Sterling has always been a super race. Well supported, a good value, and race I’ve had decent results at. I’ve found myself in DA BREAK at this race several times, usually getting popped at some point. BUT THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT (will it?).
Amanda had a seminar all day, so I saw this as an opportunity to help out at the race. I finagled a ride from Chris who lives in Auburn, who I knew from the before times, as he has been dating my old roommate and college friend’s sister since like forever. So that was funny! He got into bike riding and racing as training for motorcycle racing (hrm…isn’t there someone else we know who got into bike racing as training for motorized two-wheel vehicles?) and has fallen in love with it – especially how cheap it is compared to motorsports!
For example, one motorcycle race costs ~$60 to enter and lasts 12 minutes or so. So a day of racing can be pretty expensive – plus tires, field fees, bike maintenance…we’re talking a pair of Carbones a weekend in expenses!
We got there at 7, I hooked him up with some Skratch and informed him of the glory that is Mad Alchemy (I did not tell him how much it BURRRNNNS post-race, though. Whoops), and me and my folding chair and sack o’ food awaited marshaling instructions. Todd and I caught up, got sent to our posts, and the GAME WAS ON.
I worked an intersection from 7:30 – 11:30, spending most of my time sitting in my chair killing my phone battery, getting up every few minutes to politely ask traffic to wait. One dude was rather cranky, and was not calmed down by my huge smile and wave. Oh well. He went off to continue living his likely terrible life while I got to help at a bike race before I enjoyed a bike race.
I was relieved of my marshaling post at 11:30, got snagged by Aaron and drove to the school to begin the bike racing adventures!
HEY KIDS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SO FAR?
Pre race marshaling is easy – the physical act that is. As long as you have a chair, water and food, it’s not different than sitting on your ass at your house. Plus, you get to help ensure that races continue. The challenging part is being able to make time for it. It’s hard enough to avoid responsibilities for the better part of the day (if I was just racing, I would have been gone from my house from 11 a.m – 5:30 p.m or so. Marshaling had me leave the house at 6 a.m.) to just race – much more difficult to do it for an entire day. I was lucky that my schedule allowed it to happen. Amanda had a class all morning, I had Sunday to blast myself with house work and keeping up with life things.
But, the act of marshaling? With a chair, it ain’t no thing.
I gathered my things, noticed that the wattage of the Pro/1/2 field as indicated by the pre-reg list DID NOT match the visible wattage of the parking lot, and got ready for FUN TIMES.
The MetLife – NorEast team had a pretty full squad – minus sick Fleming and College Zach. So it was myself, Aaron, Landen, Peter, Ben, Luciano and Andrew.
The racing times started with the two mile ride to Sterling center at a quite spirited pace. Thankfully, there was no pre-race Amos break that went in the neutral.
But once past the finish line, WE WERE OFF.
And dudes started going hard. Not full-on attacks, just relentless high tempo, with lots of people taking their turns keeping the tempo up. I found myself up in this shin-dig getting busy, and soon enough our group of nine or so riders had a decent gap!
A break! Would it be DA BREAK? Only time would tell.
We kept the tempo up, not totally murdering ourselves because it was the first lap of 9. By the time we hit Route 12, the field was barely in sight and Anthony Clark and Luciano (booyah!) had decided to come hang out! Hooray!
We kept it rolling, up the climb where some dude who I have never seen before thought he’d pseudo attack. With 8 to go. From a group of 11. After his gap was closed down, I reminded him to CALM DOWN because it was a LONG DAY and he should stop being a jerk (I didn’t say the last part).
The group was sizable and most teams were represented – so that was good. And Luciano was there – which was real good. My bike race friends included Josh Lipka (JL Cakes $), Sean McCarthy (Champion Systems), Anthony and Stephen Hyde (JAM FUND), Austin Vincent (CF), John Harris (Aetna), Brad Sheehan (Sheehan Graphic Making Company), Charles McCarthy (Dealer.com) and a dude I didn’t know (the Internet says he is Pascual Caputi).
Sorry for listing all those names. It looks stupid, I know, but whatever. I HAD DUDES TO HANG OUT WITH from like EVERY TEAM so this looked like DA BREAK.
Nothing of significance really happened. We rolled around nicely, making up time on the field on Route 12 because we were motivated to ride into that awful wind, while the field was probably not motivated because riding into a nasty wind on an open road sucks. So we put some time in each lap, eventually building to a gap of 2:30. Which is not that huge, considering how much work was being done.
At one point in the middle of the race – maybe around 40 miles? – people started jockeying to not pull, which made the group start falling apart, and I started yelling at people that it was not time to dick around, and that we could dick around SO MUCH later, when we had a huge gap, and honestly you guys you’re probably going to drop me at some point.
Despite my mild annoyance at people trying to not pull, I did try to get Luciano to rest up a bit in the last few laps. I took some BONUS PULLS to keep things together and keep the pressure off of him because he’s a hell of a lot stronger than I am.
With two to go, Sean McCarthy and the random dude punched it up the climb (it looked like Sean attacked, which made me sad because I just want to hang out), but we got back up to them and it hurt me. At which point I looked at my matchbook and said “oh dear”.
After that, the mood of the break clearly shifted from “Let’s all ride together!” to “I JUST WANT TO MURDER ALL OF YOU WITH EVERYTHING I HAVE“, and coming into the climb on the final time Luciano reminded me that I should try to regulate.
So, of course, Capt. Dude I Don’t Know Who Also Attacked Up The Climb Every Lap goes at the bottom, I try to cover, but it’s hard, and as I’m dying I’m thinking “Crap, I know he doesn’t have the horsepower to see this effort through so I should have just ridden my own pace instead of burying myself. Craaaaap.” So then the break from the break happens, which includes Sean McCarthy, John Harris, Anthony and (thankfully) Luciano.
I form a post-break party with Lipka, Brad and Sean. I am angry, so I ride with as many anger watts as I have. Capt. DIDKWAAUTCEL and Stephen Hyde are up the road and I want to catch them for vengeance. So we’re riding, and then BAM Al Donahue decided he wanted to hang out, I cursed him because this means he brought up more people that will probably beat me.
So this group is together, some people get attacky on Route 12, and then Lipka realizes he has a teammate (in Erik Levinsohn) so he gets on the front and goes LIPKA, which is nice for me.
Into the base of the climb people get away from me, as I find myself in some sort of third dropped group? Or something? This is getting too layered for me.
Anyway I continue trying to find anger units to move me up the hill, when I see Capt. DIDKWAAUTCEL and I BURIED MYSELF to catch and beat him. Because his foolishness combined with my foolishness is what caused me to exit the break.
Meanwhile, this is happening up the road:
WHAT ELSE HAVE WE LEARNED TODAY, CHILDREN?
That you can volunteer for a bike race and get in DA BREAK. And if you can’t bring a chair, ask the volunteer person if you can work registration or something that involves sitting.
After the race I went to Ikea.