At the end of last season, I announced I would be leaving Team Cosmic – Carve Systems. Over the course of the off-season, I entertained a few offers from different teams but ultimately decided on forming a new mega-racing squadron: Chimps in Training p/b Talent Cycles.
After lots of work, we were official and it was time to fly our freak flag high.
Sunday marked the beginning of my 2014 season. Racing officially began on Saturday, but…Shabbos. Ivan and Nic raced, but neither one came back with a result.
On Sunday, Yehudah and I made the drive north up to Wilton, CT. Arriving at the Outdoor Sports Center, we realized this wasn’t the Bethel Crit. A half hour later through some windy side roads, we arrived. Yitzy was supposed to come, but canceled last minute due to his conveniently-timed and suddenly-incurable common cold. Ivan was supposed to come, but realized that after Saturday, his fitness just wasn’t there. Skoop was supposed to come, but he raced the park that morning.
So it was just Yehudah and I.
We got there in time for the women’s race. I watched Stan’s snag their second victory in 2 days, while Isabelle gave up great positioning with 2 to go. I got in about a half hour’s worth of warm up in my makeshift race-kit. I forgot my long-sleeve baselayer, the zipper broke on my 1960’s jersey and our race kits didn’t come in yet. Which left me looking pretty…unique.
We lined up. It was warmer than last year. It was definitely cold, but definitely warmer than last year. As soon as we took off, I recalled the conversation I had with Dan Schmalz earlier in the week. “Early season races favor early race breaks.”
A move developed with 3 in the first lap.2nd lap, I made a move to close the gap. Halfway there, a Bethel rider bridged up to me and then brought us both up.
We dropped 1 rider, and the 4-man move began going through rotations.
Cleiman was the policeman of the break, yelling at me to pull off if I didn’t plan on rolling through. It was the first race of the season…I was fine sitting in for a few turns after bridging for the better part of a lap. Kuria chuckled at me as Dan kept yelling. The move stuck for about 2 or 3 laps.
After being shut down, I realized the fitness I had imagined wasn’t quite there yet, so I rotated towards the back. The race was to be 36 laps, and I would have plenty of time to try other moves.
So I did. Feeling fresh one time up the hill, I spun my new secret weapon (my O-rings) and effortlessly created a small gap.
I put my head down and went, only to be reeled in as soon as we hit the back stretch.
Once more I attacked, once more I was brought back.
A break with 3 got away halfway through the race. With 6 laps to go, Cleiman took charge and began the chase. He pulled off, I pulled through…and then I was attacked. They shot by me and I gave it all, barely managing to grab onto the back. We reeled them in as the lap counters began to hover around 4 or 5. All but one. One stayed away, and another went as soon as we caught them.
With 2 to go, I began to focus on positioning. Knowing I was too far back, I was exactly where I wanted to be: too far back. I began making up spots and then, 1 to go. Cleiman launched a last-ditch effort.
We were going too fast. Halfway through the last lap, sitting 5th wheel or so, I see Andreas shoot by me on the right side, in full flight. By the time I slide out and grab a wheel, I’m back to 10th wheel. I move up a few positions, careful to avoid the wind and find myself 6th wheel heading into the final climb.
Someone sprints by on my left, Andreas pulls off on my right….and we sprint. I pass no one, and no one passes me. We reel in one Bethel rider just as we reach the line, but the other Zip Car rider stays away for the win.
6th in the bunch sprint for 8th place.
Not what I was hoping for, but that’s Spring racing.