Photo Courtesy of Jim Wilson
I love this race. Not just the because the mile of dirt road (my favorite section), but because it’s a hard race. It’s the mid-Atlantic’s Roubaix. Sort of. It’s a selective course with wind, rolling roads, some steep “walls”, and of course the dirt. This year it was cool, cloudy, and light on/off rain. Perfect. The results however, were not. 7th. Our plan was to be attentive to threatening attacks, get in these breaks, or initiate our own in the closing laps. The race was pretty aggressive with plenty of attempts to get away. But it appears that the 3s are strong and everyone that was a potential breakaway threat was watched. I know I was watching the usual suspects. This led to attacks that were bound to come back. On the 4th lap I attacked after the dirt section going up the little wall. Some guys were trying to bridge, so I slowed up as I knew I needed support. Jose, John Brewer, Eric Krause, Todd Hesel, etc. Somehow, we couldn’t get it to work. We tried, but teams didn’t have their shit together and we were chased down. On the last lap John Brewer attacked again and I jumped across, and we were chased down again. I can understand it, I guess, but why not launch someone across rather than just bringing it back? Sour grapes on my part I guess.
I started cramping on the last lap after the dirt section and thought my race was over. After some vigorous leg slapping to the hammies, my legs relented enough to keep going. I attacked one last time on the steep section before the last mile and half or so. My legs were locking and I wasn’t going anywhere, so I just stayed near the front for the sprint or next attack. I had good position going into the sprint, sitting behind Mike Esmonde, who was sitting behind Jose – but when they jumped – and I jumped – I nearly went catatonic from cramps and just hung on to the line hoping not to lose any places.
That’s pretty much everyone’s story who tried to get away. Paul Lengermann was away for a lap, dangling off the front. As was Mike Githens (Gtown U.) in the early going. For whatever reason nothing worked. As I said earlier…I think everybody was watching each other expecting a break to get away, which subsequently led to everything being chased. The surprising part was the 4th lap break. I think almost every team was represented – so why not work to let it stick? To some extent I suppose, like myself, there are a lot of recently upgraded cat 3s (and it was a 3/4 race), or maybe some guys are by themselves, and just don’t “get” team tactics.