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Can You Tell I’m the Only One Without a Real Job in the Summer? July 3, 2006

Posted by Wayne in Archive.
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Here’s my summary of the 2006 Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic

Stage 1: 6.2 mile Individual Time Trial

I did a proper warm-up and felt good. Went with a full rear disk and clip on bars. And shoe covers. Have to have those shoe covers. I hit the first uphill at full-speed and felt great. HR about 178-180, manageable searing pain in my legs, and I caught my 30-second man just as the first long rise was finished. The guy behind me caught me just before the sharp right hand turn onto Rt. 140. I got a little worried but I re-passed him on the uphill and then kept him in sight after he re-passed me on the run-in to the last turn. Every time I tried to go a little harder, and my HR went into the 180s, I had to back off or blow up. I hit the finish hill strong and crossed the line, looking back to see my finish time and place. 17:55 and 60-something-th place. WHAT?!?!?!?! I guess I really do need to work more on my TT. Or not.

Everyone else finished reasonably well (OK, that’s being generous. We all suck. Ted, where are you?) with Gary leading the way in 41st place with a time of 16:45.

Stage 2: 28 mile Circuit Race, 9 laps

Rode to the race from our hotel, a nice 7 mile warm-up. It was sunny and about 75 degrees at race time. The pace was brutal from the gun but settled down on lap 2. Our plan was to play it cool and try to drive it on the last lap leading into the crucial final corner, delivering Arlen and/or Ed to a win (or at least a high finish). Other than a split on lap 4 (or 3?) on the back side when it strung out and broke into 3 groups, things pretty much stayed together. Gary popped on the climb on lap 2, but his plan, with Spike’s help from the sideline giving time checks on the radio, was to get “caught” on Fitch Highway on the last lap, adding one powerful body to our lead-out train. It worked to PERFECTION. As we rounded the sharp corner at the top of the course, Arlen screamed either “WHAT ARE WE DOING FOR LUNCH!” or “GO AS HARD AS YOU CAN” (I’m not sure which) on the radio, and I glanced back and saw a green jersey on my wheel, which I thought was Matt (turns out it was Paul). Someone attacked on the left, stringing the field out, and I went hard on the right with wide open spaces ahead. Problem was I went too hard (yes, go ahead and re-read that again…it’s correct), flew past Gary, and was solo off the front coming down the long straight to the last corner. I died about 200 yards before the corner, but it worked out with Gary leading a stream of green at 35 mph into the corner. The plan worked with Ed taking 8th and Z. Arlen 16th. I couldn’t tell you for sure exactly what the finish looked like, since I was dying at the back. I really messed up 100 feet from the line when I looked up and realized the 2 riders I thought were last in the pack, were lapped women! Paul and I got a time 20+ seconds off the field since we were technically about 2 seconds off the back of the pack. Oh well, you snooze, you lose.

Stage 3: 58 mile Road Race, 5 laps plus climb up Mt. Wachusett

Rode over from the hotel and didn’t really warm up more, since conserving energy is always my plan for this stage. It was sunny and not too warm. I took 3 bottles but only drank 2 during the whole race. The plan was the same as last year; try to get as many guys to the base of the mountain as possible, sacrificing only Gary, Matt or Arlen to chase or go with breaks if something looked dangerous. As it turns out, between Badger and Roszko battling it out for the points jersey, and Bicycle Link and CRCA/Blue Ribbon guys chasing, trying to preserve top GC spots, we had an easy day. The smaller field and the slightly weaker caliber of the field overall (or maybe I’m in better shape?) made the 5 laps painful, but not too dangerous. The feed zone hill hurt really badly on lap 2, but other than a short-lived split in the field there, we all made it (except Gary) to the last lap in the front group. Jon Gallagher went away with another rider on the 4th lap and I thought for sure the race was over and he’d win but Bicycle Link made another valiant chase to bring him back before the feed zone. The final time up the KOM hill on the last lap really strung things out, with the tail of the 40-50 man field heading into the final climb quite a ways back of the head of the field. We found out later it was CRCA drilling it to the park entrance to get David Taylor a head start on the climb and he rewarded them with a 2nd place finish.

I was a little farther back than I would have liked as the climb started in earnest, with Ed just ahead of me. I had to dodge Badger and Donny Mills as they started to blow up as we turned left onto the steepest part on the climb. I passed Ed about 200 yards later, and he said “I want to go home” as I passed him. I tried to encourage him to stick with me and set as hard a tempo as I could hold from there on in, taking 20th on the stage, 1:22 down on the winner. I was very happy with my ride but Matt was the star of the day finishing 29th, about 20 seconds behind Ed and me. Everyone did a great job, and we stuck to the plan and all finished strong.

Stage 4: 17 mile Criterium, 19 laps

I said one too many times during the weekend: “Wow. Looks like we’ll actually have a Fitchburg with no rain.” Stupid me. We woke up to high clouds and a stiff breeze but about 9:30 as we were warming up, it started to rain during the Women’s 3/4 race. Quite a grim prospect on the slick, crosswalk-laden streets of downtown Fitchburg.

Unfortunately, my race was useless. It was still raining at the start and other than a brutal pace on the first lap, there were no crashes, and I had settled in near the front of the pack. Then all hell broke loose. On lap 4 or 5, Badger slid out on the sweeping corner at the top of the course, right into me, which slowed me down and put me at the back. Then 100 yards later, one guy went down, sliding along on his butt at 30 mph, Stuart Jensen crashed badly into the curb, and Paul got hit by Bodin, disabling his rear wheel. I unclipped one foot and nearly came to a stop while scooting between Paul, Bodin, and Paul’s bike. With the rash of crashes, the pack instinctively slammed on the accelerator pedal. Uh oh. In hindsight, I should have headed to the pit and taken a free lap. Instead, I thought I could chase back to the tail of the field. By the time we turned onto the finish straight, it was clear that was a fantasy. I was left to the mercy of the officials, hoping they’d give me a free lap or somehow not notice me riding solo for several laps. One of the two happened although I didn’t know it at the time. I chased with 3 other guys for a lap but dropped them. I thought that at least if I could get to 10 to go I’d get a time if they pulled me when I got lapped. With 8 to go, I got caught, and jumped back in the field. Problem is I was useless at this point, having TT’ed at 25 mph for 15 minutes. Why can’t I TT like that in a TT? Xavier Melendez jumped away with 1 to go and held it for the win.Ed still took 5th in the field sprint, for a fine 6th place.

Summary
We did a great job as a team, had great fun, Ed scored 2 top ten placings, and several more of us had top 20s. We worked as a team as well as we ever have at the CR. Everyone gritted it out and stepped up on the RR and Matt, Arlen, Ed and Paul stepped up again on an ugly, ugly, ugly rainy day at the crit.

Arlen is a little obsessed with vegetables, and Paul thinks the trees are spectators and that spinning 15 minutes before bed is normal behavior, but other than that no one drove anyone else too crazy off the bike. If you ever eat at the Wachusett Village Inn, order the burgers. They are AWESOME.

Matt gets my award for Rider of the Weekend (his 40th birthday weekend) and probably did well because he wasn’t loony from hanging around with the rest of us during all the down time.

The quote of the weekend probably won’t seem funny to anyone else, but was hilarious if you were there. The scene is sitting on the sidewalk next to a closed intersection while watching the Pro-1 circuit race.

Irate Female Driver (screaming through her car window, and gesturing angrily to the other side of the closed street): How do I get to my house?!?!?!

Arlen: I don’t know lady! Tell us where you live and maybe we can help you out!

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