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Ningret Redux or How to Make the Best of a Bad Situation April 14, 2007

Posted by Gary in Race Reports.
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So, I knew something was wrong when I rolled into the Ningret parking lot at 11:05 and saw Wade rolling by in an ongoing race.  Sure enough, I messed up on my start times and had just provided a donation to the Rick Newhouse charity.  So, the 35+ race was off the schedule for me today.  Probably a good thing in hindsight as an attack had gone off nearly from the start and never came back.  However, I’ll let Wade tell the tale on that one.

I headed over to registration, confirmed that the 35+ really did start at 11 AM (and not noon like I had thought), and picked up my cat 4 race number.  I now had plenty of time to warm up for my one race of the day.  After a decent warm-up I lined up well towards the back of the pack.  I’m not sure of the total head count, but we had nearly 40 preregistered riders.   The wind was coming from the NE, so the sprint would be into a headwind.  I thought I would stay sheltered and go for the sprint.

With this plan in mind, I stayed towards the back of the pack for the first two laps to see how I was feeling.  I felt decent and moved towards the front during lap 3 (I think).  Each time we hit the headwind, the pack would mushroom out and slow down coming towards the finish.  A small group of riders were getting aggressive towards the front, and I figured I’d play along (yes, I know dumping the sprint plan).

Coming through the start finish we had about 5-6 riders slightly detached from the pack.  There didn’t seem to be any indication of getting organized, so I decided to shake things up coming out of turn 3.  I put in a hard attack with a tailwind through the staightaway by the pit.  I was sure someone would follow.  I was wrong.  I went all out for maybe 20 seconds, looked back and I’ve got what looks to me like a 10+ second gap.

I figure I’ll stay off the front and drive it into the headwind through the start-finsih and see what happens.  Looking back through turns 2 and 3, I’ve built up to maybe 20+ and still nobody is coming up.  I am in the tailwind stretch again and I jam it in the 53×11 and drive it again.  I am still making time and nobody is coming up.   I figure nobody really thinks I can hold out the rest of the race and I take that as a challenge

Since I didn’t sap the legs in the 35+ race I decide, what the heck, let’s see how far I can take this thing.  Meanwhile, Wade has seen from his car that I am off the front and has come back over to start giving me time checks.  I think he said I peaked as somewhere around 45 seconds ahead.

The gap stayed pretty stable in the 30-35 second range overall.  It made it easy for me to keep track because when I came out of turn 3, the pack was usually around the finish line.  I could even put the show of sprinting out of the corner to try and demoralize the chase.  In the course of all this, I am racking up primes.  Two six-packs of Newport Storm and 10 bucks.   I can’t believe I am still holding a 30+ second gap.  I also have no idea how much longer I have to go.

Somewhere in the 10-7 to go range (based on fuzzy hindsight), I start doubting.  The legs are hurting, the lungs are getting raw, and there are now 2 chasers who are moving up.  I still have no idea how many laps are still in the race and I start debating about whether I should let the 2 come up and work with them.  Then the gap to the chasers stabilizes at about 10-15 seconds.  I can tell they are not really gaining a whole lot more on me.  Finally, the magic five laps to go gets called.  Once I hear that, I just know I can hold it out.  Wade is telling me to keep riding stong, people I know are cheering me on, and people I don’t know are telling me to keep going.  The adrenaline is kicking in and the death rictus on my face starts to feel more like a smile.

I start making it a point again to sprint out of some of the corners where the wind is at my back.  Between 2-3 to go, the 2 are creeping up to me, but when I hit 1 to go, I know they can’t make it.  I drive the last lap hard and take my first win, still about 10 seconds ahead of the chasers and around 30 to the pack.  All from a solo break that I never intended to make go the distance.  

Could I have done it if I had made it in time to race the masters race?  I doubt it,  that looked like a hard race and I know I would have worked as hard as I could in that one.  I guess sometimes a little screw-up can be the best thing to happen to you if you know how to take advantage of it.

By the way, cudos should go out to Sebastien DuMont who took second and really agitated to try and organize a chase and his teammate Matt who won the bunch sprint.  I know they were motivated to try for a win as they had just formed a new club based in Cape Cod.  Likewise, the other chaser (who was 3rd and whose name I missed) also worked hard to make this win as hard as it was on me.

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Comments»

1. Tedd - April 14, 2007

You STUD, that’s awesome. Sometimes it’s good to dump the plan and go for it.

2. Wayne - April 14, 2007

AWESOME JOB DUDE! A solo break is a solo break, any way you slice it. I know I could never pull it off. You ‘da man!

3. Wade - April 14, 2007

Great job Gary. I hope my time splits and words of encouragement helped. Time to up-grade.

The Masters race was fast and 3 or 4 laps in I tagged onto Peter Vollers wheel and we hooked up with the break. It was big, about 18-20 guys. After a while 7 guys re-attacked and lapped the field. Our group although not that organized, also lapped the field with about 8 to go. I’d be surprised if the results are 100% because there were guys and groups all over the course. The Ninigrit wind was back! I wasn’t feel strong so I can’t give myself any credit for keeping the group going. I took about 4 pulls the whole 45 minutes we were away. Bill Yabrody came back and said the group needed my help so that is when I took my first pull. Almost got dropped after that one! I think I was 16th. I didn’t beat all that many guys from the group. 😦

My plan was to skip the P123 race and just go for a ride after the Masters but Gary changed those plans when I saw him with a good gap about 10 minutes into his race. So I stuck around and cheered, etc. With no time to spare I decide, what the heck. Do the 123. Turned out it was easier than the Masters. Like the Masters a break went in the first few laps and after that it was just round and round. We were lapped and it got hard again but still not bad. I’m glad I got the miles in.

4. Ed - April 14, 2007

Awesome Gary!!! How does it feel? You are now a marked man in the 4 field.

5. air9r - April 15, 2007

Gary MAGNUS!

6. wenzel - April 15, 2007

I knew you had it in you. We talked earlier in the week about your flats power and speed. I guess lunch rides are paying off….now back to hill intervals. Gary and I were crunching team placing last night, and the list is becoming quite impressive for 2007

7. geaspnes - April 15, 2007

I am paying the price today. I think I told Wade yesterday I felt like I was going ot lose a lung by the end of the race. Well, today it is coming up in greenish little chunks. Sometimes the inhaler just isn’t enough to keep the lungs happy…
Thanks for the support guys. Wade, especially having you on the side of the track yesterday. I think I might have bailed on the breakaway if you hadn’t kept yelling encouragement and time checks. I’ll have to list you all as references on the upgrade request. I think it might be about time to do that.

8. bwirtz - April 16, 2007

GREAT JOB GARY!!! THAT IS AWESOME!!! Do I hear upgrade?

9. throxy - April 16, 2007

Nice Job, Gary! Every rider’s dream to come up with a sols victory!

My experience at Plainville was no where near as pleasant. After spending two days in bed earlier in the week with one heck of a sinus cold, I felt enough strength in the legs on Saturday to give the 3/4 race a shot. Only 19 guys showed up and the majority were Cyclonauts or Anthem boys. A break of 4 or 5 went off the front 5 minutes into the race lead by Norton. Those that remained in the pack decided to do interval training, which consisted of going all out on the back stretch, then slowing down coming through the start finish line. The sickness got the best of me after 25 minutes and I just didn’t have the lungs for all the power intervals we were doing. I called it a day then went home and spent the rest of the afternoon and Sunday in bed again.

The good news is, I feel better. The bad news is, I’m going to Las Vegas this weekend for a bachelor party!

Contrats again.

Thom


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