5/25/14 Bound Brook Criterium

Cycling

The Bound Brook Crit, part of the Tour of Somerville, boasts a larger-than-usual field of riders and a start/finish line PA system. For those two reasons alone, the race is exciting. Putting the race on during Memorial Day weekend ensures that the homeowners who we race past are out on their lawns, enjoying the day with a BBQ, beer and a cigar.

Yehudah came to snap pictures, Chanee and Aliza came as support crew. Thanks y’all.

Yitzy raced the 4/5 and didn’t fare too well. Soon as that race was over, we did a warm-up lap and then lined up towards the back of the 70-something field….and we were off. The pace was hot, even for such a big race. It was to be a 16 lap race.

I thought that after the first 5 or 6 laps, things would cool down, but then there were only 10 laps to go, so everyone started vying for position.

I tested the legs once, twice. Andy came with me once, Daghan another time (I think), but nothing was getting away. The pace was maddeningly fast and as the race progressed, it became more and more obvious that the day was to end in a bunch sprint.

Staying towards the front, I floated around comfortably between the top-10 and -20. My legs were feeling fresh and in my head, I was the strongest one there. Form was here and I was ready.

There were a few points during the race when I was pretty nervous: Mangum riding onto someone’s lawn, 3 guys touching wheels in the chicane while everyone else swerved around them, Kissena dive-bombing the corners and that Cycles54 guy who came in way too close, leaving a naked, bare, black spot on my handlebars where once there was tape. I hate retaping my bars for no reason.

Otherwise, we just rode around very fast, usually single file, sometimes as a bunch. With 3 to go, I got a free ride up to the front behind Craig London. Sitting 2nd wheel, I was supremely uncomfortable. I took corners wide to let others slip inside me, but people weren’t taking the bait. Sitting up a bit, I finally managed to lose a couple wheels.

With 2 to go, I was sitting 6th wheel and my adrenaline was pumping. I held on for another lap and was very confident coming out of the chicane. We took the next corner single-file, and the same with the next. I began looking over both shoulders as I felt us slowing down. “FASTER, FASTER!”

I didn’t even realize I was yelling, but the sudden swarming left me no choice. Unable to change lines at this pace (28 mph? 30?) I patiently waited for our line to pick up the pace. They did, but not before some other slid in on both sides. I was now 15th wheel. 2 corners to go. We took them both single file. As we left the last corner, I noticed that they were already sprinting up the road. Way too early, but I was too far back. Out of the saddle, I moved from draft to draft. 15th. 14th. 13th. No draft up ahead. I sat down, looked right – nobody.

I swerved to the right and began ticking off more wheels. Out of the saddle again, 12th. 11th. 10th. 9th.

And that is where I finished.

This is the #professionallyamateur Tour of Somerville and we have one day left.

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