Written by Matt DeMeis Saturday, 07 May 2005 00:00
As predicted the rain was nowhere to be seen out there but it was pretty cold, cloudy and windy. It was me, LT Steve and Tom Hopper on the road squad for todays event and we headed out for the 54 miles ahead around 11:30am.
*Lap 1:* I had never done this race before (neither had Steve or Tom) so we decided to hang out in the scrum for the first lap and do some observing. After about the first 1/2 of the lap we were going so slow at times i was starting to get cold, so I took a few pulls to warm up. A few minutes later I think Big Steve had the same idea but on a grander scale. I saw him attacking up the side and going off on a solo break so I decided to join him. We got a pretty good gap really quick and it actually freaked us out somewhat. Taking short pulls we probably got at least 1/2 a minute on the field but decided, not knowing what was ahead and the mob now being led by my brother trying to reel us in, to drop back and sit in for a bit. In hindsight I think we should have kept it up and tried the suicide break. The lap ended with a fast downhill into a tight right hand chute with an immediate uphill climb to the start/finish and back out for the other laps. That corner would prove to be the deciding factor in the outcome of the race.
*Lap2:* Same as lap one but no shenanigans from me or Steve. There were points when we were going so slow. I was thinking to myself "I can't believe how slow we are going right now" when I hear someone in the pack behind be say "14(mph) guys...14..." HA! Turns out it was my brother Jude. It was seriously stupid slow at times, then the pace would soar up the back of the lap up the long climb right before the downhill and right hander. I had a great spot on the start/finish climb on lap 2 and I decided that was the place to be for the last lap. If you were in the top 10 guys going into that right hander you could carry so much speed that there was no need to pedal up the first part of the climb. That was the goal for lap 3. Get that spot.
*Lap 3:* Same old slow pace on the first 1/2 but good fast tempo up the backside climb. The pace got real high right before the downhill to the chute and all hell began to break loose as the jockeying for position began. I think I need to eat more steak and donuts because trying to jockey for position in a pack of sprinting roadies when you weigh in at 134 is no easy task. I ended up getting squeezed out of my sweet spot and had to use up too much energy on the bottom part of the climb while stuck in the slingshot effect. It ended up as a field sprint at the line and my legs went dead about 12 bike lengths out. I look over and there is Long Tall Steve, in the 53 ring, out of the saddle, with a cadence of probably 5 rpm emptying the tank and picking off people left and right! Amazing for his second year on the bike. We finished 22 and 27 (Steve/me) with Tom rolling in for 68. I think it was a successful day considering it was the first race of the year for Tom and I plus there were well over 100 starters. It always amazes me how you can cross the line 13 seconds after the leader in a road race and still be in the 20s or 30s.
It's still early on in the year and I think it's encouraging to see how strong the guys on the team are. It can only get better. We're gonna bring home a win on the road this year or go down trying.
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