By Alberto Citarella
So here’s how the 3/4 race went down on Saturday:
It was Christian and I from the Burris Logistics-Fit Werx team, and a few guys from ORR and a group of 50-60 riders.
Lap 1: Moderate rain. About 58 or 59 degrees out. Group stays together with no major action. Going up the 1 mile climb at the end of the lap, the group drops maybe 5-10 riders. Respectable pace on the first lap but nothing brutal. A bunch of Canadians at the front doing the majority of the pulls. Gotta love those Canadians.
Lap 2: Lap 2 begins and its pissing rain now. By the middle of the lap it feels like its 50 degrees or lower. We’re all freezing. I can’t hold on to my handlebars without shaking. I’m questioning our collective sanity. I mean I have 2 kids and a wife, right? But at least I had arm warmers. I have no idea how those without handled the cold. Even still, it felt like we (or at least I) wasted more energy shivering than actually pedaling. On the second time up the climb, a group of about 10-12 riders set a good clip up the hill. Christian and I ended up in a group of about 4-5 riders about 30-45 seconds behind the leaders and spent the next 8 miles trying to latch on. We did eventually no thanks to some d’bag in our group who would pull through at mach 12, hang out exactly 10 yards in front of the us for 2-3 minutes by himself and simultaneously berate us for not pulling hard enough. It was the most idoitic display of bike racing that I’ve seen in a long time. When I say he was a completely d’bag, I am not exaggerating. We all wanted to punch him, and I think one us (who shall remain nameless 🙂 almost did).
Lap 3: After 8 miles, we catch the lead group and now there are about 15-17 of us and its the final time up the 1m climb before the final leg. Up we go again, and this time about three quarters of the way up, I lose contact. Christian continues onward, stayed within spitting distance of the leaders, and finally latched on to them (about 3-4 miles later) right before the final 2 mile climb. I think he ended up in the top 15 with a strong ride. I on the other hand soft-pedaled it in after being dropped. I continued and was going to ride to the parking lot instead of heading to the finish when Jared and a group he was in passed by me, so I latched on and made my way onward asking Jared if he wanted to just bail with me on the final climb and go to the parking lot. “No way. We’ve come all the way here, haven’t we?”. Convinced of this logic, I continued albeit at a very slow pace.
At the finish, caught up with Philip who said he finished well. Some dynamic duo in his field (35+) broke away at mile 1 or 2 and stayed away the entire race. Unbelievable.
Anyway, off to clean my bicycle. After Saturday, the desire to ride in the cold again is non-existent. AC
From the 35+ race…
I signed up for the 35+ field at Wilmington. The field was combined 35/45 and there were half as many 35s, so I played the odds!
I dressed more conservatively than Alberto with arm/knee warmers, merino wool sleeveless under shirt and wind vest over all. I have to say I was pretty comfy except for the sloppy feel of wet shoes/gloves and lack of visibility that comes with racing in or after a rain.
On the way out to the circuits, I sat near the back warming up when two guys jumped off the front staying away! I could see the heavy hitters that I knew still in the field, but Canadians are always a wild card.
The rest of the field rolled out onto the circuits at a good clip. There were several jumps but it stayed together into the tough climb.
The pace was high for the first ascent and we were likely down to 15 out of the ~55 starters. The pace eased after the top and numerous guys got back on in the next few miles, likely to pop the next time up the climb. Two more guys jumped away at the start of the third lap. Were they 45s or 35s?
I followed and initiated some jumps but nothing that worked. The last time up the climb, soggy and wet, the pace was at my redline. The climb is like a bigger version of the second Philo climb in TNW and as the slope eased off just like TNW, the lead 6-8 surged and I lost 20 feet. I was clawing my way back to them as a couple of other bigger guys came by me and I latched on and got back to the lead group. Ahhh, just like TNW!
We turned off the circuits heading back to the finish. There were a few jumps but it stayed together until we turned up the Whiteface climb. It splintered very quickly and I stayed with what became the second group of 5 to the finish with leaden legs, in 8th position. Philp Beliveau