It was wet. Probably because of all the rain, but it was wet nonetheless as Yehudah and Sruli trekked out to our familiar stomping grounds at Rockleigh. Hiding in his car, Yehudah grabbed a few spy shots as Sruli just walked around in the rain the way kids sometimes do. Thanks for the pictures and thanks for coming.
Yitzy and I rode there for our warm up. In the rain. And the grit. If we’re going to get wet, may as well enjoy it.
We pulled up to see Olsen launch a few solo flyers in the A race, which were all brought back. Eventually, 1 champ-sys racer did stay away, which left Skoop to sort out the field sprint for himself. Which he did. He took second, as William took fourth in the sprint.
Juan’s music had been blasting from his car the entire time we were waiting in the rain…but as we made our way to the line, it stopped. We stood there in the rain, unable to hear anything other than the pitter-patter of the rain on our helmets, and waited for Turk’s whistle. Which came, eventually.
And then, we went. It was unceremonious, but we were moving. We were riding our bikes in the rain and we were going in circles. With A racers behind us, we stormed the beaches of Normandy.
The gameplan last night was to wait for Lainel to make his move, and then follow him. I would not attack – not frequently, not at all. That was the plan. Unfortunately, I had ridden twice on Wednesday which sufficiently did my legs in and made them feel heavier than they should have at a race I was targeting. At first I thought it was the rain, but I realized that every time Lainel chased, I was getting slower and slower. My legs hurt more and more while he didn’t seem to lose an ounce of snap.
I decided I had to wake up my legs, and so I would attack. It was about a lap before I saw my opportunity and seized it. Where a Montecci rider and I stayed away for one lap. No dice.
As we were caught, Andrej, Ivan’s old teammate, attacked. The Montecci rider went with him. I simply didn’t have the legs. I got back in line and waited for someone to chase them down.
Sitting in, Lainel tried to get on my wheel just as often as I tried to get on his. We swapped spots close to 30 times, probably – first he and front, then I. The race went on this way for quite some time.
The sprint for the prime came at some point. I was hoping to leapfrog off whoever went for it…but Lainel ended up taking it and my legs were just having none of it. Every move I made, Lainel just stuck to my wheel. I couldn’t shake him. So I figured rather than wasting all my energy on stupid little moves, I would wait for the right one.
WIth 2 to go, I slid off to get on Lainel’s wheel. It didn’t work as perfectly as I would have hoped.
Throughout the entire race, when I pulled off, Lainel would pull off behind me. Smart racing for a Cat 5. But this time, I pulled off, and he pulled through. Didier, however, in the blue/orange Montcleir jersey, pulled through and wasn’t letting me in. On the last lap, I spent the entire second half of the lap trying to get onto Lainel’s wheel. Elbows flared, I would sidle in as close as I dared, even leaning on Didier at one point. He wouldn’t let me in.
I spent way too much energy vying for position. When the sprint came around, and I was already out int he wind…I spun my wheels and pumped my legs, but my tired legs were not cooperating.
Didier Coasted on Lainel’s wheel as he started sprinting…only to come around him at the last second. Didier took second. Lainel took third. Someone else sprinted around me for fourth, and I took fifth.
Lainel keeps his yellow jersey, Didier moves up to second in the GC, and I’m now third. And hungry.
Lainel – 26 points
Didier – 22 points
ECF – 20 points
If Lainel has truly been racing for 14 years, as he claims, he has no business being here. The race directors know he races on a one-day license…but it just isn’t right.