Man, do I want this one back!
With Irene looming, it seemed like everyone wanted to get in a race before we had to deal with things like downed trees, power outages and yard clean ups. The field was stacked with good regional cat 1s and 2s as well as some of the stronger masters around. Over 110 riders on a lumpy 4.6 mile circuit with some really fast downhills meant everyone wanted to be at the front. Luckily we had a rolling closure of the roads. The first couple laps were nervous and sketchy as everyone got familiar with the turns and descents. There were more than a couple close calls. The problem here is that if there was a problem on one of the descents, it was gonna be a big, bad problem. Luckily there were none.
My plan was to be patient and save my matchbook for later when this race would get really hard. The thing is though, it was going really hard at times and guys were in trouble all over the place. Also, an early break had gone the last couple of years with a few ccb riders in it and that was it.....curtains. I started to think that would be the case today the way things were going.
After a fair amount of pressure over the back of the course, I guess about 3 laps into the 11-1/2 lap race, we came into an uphill left hander where it kicks up pretty good. I shot out of the bunch and drilled it up the hill to the top. A quick look back told me I had 2 guys with me. One was from 1K2GO and the other from CCNS. They both pulled through and we bombed into a gravity cavity (steep downhill followed by a steep uphill). The field had all the momentum and by the top of the hill we were caught. I knew it was doomed without a ccb guy in there. There were about 25 of those guys in the race it seemed, which makes sense, since it's promoted by Geoff Hamilton and the ccb team.
The next few laps was some great racing, guys were drilling it all over the place and the front 20 or so guys kept recycling to the front either attacking or chasing or trying to bridge to something. It was pretty hard and I didn't do a good job with the fluid intake. Plus I was torching matches at an alarming rate. I was starting to think it might stay together all the way now, even though there was alot of agression. I slid back in the bunch a little to sit out a lap of the fireworks and noticed several strong riders that hadn't been up front firing off bullets. They were being smart and economical. Fuckers! I realized I had no chance whatsoever with my legs in the hurt locker if we came to the end with these guys sitting here nice and fresh. Time to flick them.
With 3 laps to go I worked my way back up to the front of the bunch, just then 2 guys took a flyer, they were moving well, sharing the work, and ccb strongman Paul Richard took to the front in chase mode. All along the false flat backside he drilled it, with me on his wheel. I just about came off the wheel twice, he was going so hard. Just as we hit the uphill left hander he nailed them back and there was a sit up. I knew if everyone was as blown as I was from that hard tempo that Paul did, that it'd be the perfect time to hit out.
With the adrenaline that comes from knowing you're going to attack, I was able to crush it all the way to the top, but I was smashed when I got there. A quick look showed me what I wanted to see, a ccb rider, Famous Amos Brumble and also Bobby Bailey from 1K2GO. Pretty good company, and a huge gap back to the field, it had worked. Everyone was crosseyed from Paul's effort that there must not have been a reaction to the 3 of us. The most important part was that we had a ccb rider. No move was going anywhere without one of them.
Amos pulled through immediately, instead of playing defense like so many master's riders do. He drilled it so hard that I couldn't get on. Bobby and I actually took a couple pulls for each other just to get back up to him before the descent. We powered up the other side and it looked good. Amos went so friggen hard down the hill that he gapped me off and I probably have 40 lbs. on him. Near the bottom, he flicked the elbow for someone to pull through. I was trying, but still wasn't quite there yet after my hard attack. Bobby realized this and went to go around me to take a pull, but I was moving over too. We banged into each other at 40 mph. Have you seen Bobby Bailey? The guys is built like a brick shithouse. Both of us handled the contact just fine and it was understood that it was accidental and we went about our business of trying to make this jailbreak stick.
A few others were able to bridge up, and then a few more. I was a little discouraged that so many made it, but it was still worth it, and not everyone, but some guys were still drilling it. It looked good. Of course Dylan McNicholas (ccb) and Al Donahue (NCC-JAM) made it as well as "good ole boy" Tyler Munroe (ccb) and another 1K2GO rider, a CCNS rider, a Sunappee rider, Bill Yarbroudy (NBX), and John "Badass" Bedassa (Arc en Ciel). If you haven't heard of John yet......you will soon. Best I can tell he has no chinks in the armour, and can just about snap the cranks off the bike.
It was hard in the break, with 2 to go I thought we might be able to crack off some of the dead wood going up the climb, but it didn't happen. I wanted a top 5 or 6 result, maybe better. It looked good....Until the last lap when my good old friend, the "big C" reared its ugly head. On the bell lap, I had cramps shoot through my legs on 2 of the climbs, nothing I couldn't live with, but sprinting usually doesn't go so well in that situation. Crap!
Coming into the uphill finish, I was in a perfect spot, sitting 4th or 5th wheel with Tyler on the front just keeping it fast into the last turn. We flew around the corner and never came close to touching the breaks. Perfect! I knew we had to go from there and I stood up to charge like everyone else. Dylan had a sharp jump and pretty much sealed the deal right there. "Angry Legs Yabroudy", and "Badass" went flying by in a flash. I just had to kick it in for the best finish I could get, but my legs instantly siezed and it simply wasn't gonna happen. Now I was in the way. Everyone flew by as I sank deeper into the quicksand. I finished 12th, which sucked considering the opportunity that was there.
If I played my hand a little differently in a few key spots, things could have been different. Oh well, at least I laid it all out there, and at least those guys sitting in the pack waiting to kill it on the last 1/2 a lap didn't get to come out to play, small victory there I guess.
Thanks for stopping by, JB