Myles Standish Road Race – P123 Field – 7th place
It was another perfect Spring day for bike racing. We had about 60 starters and would
ride 7 laps of the 5-mile course through the winding and punchy roads of Myles Standish State Park. There were a handful of the usual teams at the line and I even got a nice pre-race intro of my win at Marblehead last week. There was no shortage of jokes about marking and watching me, which is all good and adds to the fun of racing. JAM Fund, Green Line Velo, Engvt, and Grinta all had good sized teams and strong riders at the race.
The pace started out fast with attacks on the twisting punchy side of the course which headed south into a headwind. I didn’t expect anything to break clear so early, but with the right riders it could so I attacked and pushed the pace where I could. As we turned and headed north on the tailwind side of the course the roads were wider and the pavement got smoother. The breakaways started to form and get clear now and I found my way into several of them. Every strong team wants to have a guy in the break, or otherwise will try to chase it down. While I managed to get in a couple strong breaks off the front, the chasing main field managed to string out and hang on and not let us go. It wasn’t hard to see a handful of guys were waiting for me to attack or bridge and then would pounce on my wheel. There were a couple guys that joked the break would get chased hard and wouldn’t get away if I was in it after last week, which was a nice compliment but wasn’t helping me today, hahaha. While I’m confident with enough hard efforts I’d eventually get away with a group, I instead came up with the genius plan to let the break go clear and then bridge up to it before the gap got too large. The first part of that plan was easy, then came the harder part – bridging up. I made a couple bridging attempts but the riders that went with me had teammates in the break and would only sit on my wheel and not pull through. There would be no favors returned today. The way this typically ends up working is I’d have to pull the break until it was clear enough to prevent towing the main field with us, and then if they felt joining the break would help their team they’d start helping me close the gap. We never got to that part as I only managed to string out the chasing field behind us. By the 2nd lap I had burned a lot of matches and decided to sit back in the field and see how other options played out. With all the big teams in the break, the pace now went from fast to casual and the break quickly got out of site.
On the 3rd lap I attacked on the faster side of the course and got a nice gap behind me with a couple single riders bridging up to me. Looking back it looked like the strong teams coming across so I’d have to push the break myself until we were clear and then hope I’d have some help. The break was now over 2 minutes up the road with 20 miles to go, so we’d have our work cut out to catch up but it sure beat sitting in the field. Just as I was hunkering down into time trial mode and feeling good for the long chase – NEUTRALIZED! This…was not my day. We were stopped for a bad crash in the Cat 4 race ahead of us. The original break would keep their now huge 2:20 lead when we restarted, but the rest of the field would start together. We were eventually sent back to the starting area and would restart a full hour later for the final 4 laps of the race. After an hour of parking lot bike tricks and goofing around, the original 6-man break was sent off and after 2:20 the rest of us were released.
While closing the gap with an organized chase was a long-shot, I saw enough smaller teams and single riders going to the front to chase so I joined them. After chasing for 1.5 laps the gap was called at 1:53 and you could feel the pace start to slow as fatigue set in and the chasers collectively started making new plans. The chase was off, and sure enough attacks started again like it was a new race – the top 6 positions were off the table and the rest of us would race for…well, 7th. I had burned a lot of matches at this point and gladly watched the bigger teams who’d sat in all day get forced to the front to start chasing these new breaks. The field got neutralized again for a different crash with a little more then a lap to go, and once again we were all together. More small attacks went off the front on the last lap and Green Line Velo – who had 2 strong riders in the original break including eventual winner Sam Rosenholz (Congrats Sam!) – had at this point organized a chase as they hoped to pull the break in and contest a field sprint.
I attacked with 2 miles to go right around the same spot I attacked before we got neutralized. I got a clear gap on the field and looking back could see a couple JAM Fund riders coming across to me – Anthony Clark and Alec Donahue. This was great since both these guys are beasts, but had to sit in all day since they had a teammate in the original break. Now, finally, we were racing! Anthony and I came to a quick “agreement” to exchange pulls for the final couple miles while his teammate and a 4th rider sat in. The finish involved a high speed descent with a sweeping left turn about 40 seconds from the finish. Getting away in a break also meant I didn’t have to go through this sketchy turn with 50 other riders which was a welcome bonus on a day like today.
I was on the front for the final turn, and surged right after the turn hoping to get a gap and carry it to the finish. I had gravity working on my side too, and managed to pull away just enough to ride through the finish line solo for 7th place. Alec Donahue came in next, followed by Anthony Clark and Colin Murphy who also bridged up to our late break.
I was happy with the finish considering how the day went, and now have a few weeks off racing. As the weekends fill with kids events and busy Saturdays at the shop my next race is looking like Purgatory Road Race in early June and time trial season is right around the corner too.
Thanks for reading,