and the Arc en Ceil team (and others) have done an amazing thing for this family. I never met Chris, or his wife and son, but it's clear that they are part of the family. The family of The New England Bike Racing Community.
This is the thank you note that just about everyone reading here, already read from their own email inbox. A touch of class that pulls on the heart strings for sure!
FROM: 8th Annual Chris Hinds FUJI "Sunshine" Criterium
Thanks to everyone for racing yesterday. For the first time in 5 years, we had a perfect day with actual sunshine. We ended up with about 100 more people this year from last. We made a bit of money to give to Sam Hinds, Chris Hinds' 8 year old son. I did all the paperwork today, and we cleared a little over $3,000.00. We only made about $1,400 last year. That's the best we have ever done since moving the race to Ninigret. I consider this race a long term project as Sam grows up and plan on putting it together for many more years. I know the little that this race produces could never replace Chris for Sam, but it should add up over the years. I spent about one half hour talking with Sloan, Chris's wife, while the 45's were racing. She told me how much the race means to her and Sam. He likes to come out and see some of "Daddy's friends" each year.
Thanks for reading, JB