Monday, September 17, 2007

3 points in the bank, 22 to go

Wow, where do I begin? Yesterday was off the charts. I will start with praise to the promoters of Sucker Brook Cross. As a sponsor of the event, I couldn't have been more pleased. The way the course was laid out, regsistration was orchestrated, results were provided and everything else you expect from a promoter, this event felt like an international level event. I was blown away when I got there and everything was up and ready to go at 7:00. The course layout was awesome and it was double-tape most of the way around. JJ and Jack went way over the top to put on a truly top-level event. They were rewarded with 100+ more entries than they got last year. And all proceeds went to a local girl who is fighting cancer. Awesome.

It was awesome seeing everyone again. Let the party/season begin! I saw countless friends and it was like a huge cross reunion. I drove up with the good doctor and pal Myette early in the am so that Rebecca could attend the clinic that Rebecca Wellons put on. Rebecca was psyched to have a pro give her some great advice. She lined up with her Hup teammates Kerry and Sarah. They were the third group to get the whistle for the 9 am race, behind the cat 4 men and the kids 10-14. Rebecca continues to gain confidence and placings. There were 3 ladies off the front of her race, but she hung tough with a group of 6 or 7 women through the whole race. It was fantastic seeing the women racing each other in a group like this rather than 1s and 2s coming through alone. Sarah and Kerry weren't far behind this group and they both looked strong on the long field sections and the planks. Good technique all around! Rebecca almost hung on in the sprint for 8th, but got pipped at the post for 9th. One of her goals this year was a top ten. Mission accomplished.

Ok, the time was here. How would it go? The bike was dialed in (though I still need to work on tire pressure), legs felt good during warm up, but I made a major blunder. I lost the first race fo the day and that is the race to the start line. We were out on a lap right after the 1/2/3 Masters race and we thought the 3/4 race was getting pushed back. Alas, I found myself in the third row. Didn't everyone else get the memo? There were about 60 riders in the field, and everyone looked a bit tense. Yash, PVB, Ziemba, Ronnie and Rosey all had prime start positions. Bummer that Kenny, Myette, Manard, Jamner and I weren't so on top of things. Anna Milkowski was one row in front of me and I hoped she would take me to the front after the first corner. Gun goes off, clean entry into the pedal and we were racing. The scrum wasn't so bad, and Anna gave me a clear line through it and out into the field. I did some passing all along the field section on the first lap. It was chaotic at best and I don't know who was around me at the time. Things started to file out on the second lap and third laps. At this point, I could see PVB with 3 other guys in the lead group. So I was driving in 5th and our little group had Rosey, James from Serotta and a couple of others. I was getting a little cooked and Rosey pulled through. Then James made a great surge off the front of our group. He eventually bridged up to the lead group and would finish 2nd. Nice work! After the 4th lap, we got lap cards. 4 to go, which was what I was expecting. Things didn't change much from this point on, but Josh gave us quite a scare when we saw him down in a ditch with the medical staff giving him attention. It's amazing the way rumors get started. I heard he broke his collarbone, arm, got a concusion and was in rough shape. Thankfully, we saw him right after the race and there were no broken bones. But he did have a good shiner and was visably shaken. Rosey ended up doing most of the work in the second half of the race. He made me hurt pretty good on a few sections. The funny part was on the planks, I went from 2 or 3 stepping beween them on the first laps to tip toeing through on the last laps. Thankfully, it was a tunnel of noise and I could hear every person's voice willing me through the pain. In the later stages of the race, the only spot on the course I felt faster than Rosey was through the sand. So I tried to give him a good line through there. On the last lap, I fumbled getting clipped in after the planks and he put a little gap on me, but I closed it going through the sand. I sat on his wheel coming through the last corner and gave him the best sprint I had. I was going to make him work for 6th. But he got me with ease. With the 7th place, I picked up 3 points for my cat 2 upgrade. But it was also a huge confidence boost. Now I feel like I deserve to start on teh front row. At one point on the 7th lap, Rosey asked me when was the last time I lapped someone in a B race. Easy answer. Never. I don't think I have ever placed top 10 in a B race, even back in the 90s when the B races were a little different.

Next stop for us is Bedford on the 23rd and then Amesbury on the 30th. We will probably take the ME weekend off. And then the G-Star extravaganza!

Nice work everyone. Let the games begin!