Written by Matt DeMeis Saturday, 28 May 2005 00:00
The course was basically a really fast downhill with tons of potholes, a sandy shoulder and a sweet moto gp esque corner at the bottom followed by a 2 step climb with a tiny downhill in between. At the top of the climb we took a hard right and entered the start/finish circuit which consisted of more potholes and some twisty fun turns. You really had to be at the front for this one to stay out of trouble.
Our cat 3/4 field rolled off to a nervous 'neutralized' preliminary lead out via pace car to the main part of the course. Once the race got the green light, the pace picked up quite a bit. It was pretty hot out and poor Steve lost his #2 bottle to a pothole on one of the first laps. Not what you want to have happen when the sun is that strong. Steve toughed it out in the heat, yo-yo-ing off the back on the climb for the first 3-5 laps but then found his groove with the help of our friend Kipper and a spare water bottle. People were dehydrating left and right. I was pounding Hammer HEED like there was no tomorrow at the top of the climb every time and I think that was key. I felt great the whole time.
The craziest think happened around Lap 6. I was on the front taking a pull into the start finish circuit. I'm driving it down a little rise and I look up ahead to see a water bottle rolling across the road. No biggie right? Well, an old man was following the water bottle out into the road! I guess he wanted to pick it up. It was so surreal. The whole thing was like slow motion. I couldn't believe this guy was in the road and there was a pack of 90+ guys behind me that had no idea he was there. There was nothing I could do, I yelled heads up to everyone behind and went around the guy hoping that everyone else did the same. I thought he was going to die, I really did. I guess everyone made it around him because the race didn't stop and there was no evidence of an incident next lap through so that was good.
There was a major crash on the downhill the next lap with 4-5 guys going down hard. One guy had to be taken out on the plank. Argh. Going into the finish I had a really good spot but the whole thing went down the pooper with .5k to go. The combination of the crap pavement and almost getting my wheel swept 5 times made me pull the plug. Not worth it hitting the deck for 20th place, I swung wide out of the scrum and sat up. Letting the swarm bow past, I rolled in right after the field sprint with all my skin. Big Steve stuck it out in the mob and was swept along with them for 28th spot. I looked over after pulling off and saw the mob going by. It resembled the running of the bulls or something. Steve later told me there was no room for anything in there you were just sandwiched in and sprinting like cattle not making up any places, just trying to keep from getting run over by the dudes yelling behind you. HA! It was combat, pure combat.
All in all Team Bikeman.com had a pretty good showing despite what the results reflect. But hey, that's racing on the road. You can be having the best race of your life and have it go south within sight of the finish line. It's a long summer ahead, and the road podium is so close we can taste it!!!
Photos by: Clovis Photo
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