Going into Saturday morning's CRCA club race, I was feeling a bit trepidatious, as I have not raced recently and my season to this point has been a bit disjointed. I have been traveling and parenting and working hard on the semi-pro karaoke circuit (I'm in an all-Journey league), which has left me less time to train and race. I have also been doing all of my training without the aid of my antique power Tap wheel, as I managed to mangle my BH frame into a state of uselessness, and I use my BH for all my power measuring. In the meantime, I have been racing on my trusty CAAD 9 back up bike, and it's been doing a perfectly cromulent job as a fill in, but it does not have my Power Tap unit or wheels with which to measure my mighty power as I train. So as far as my power or measured efforts of embiggenedness go, I'm flying a bit blindly.
All of these factors add up to uncertainty, and uncertainty is something that a bike racer despises. I don't mind knowing that I am slow, as that gives me something to work on, but not knowing how I am progressing is maddening. How in God's name am I supposed to properly flaggelate myself if I don't have the data to back up justifying riding at a higher pace for specified durations of time? Needless to say, my uncertainty had turned to the opposite of confidence for Saturday's race—but that doesn't mean I'd miss the race, of course—let's not get silly here.
I was able to use my internet powers of persuasion to sucker my pal Jordan into driving to the race, which is normally a lovely situation, as I love being chauffeured, but in this circumstance being driven only served to add to my feelings of disjointedness, as being a passenger was out of my normal race morning routine. I tried to subtly cajole Jordan into using the route I use to drive to the Central Park races, as I feel it is a fine work of obsessive amateur cartography, constantly improved upon throughout the years, and nearing its zenith in utility and usefulness. (And no, I won't tell you my route, as it's getting crowded enough already thank you.) Thankfully, Jordan acquiesced to my bullying from the shotgun seat, and I enjoyed the familiarity of my well-worn path to Central Park. And with that bit of familiarity came a cessation of some of my uncertainty.
The race was set to be 7 and 1/2 laps of the park, ending at Tavern on the Green, a finish which is unfamiliar to some, but not to aged park veterans like me. The Tavern finish is a fast one, and like all fast finishes, it makes overtaking a challenge once the sprint has started. I was lucky enough to sign in early enough to be accepted into the limited field of 100 riders. (Teammate Warren wasn't so lucky and spent the morning cheering from the roadside.) We had a nearly full squad of BHes (minus Warren), so we could put our mark upon the race. DA would try to get away, Evan would get in dangerous moves and sprint, the rest of the team would cover or work in moves, and I would ruin the mornings of everyone I felt needed their morning ruined. We made our way to the start and shoved off.
Then we started riding very briskly. The speed of the race was pretty exceptional for May (or June, or August), and was due to the attacks of Chad B, Matt S, DA and many others. There was little or no respite from attacks. As one came back, another would go, which kept us moving along. Our slowest lap was 13:35, with the fastest lap being the final one at 12:50. A brisk pace like this usually portends a field sprint, as getting away from such a fast race tends to make your heart explode. The race surged its way to the last few laps. We encountered a delivery van on the East Side and made our way around it. The driver seemed to be racing against us, and in my aerobically induced lunacy, I decided to ride alongside and see what the issue was. This act of spitefulness had the unintended consequence of creating a split off the front of the field, which was not my intention as I planned on spending the last two laps helping Evan prepare for the field sprint, not riding off the front of the race in a break that would probably make my heart explode.
Adding to my angst was the fact that I was joined by Matt S and Chad B, whose mornings I had been busy ruining for the past hour and a half. I had put myself into a very awkward position. I didn't know if I could last in the break until the finish, so I let Matt and Chad work to get a gap. Once we had some space, I couldn't justify being a passenger anymore and started rotating, but alas, the decisive moment had passed. We stayed away for another half lap or so and as we made it to the bell for the last lap, the break was dead.
I sequestered myself into the pack to rest so I could be of some use in the finish to Evan, and as we came up Harlem Hill, I was feeling well enough to go to the front. I hit third position as we made our way through the rollers, where Matt S attacked again, and due to the inexplicable inaction of the two fellows in front of me, I was compelled to ruin Matt's morning one last time (sorry about that Matt). That final effort ended my race, and being a non-idiot, I took my leave of the field.
Evan ended up getting second to Adam A of Foundation on the road, but due to a teammate's indiscretion, ended up getting first in the parking lot. His second place (later upgraded to first) was a great effort and he is a joy to ride for. He is also in the lead of the Boyd competition, which means that I will probably be ruining many more mornings as the summer wears on.