Monday, March 12, 2007

John Durham's Write-up of his 03/10/07 Race

Hello fellow Cyclonauts,

This is a long one so if you have to go potty or want something to eat or drink, I’d take care of that now. I’ll wait……All set? O.K. Here we go.
Here’s the Cat 3/4 race recap from the 1st Plainville Spring Series race.
(a.k.a. The Story of the Lone Cyclonaut)

First off, I was a little surprised that I was the only Cyclonaut in the race. I thought a couple of you guys were coming down. Oh well, more on that later. Let me start by sharing the bonehead moment of the day which came at the end of the Cat 4/5 race. Don’t know who the guy was that won, but you may not hear much from him for a while. The goofball did a no-hander victory salute and managed to crash himself and someone else…hard. Not only that, but some schmuck who was sprinting his brains out for 10th place or so (money goes 3 deep, points go 6 deep, F.Y.I.) wasn’t able to make the corner AFTER the finish of the race and crashed into the curb after turn #1 all by his lonesome. That’s quality entertainment. Now, on to the main attraction.
As we lined up for the 3/4 race, I realized I had my work cut out for me; Anthem-CCCC had 6 guys including Hunter Pronovost, CVC had 5 guys including Stan Lezon (a strong Cat 3) and Max Accaputo (winner of the C/B race at Forest Park last week). TargeTraining (the team I jumped ship from) and Keltic both had a couple of teammates each and there were a few other loners, like me, as well. All told about 20 to 25 racers.
Being by myself (have I mentioned that yet), I exercised my right to do nothing and let the Anthem and CVC guys get the ball rolling. About 5 laps in or so, Max Accaputo (CVC) rolled off the front and Anthem wisely let him cook out there for a while. After Max was brought back, a couple of CVC and Anthem guys started to lift the pace. At a couple of points for the next few laps, individuals took mini-flyers but nothing was sticking. About 10 laps in, I watched as an Anthem, Keltic, TargeTraining guy and a couple of CVC guys got a little gap. Perfect. All bigger teams represented equals no chasing. I jumped across the relatively small gap and started to sleigh drive a bit. The break ended up being three CVC, two Anthem, one TargeTraining, one Keltic rider and yours truly (you can use your fingers if you want, but that equals 8…wait a second…1, 2, 3, 4…yeah 8).
Holy crap, these guys couldn’t get organized no matter how much I “persuaded” them and I found myself on the front of the break…a lot! I began attacking the break in order to keep the pace up and managed to pop off the Keltic guy and one of the Anthem riders. Still, even though we were down to 6 (three CVC guys which included Stan Lezon and Max Accaputo, Ian Sinclair for TargeTraining, an Anthem guy I didn’t know, and me), nobody was pulling through smoothly. As I began doing my best Mike Norton impression and barking at the others to get their act together, the Anthem guy began to whine that my pulls were too hard (you forgot your violin, ace). At that point I muttered “F all y’all” and attacked again for what had to be the 5th or 6th time. I really had no intention of soloing away; I just didn’t want to get caught by the group. After a few more laps alone in front, I eased up a little and let the break catch me…again. Wouldn’t you know that’s when they rang the bell for the one and only prime (uh…thanks). So, these guys start saying stuff like “I don’t care about the prime. Let’s just keep the break working.” Translation: “I’m too tired and scared to do a little sprinting right now.” Mind you, the main group was NOWHERE to be seen – a solid half lap back at least. So as we approached the turn into the home straight, I’d me best Eric Cartman impression (Southpark anyone) and said “Screw you guys. I’m going home (insert “for the prime” in place of “home” now). Amidst some grumbles, I took the prime uncontested ($10 and 4 series points…thank you).
A couple of laps after the prime, we caught the main group. So get this, the guys that were in the break start saying “O.K. Let’s just all of us pull through.” Uh…help yourself gents. The officials won’t be pulling the peleton and it’s perfectly legal for your teammates to help you at this point, but if you want to go out and roast…enjoy. So that’s exactly what they did. They went to the front of the group and started driving the pace, all except for me and the Anthem guy (who now has 5 other teammates to lead him out). I watched this go on, to my amusement, for the next 10 to 15 minutes. Some of the other guys start asking me to get up there. I stayed pretty tight-lipped, thinking to myself “well…if there was a reason for me to do that that DIDN’T suck, maybe I would.” I just told them “hey…I’m by myself here…not my job, man (did I mention that I didn’t have any teammates…O.K.).”
So now we get down to it. With about 10 minutes to go plus 5 laps (someone explain this one to me), Anthem goes to the front and starts driving the pace (???)! Needless to say, they end up cooking themselves pretty good and there are still 5 laps left! By the way, I haven’t had my nose in the wind once since we lapped the field (hee, hee). With about 3 laps to go, Stan Lezon takes off pretty hard. Now, I know Stan well (we raced for Benidorm together last year and for CVC in previous years. He also takes one of the Spinning classes I teach) and I’ve seen him pull this move a few times for wins and high placings, but I still let him go. I had a feeling that my legs were pretty good and I was pretty sure that if I bridged, it wouldn’t have gone unnoticed. Aside from that, it was Anthem’s place to chase him down; they had a guy in the break and were potentially letting the win go. I was right. I marked Hunter with about 2 laps to go as he put his nose down to bring Stan back who now had about a 50 meter gap. Hunter pulled off abruptly with a little less than a lap and half to go. Uh oh…I was on the front (gasp)! So I did what any lone pseudo-sprinter would have done (did I tell you that I was the only Cyclonaut in the race?), I slowed down a little, faked like I was breathing really hard, and dropped my head down between my shoulders (I’m so naughty). This prompted two Anthem guys, a CVC guy and Ian Sinclair (TargeTraining) to pop around me. I would now like to take a moment to introduce you all to my new leadout train. The Anthem guys ramped it up fairly well which popped Ian. Now I’m in 4th wheel. With about half a lap to go, the first Anthem guy blows and I’m in 3rd spot in the chase (Stan is still managing to hold around a 40 meter gap or so). Here’s where the wind comes in gentlemen. The back straight had one hell of a head wind, which means (all together class) that there was one hell of a tailwind on the finishing straight! I know for a fact that it’s almost exactly 200 meters from the final turn to the finish line (which will play more like 150 with the tailwind). Additionally, I know most guys wait until AFTER the final corner to start their sprint. I also know I can corner faster than most guys (I swear…it’s true!) so with about 50 meters to the final turn and with the final Anthem guy starting to die, I do my best Mike Norton impression, jump around the Anthem and CVC guy, and do a full sprint into the last 90-degree turn. I caught Stan with about 50 meters left to the line. He looked back right as I came up on him. Ah, but alas, it was too late,Stanley. The Lone Cyclonaut wins (insert cheering here)! As Jim Thompson (the race’s organizer) so eloquently put it after the race: “Holy crap, Jon! You passed Stan so fast it looked like he was going backwards!” Stan held on for second as there was no one even close to me because my sprint was so huge that…oh…sorry. Thought I was someone else for a second (;^}).
Now…since I secured a maximum 11 points toward the series (prime=4, win =7), I will be obliged to wear the series leader’s jersey next week. This means I will have a very bright yellow jersey that says “SERIES POINTS LEADER” on my back next week (i.e. a very easy-to-spot target). In other words, how ‘bout some help next week, y’all. I will do my best to hold on to the leader’s jersey (by myself if I have to), but it will be hard on my own. And if I’m going to have to take it off at some point, I’d like it to go on another Cyclonaut’s shoulders.
Thanks in advance for your support. And, come to think of it, I believe I just got the first Cyclonauts road win of the ‘07 season if I’m not mistaken…cool


Debby said...

About the second crash - the sprint was actually for 6th and there was a guy that was standing still in the corner blocking the line on a mandatory cool down lap Not exactly "all by his lonesome"

Debby said...

Great description of the 3/4 race and congratulations on the win!