|From the neck down, I look amazing. Photo: Roger Cadman|
With Casco Bay canceled on account of two straight days of mediocre precipitation, my hopes of being crushed in a 1/2/3 field were temporarily dashed. Until I learned that the Minuteman Road Club was putting on a race in Lancaster MA, which also happened to host a 1/2/3 field. Only an hour from home, and as my last race was a week prior and approximately 8 minutes long, I felt compelled to make the trip and take some long overdue abuse.
As I registered day of, I was relegated to the back of the pack, which in this scenario is like giving yourself two flat tires before you even start. I took off well and stayed with the field, but the cumulative effect of waiting behind guys stacking up in turns left me DFL within half a lap. Staging is everything.*
*Alright, it’s not. As Colin pointed out, the very rider who took 2nd place in this race started right where I did. If you have skills, staging is fairly unimportant. This is a good lesson.
Biggest problem right now is tire pressure with the clinchers I have. I know exactly what I want to run for pressure, but weighing 175, I need to absolutely nail it square on or I will roll the tire (see: Providence). I had it perfect at Gloucester and the last few UNH races, but yesterday I was erring on the side of too cautious and it was a mess. I couldn’t feel a thing underneath the bike, hit every turn like shit, and had such little confidence that it was hopeless. A few times I thought about stopping to take a little air out; I probably should have done that. I’m working diligently on putting together a tubular setup; I came across some tires on the cheap, but I’m still scrounging actual wheels. Wrong time of the year to be doing that.
I hung in and kept pushing, hoping to at least catch somebody, somewhere. I knew it was a long race (60 minutes) and if I just kept at it, something would materialize. Each lap I’d see a few guys that were maybe 20 seconds ahead, and by two to go, I finally reeled one of them in. Huge relief. After probably 45 minutes in no man’s land. Within half a lap, the guy quit, but I rode like he was right on my ass anyway. Energy wise I did okay, but this race is 20 minutes longer than the 40 I’m used to; I definitely was ready for the end when it came.
Delighted to have only been lapped once by the leaders, I ended up 44/52. Eight dropped out, leaving me the last finisher, which I happily take pride in. This is a very talented field. And they’re decent guys. With the possible exception of the one who lapped me and then asked me to block his pursuer on the last lap, who I’m 50-60% sure was kidding.
Post-race, I broke grilled cheese with Ryan Kelly, which from cursory internet research is more or less what was written about in Luke 22:19, only for UNH alumni. All in all a good day, a good bout of fitness, and something to make the next 3 race feel just a little slower. HAHAHAHAHA probably not. But at least it’s shorter.