Headed off early on Sunday AM to have the wrenches at BD check out my BB. It was knocking like Big Ben and really loose. Apparently nothing new to those who have owned or worked on FSA cranks/BBs. Luckily, the cyclocross bike I brought with me as back up wasn’t necessary as the guys at BD quickly took care of business. This meant I was at the small town of Leonard a wee bit early…11:30 and my race didn’t go off until 2:15. So, since this was a big block training week, I figured I’d ask for my combination to the 30/40 hurt locker.
Plan was to protect our man’s interests. Bill Brown is near the top of the 40+ BAR chart and my job, along with the other n-tieractives, was to monitor the threats. Mainly Ramon Benitez and John Kelly. Unfortunately, Ramon got away in a two-man break (I think with Roger Friend) – surprise? We worked hard to bring it back, but not hard enough I guess. Ramon’s teammate, Bo Lee, was doing a good job of covering moves too. Several times I would go to the front and push the pace, slip off, and roll to the back. Eventually, our group was dwindled down to about 15, I think. With 3 to go we sort of hit a lull. Everyone was looking at each other. So I decided to pick the pace back up and went up the right side of the road on the back stretch while the group sat on the left. It wasn’t an attack. Sort of a “come on and chase and let’s get going”. I turned the corner and had a gap, so I started stomping on the gears. Out of the next corner the gap had grown, so I went for broke. I nearly broke myself over the next few laps, but it paid off, even with a hard chase by 1 or 2 riders trying to catch me. I rolled across the line 3rd (1st 30+). That was unexpected. I felt like shit on the line.
Next up the 3/4. I was really unmotivated trying to warm back up for this race after the previous one. On the line I felt worse than the 30/40 race. As with many crits I’ve done I questioned my ability to finish the race from about the first turn until about the last. They’re damn fast. Having already raced I figured there was no shame in bowing out. The pace wasn’t as fast as the 30/40, but it was more aggressive – if that makes sense. I made one weak ass effort to get away. Mike Esmonde was on a personal mission to crush everyone and was attacking like mad. Dropping bombs every lap it seemed. So I rolled up the right side of the group on the back side of the course (deja-vu?). I offered a sneaky look to Mike and then took off. He jumped and a few others came. I thought this was good, but quickly realized we really didn’t have a gap and just let myself slip back into the fold. With 6 laps to go it was clear this was coming down to a sprint. With 2 to go I moved up in the pack to around 6th or 7th. Cliff Chamberlain from ETS was drilling it for his sprinter, Jose. The pace was great because it eliminated any knucklehead moves – it was just too fast to come around. He was killing it. On the last lap in the back stretch I moved up behind Jose, to around 5th wheel. Turns out I “pushed” some folks off Jose’s wheel (sorry Paul), but I guess that’s the nature of the beast. I was in a good spot now for the sprint. Cliff pulled off, Mike Bradbury, sitting in 3rd, jumped, and Mike Esmonde got on his wheel. Jose followed with me in tow. I scrubbed too much speed going into the last corner and they were up the road and gone. I fought for 4th as someone was nipping at my heels all the way to the line.
Leonardtown crit is a great course. Fast, slightly sketchy, but not dangerous. Other then some guys tapping their brakes at the wrong time going into the course’s really tight turn, there wasn’t too much in the way of crashes or mishaps. Oh wait, there was the umbrella that came flying out into the peloton in the early laps of the 30/40 race. That was really sketchy. But not the course’s fault.
The race is selective. You’ve got to have that interval base – the repeatability of acceleration – especially on the 120 degree, off camber, uphill turn. It hurt every time.
As of Sunday afternoon I had about 930 TSS and 16.5 hours of training. That’s a good week. Beauty of it is, I don’t really feel fatigued. Yet.
3/4 pix poached from Mancil Gray
great sequence. Mike E. taking the W. Jose 2nd. Mike B. 3rd. And me, just barely getting 4th.