Where did everybody go?
Kenosha Velosport Practice Race#2
March 16, 2008 – Kenosha, WI
Bueller? Bueller? Looking back, there was no one on my wheel. I had a 20-30 yard gap that was growing. Huh?
With just under 2 laps to go, fellow XXXer Brian Boyle sat up after pulling the peloton along for a few minutes and was waving for someone to take over. The lethargic pack remained huddled together just before making the uphill turn into the wind. At this point, I came up hard on the outside to see who would go with me. With a three man breakaway up ahead and nowhere in sight, I didn’t think anybody was going to push the pace. What the heck. I thought my “attack” would at least keep the XXX-induced momentum going. Brian later commented that this probably looked like a well-coordinated move to everyone else.
Once I looked back and saw the gap, I kept with my plan to push the pace as hard as I could for as long as I could. I didn’t win the state championship last year for my sprinting ability, so the only way I’d be able to place well was by staying off the front. As the minutes went by, I occasionally looked back to see my gap was still there. Going into the bell lap, I was surprised the peloton hadn’t lifted the pace and caught me. Unfortunately, I was running out of gas faster than out-of-tune Chevette. After 5 minutes at VO2max, I had to settle back into LT pace. The peloton finally caught me in the final turn. I got swept up and at least finished at the back of the pack. Oh, well, had the race ended 200 m sooner…
Brian, Bryce Hanna, and I chatted during the cool down about the XXX presence in the race. Bryce had helped push the pace early on. Things got a little pedestrian about 10 minutes into the race and the winning breakaway got off during a series of attacks. The peloton split and I took over on the front to eliminate the gap, but we unfortunately lost Bryce in the resulting mayhem to keep the pack together. As the race progressed, Brian took the initiative to keep the pace high. Looking back at my power data, I figured I was off the front either pulling or on my solo break for about 10% of the race. Combined with Brian and Bryce, I figured XXX was off the front for about 25% of the race. Although none of us finished high in the standings, we were a force in the race and were out front proudly displaying our sponsors on our new attention-grabbing kits.
Overall, the Masters 30+ race was a lot of fun for a practice crit. The majority of the pack were experienced racers with some very fast guys among us. I think most of the 30 or so riders were simply using the race as a workout. The cold and windy conditions also probably contributed to the subdued race. It was still nerve wracking when you knew what they could have done.
I’m happy that Kenosha Velosport and ABR were able to get the new course now that Parkside is dead. It’s got a few rough spots, but it’s relatively easy and ideal for practice races. A big thanks to the volunteers and officials for coming out on a cold Sunday to allow us bike geeks to shake the early season rust out.