The long start/finish straight into a stiff headwind at yesterday’s Oyster Point Crit convinced me early on that no break likely would stick for long on the Cat 5 field. Even though the wind wasn’t as bad as last weekend, the stretch into it was longer. I certainly wasn’t going to try because my legs weren’t feeling it after the stressful drive over and shortened warmup, both thanks to a wreck in the Monitor-Merrimac tube. But I did want to do my best because my Mom (indeed my whole family) was there and it was Mother’s Day.
The race started simple and steady. Photo above of JB, me and Fireman John at the start by Ellie. A couple of guys tried to go and the pace picked up briefly, but they were always brought back on that headwind stretch. As the race progressed we started picking up the pace and passing lapped riders, which was a little hairy on some of those curves. City Center’s “cobbles” have nothing on Norfolk’s, by the way. Fireman John and I stayed steady near the front as I tried to stay up between 3rd and 5th wheel, which worked until the penultimate lap.
An early lap
All the videos were shot by my wife Michele, who graciously gave up part of her Mother’s Day to support my racing. And Ellie, of course.
Just before we entered the last lap, an attack with two strong riders went on the right while I was boxed in on the left. The two quickly got 25 meters or so into the headwind. I hesitated as the speed picked up and slipped back a few places.
Entering the bell lap
I picked my way up to second wheel by the turn, but still I waited for the guy in front to hit the gas when we caught the tailwind. Instead the gap grew as he rode tempo. Since he wasn’t working to close the gap, I attacked around the curve. I hammered up to within about 5 meters by the final turn, but was starting to tire. As I came around into the headwind, one rider came by on my right. I stood and started sprinting, figuring I’d be swamped by the field. David from JRVS passed me on the left, but I held on for 5th. Lesson learned: don’t hesitate, follow a good move.
I’m not sure how most of the rest of the team did, but BillG and Tim one-two’d the 4 field until Bill got away. He was joined by a few others and finished a great 3rd!