Written by Bikeman Sunday, 12 June 2005 00:00
Bikeman (BM): So guys, this race is right in your backyard. There must be some excitement doing a race this close to home. How did it go for you?
"Long Tall" Steve (LT): I'll start by saying that the temperature was hovering above 90 degrees all day and it must have been 95 degrees and 90 percent humidity for the 23 mile 3/4 race. Also, the course is probably one of the most dangerous for a criterium on the New England schedule. Lots of metal infrastructure sticking out of the road, half-patched potholes, and a really fast right hander littered with gravel at the bottom of a 35 mph downhill.
Matty D (MD): I concur. I get excited for this race every year (because it's 3 miles from my house) then once it starts I remember how hard and sketchy it is. I really dislike it by the end. I also managed to nail a piece of that infrastructure on lap 3 I think it was. A nice 2" of water pipe coming straight up out of the asphalt. The white paint marking didn't do me much good in the bunch. Good thing I was on tubulars.
BM: Steve, you mentioned the heat. Was it a factor for you today?
LT: I sat at the back of the peloton for the first half, as is my routine, trying to keep the body temp as low as possible. I made the mistake of only bringing 1 bottle of Hammer HEED and I paid dearly for it, because I was just about empty at the halfway point. Oh well, live and learn...don't listen to others advice about how much liquid to bring with you.
MD: Yeah, I was wishing I brought two bottles as well. Good thing I told you to only bring one so I could finish in front of you!
BM: So once the race was in full swing what was your strategy?
LT: I slowly started to move up in the field, which took some work. I just about got to about the top 30 or so, when there was a 5 or 6 rider pileup in front of me, which meant I had to come to complete stop, tiptoe through the bodies and bike parts, and then time trial back to the group (which used this as an opportunity to try and blow the race apart). It took me half a lap to sprint back on, at which time the heat started to affect me. I started to get the shivers, a headache and my feet and hands were tingling...not a good sign. With 6 laps to go, I figured I could still finish without having a heart attack, but it was going to be close, because my bottle was bone-dry.
MD: I had a pretty good run of it considering the sprinter-centric field and the heat. I was up at the front most of the time trying to stay out of pile ups like Steve described because I knew with the heat effecting guys and all the crap in the road it could get hairy. Every time up the hill in the bunch the heat would build under my helmet and I felt like I was wrapped in a wool blanket. Ugh.
BM: After recovering from the mishap and battling the heat did you either of you get a chance to make a move?
LT: A few laps to go, and I actually started to feel OK again. I moved back up in the field, and then some guy rammed hard into the steel traffic barrier, taking down a few other riders on the start-finish uphill. Again, I had to basically stop, find a line around it, and then sprint to get back on. I saw the gentleman that hit the fence getting loaded into the meat wagon on the next lap. I guess Matt got stuck behind the crash too, because I could hear him muttering profanity as he came by me trying to catch the group.
MD: Yeah that was awful. He was right in front of me when he lost it. I don't know why he laid it down because no one did anything to instigate it. I think he got spooked and grabbed too much brake, next thing I know he's arse over teakettle right in front of me. I had to stop completely and pull my bike off his bike. Then sprint up the hill to the sound of the bell lap. the leaders had already gone through so my race was pretty much doomed at that point. Too bad because I was right up there and feeling pretty good. I drove it as hard as I could and managed to make it back to 24th spot at the line. That's road racing for you. Wrong place wrong time and you're all done. I'm happy to have all my skin though! That's a plus!
LT: At the end, I resigned to finishing at the back, no need to sprint for 50th place when I was borderline heat-stroked. I just chalk the race up to bad luck and lousy conditions.
MD: I chalk it up on my "find another race that weekend" board.
BM: Wow, sounds like you made the best of a real tough day. Thanks guys.
Images by: Pave Productions
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