Myles Standish State Forest Race Report – 40+ and 123
I’ve done this race a number of times and it always draws a crowd. The scenic State Park roads are closed off during the event so there’s no yellow-line rule and we can feel like pros for a day using the whole road. The course is a rolling 5-mile circuit without any major climbs or turns, but one major high speed descent which sorts out the bunch finish. I entered the 25-mile masters 40+ race and also the 50-mile P123 race which went off right after. Ben Koyle and Alan Potter joined me in the 40+ field – both having raced already. Ben was racing again with me in the 123 race which would give him over 100 miles of racing on this course by the end of the day if he survived!
My goal was to sit in the whole race, not chase breakaways, and not attempt go in a breakaway. All these goals conflict with my inner-wiring but I wanted to race the P123 race as well as I could and couldn’t burn too many matches before it started. We had about 45 starters with the usual heavy hitters at the top who all know each other well. There were a number of strong looking breakaway attempts throughout the race that all ended up getting caught. I didn’t chase, I sat in, and if a breakaway stayed away I’d just let it go. OK, maybe I chased a little. While this was a gamble, it paid off as all breakaways got caught and by the last lap I was on the front helping chase a few down so I could contest the finish. With half a lap to go we got neutralized for a crash in the Cat 5 field at the finish – ugh! We stopped for a while on the side of the road and then the officials brought us back for a restart so we could ride a complete last lap and contest the finish. I found my way to the front with half a lap to go and there was a breakaway off the front holding strong since a couple big teams were in it. I helped chase it down on the favorable flatter part of the course and this positioned me well for the finish. The finish to the race involves a narrow descent that curves down to the left – complete with what I can only describe as a speed bump near the bottom – and then opens up to a high speed 30-second sprint down a gradually narrowing road to the finish line. There have been plenty of crashes here in the past because of the dynamics that occur. If you’re not in the top group of riders heading down this hill your risk for being involved in some kind of incident, well, skyrocket. I’d rather lead out the downhill and take my chances getting passed than deal with trying to overtake riders in the bunch sprint. I pushed a steady pace on the front until about a mile to go another rider overtook me and I could feel the inevitable surge of all the riders trying to do the same thing as me and get to the front before the narrow descent. I hammered the final rise to get back on the front and tucked on the descent. Uber-sprinter David Hildebrand was on my wheel with a train behind him which he’s used to. I tucked and recovered the best I could on the descent to prepare for the finish. As soon as I could get a line off the turn I surged as hard as I could – hoping to string out a long sprint at high speed and hold on which was my best card to play. I could hear the yelling behind and after my initial surge looked under my arm to see I had a decent gap to Dave’s maroon kit and others behind him. All I could do is hang on and stay aero in the headwind and hope the finish line came. I don’t remember if I ever stood, but with the finish line approaching I took one more glance under my shoulder and my gap was shrinking but still there. I crossed the finish line, kept my bike stable under my wobbly body, and finally raised my arm for my first road race win in 4 years! That felt good.
I worked my way around the side roads to get back to the start for the P123 race which would go off in 10 minutes and I still needed a new race number and bottle refills. They stopped us before the finish again since there was a crash – in our 40+ race…I didn’t know until I walked past and saw Ben dusting himself off with scraped up arms and legs that he was caught up in it. He was fine, and what better than a 3rd race to take his mind off of it! We swapped numbers and lined up for the 123 race.
P123 race – 50 miles
I won’t go into much detail here. I had a race in my legs already with a big effort at the end which I knew I’d feel. I sat on the back and planned to treat it as a training race at this point – still happy from my 40+ win. There was a crash on the 2nd lap that I was behind. I saw a few guys I know down and stopped to check on them. They were all fine, some dropping out, but I now had to chase back to the field with a couple other guys. It took me half a lap to catch back up and by the time I made it back my tank was nearing empty. I sat on the back of the field for 50 miles which was getting harder toward the end just to do that. I tried a surge toward the end but had nothing and let everybody pass before the descent so I could pedal safely into the finish. It was a great day of racing and finished with 87 miles on that course!
Next event is the B2VT ride and MS150 so it’s time for some longer miles. Thanks for reading!