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Housatonic Hills Road Race

Team Bikeman - Race Reports

Guess again grasshopper. Here are some of the unwritten rules of the Cat 4 peloton...

1. Chase down EVERYTHING. Breakaways are evil.
2. Yell at anyone you can for anything you can think of. For example...
          rider 1: "RIGHT SIDE!! RIGHT SIDE!!!"
          rider 2: (holds a straight line so as not to obstruct rider 1)
          rider 1: "I SAID RIGHT SIDE!! RIGHT SIDE!!!"
          rider 2: "Are you gonna pass or are you just gonna yell?"
          rider 1: "I'm just telling you that I'm here!!!"
3. Grab your brakes (hard if possible) before all corners and at the base of hills.
4. Do little to no work so as to save yourself for the sprint finish that will inevitably occur due to rule #1.

Follow these simple rules and you'll be all set in the cat 4 peloton. Now, on to the RACE!

The course was awesome. Hands down the best RR course I've been on to this day. 56 miles of good climbing, great 50 mph descending and a nice variety of in between. It's always a struggle to get anywhere when there is the yellow line rule and 125 riders in a field so that's what lap 1 of two was spent on, trying to get to the front. I had a rough 1st lap because I was VERY well hydrated and had to pee the entire lap. By the last climb it was painful. I had to do something. I had to either pee my pants or try and perform one of those rolling "nature breaks" you see in the TDF. I opted for #2. I waited for a flat section then went to the right and managed to not crash while relieving the pressure. Much better. I chased back on to the back of the field with the help of a fast downhill, only problem was I had not been drinking at all that lap because I had to go so bad. This calorie deficit would bite me on the finish climb.

Lap #2 was spent again trying to get back to the front after being off the back for my pit stop. Every climb I tried to make it as far forward as I could. By the end of the lap I was in a pretty good spot on the 2nd to last climb. What happened next was a true testament to how hungry some people are. An ambulance was coming down the hill towards us and the call went throughout the field to move to the right and neutralize. As we did this a guy stacks it right in front of me, I swerve and manage to get around him. This cuts the field in two like a knife. Right after this happens some guy uses the opportunity to attack. Nice eh? Needless to say we shut him down and gave him an earful about manners. Then it was finishing climb time.

This was a good length climb but it ended with a slight downhill and then a flat for about a quarter mile. Great for an uphill sprinter. I was pretty blasted from constant moving up effort so it was damage control for the first half of the climb. As the pitch went up I was feeling better and started pulling some people back. A little too late though as the climb leveled off and the big guys were able to unleash the fury on the slight d-hill and flat to the line. I managed to salvage 27th out of 93 finishers. "LT" Steve was the victim of a flat tire at the base of the finish climb. Thanks to some quick work by the neutral wheel guys and the adrenaline rush, he pushed that big ring up the entire climb to roll in 46th. Only 2:07 back.

I'll definitely be back to this one next year but I think my game plan will be much different. You live and you learn. Keep on truckin'!!

Matt DeMeis

Image by: Zephyr Cycling Team Inc.
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