Over the last ten days there has been lots of racing. Last Wednesday about half of the Burris Logistics – Fit Werx squad headed to the Thunder Road Race track for a "Points" race. This is a new event for our region and a fun one at that! Points are awarded every 4-5 laps based on position. The rider with the most points wins. It is a race for sprinters, but a good break can reward the "all-arounder." Mike Burris got away with 3 others and managed to rack up enough points to finish fourth. He took many of the sprints during the break, but not enough while in the group to take top honors. The rest of the squad rode hard and managed to hold the group back while Mike was away, confirming the fact that having a solid team in a race is always beneficial.
Saturday the squad split up with some heading to Wilmington-Whiteface and some heading to New Britain, CT. At Wilmington-Whiteface, Philip Beliveau got in a break from the start and took 3rd in the 55+, while Christian Verry took 11th in the 3/4 race with Tim Noel finishing in 27th.
The role out to the circuit start was WAAYY easier than in years past, when I remember thinking "this hurts more than it should…" The group went hard on the feedzone climb each lap, then sat up as we entered into the head wind at the top. Nobody wanted to do much hard work apparently. Tim tried to get away, but had nobody to help. Looking back, maybe I should have countered once the group brought him back in, as nobody was really chasing much, but I did not feel like I had the legs to do it. A group of about 25ish of us went into the final set of rollers after the climb on the last lap, and stayed together despite a few weak attempts otherwise. About 10 guys attacked at the base of the finishing climb, and I held on as long as I could, but did not have the legs to advance up on the group that day.
The group took it easy riding out to the circuit, they took it easy on the flat section after the 1 mile climb and, it didn't rain! Now, I'm not saying Christian mis-represented his past experience(s) but, I think it's fair to say that both of us thought we would have had a harder workout had we stayed home and done a Bristol/Baby Gap team ride. That being said, effort was expended on the 1 mile climb which we did 3 times and the final climb up to the finish – which is about 1 mile up the Whiteface access road. During the middle of the second lap, the pace had slowed significantly and there was a lot of conversation going on in the peloton at which point I thought it might be a good time to see if I could simply ride away. So, I slowly made my way up to the front and tried to simply keep going. After a minute, I looked under my arm and saw bikes on my wheel – turned around to get a better look and discovered no one was letting me go. Shortly after that, a solo attack launched and I went with it. We quickly had a gap (thank you Christian for blocking) but after I put in my turn and was looking for my attack mate to pull through, he couldn't and needed some extra time to recover. Looking back on it, I should have put in another big effort to lose him but decided to keep pushing and drag him along. We stayed off the front for about and appeared to be increasing our gap when we were joined by 2 other riders that bridged up. At this point, I think the peloton woke up and after a few more minutes we were swallowed up and then our entire field was quickly over-taken by the 35/45 masters who had started 5 minutes behind.
The racing in New Britain was "criterium" style. The boys made the 4 hour drive to mix it up with some of the best riders in New England.
First off the course was designed and built especially for me. Power climb, downhill kick into a flat finishing stretch. Not too, short not too long, juuuust right! The only problem is it's 4 hrs away. Getting up at quarter till the crack o' dawn is not civilized.
Once there I jumped into the 4/5 field for an opener and also due to the lack of any racing in my legs. I wanted to get a good workout in without much of a risk of getting blown out. Good choice. For 20 laps we went around in circles, periodically sprinting for primes. About half way through the announcer called out a merch prime (tires). I thought, huh, let's give it a go. Finding myself in a good position exiting the final corner I came up the inside and with 150 to go I lit it up and crossed the line with clean wheels. A pair of Vittoria training tires were mine. The rest of the race was about hanging in the group waiting for the finish. On the final lap I wasn't in as good of position and with 200 to go I found myself a bit too far back. I gave it a go anyway and crossed the line 6th, just in the money. Had I have been in a better position, who knows… Coulda, shoulda, woulda. The payout paid for my entry into the Purgatory race on Sunday so no complaint here.
For the 2nd race, the 40+, my main objective of the day was to just stay with the group. Quite a difference than the previous, that's fo' sho'. Fast and smooth. Soft pedaling at 30mph is a cool sensation and stoked my competitiveness, although I didn't have the snap I needed to chase/make breaks or go after primes. I mainly stayed clean and watched as Matt and Steve did their work. At the end I finished with the group which was the ultimate goal, so success was achieved. The 35+ race saw a big split happen. The front group had plenty of engines driving the pace making it impossible to bridge the gap. The common sentiment was one of frustration and rightly so.
On Sunday Shawn and Stephen attended the Purgatory Road Race. To quote Stephen, "My advice to all is to avoid Purgatory. I went there, and I suffered! I managed to hang in and finish at the tail end of the main field." Shawn agreed. Hats off however to Fit Werx owner, Dean Phillips, for taking second in the 35+ race winning the MA State Championship and beating some big dogs in the process. Congratulations Dean!