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Blue Hills Classic 35+ May 3, 2009

Posted by Gary in Race Reports.
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After the bitter disappointment of yesterday’s race in western MA, I was in need of something to pull me out of my funk.  I hadn’t planned on doing it, but it dawned on me last night that the Blue Hills Classic could be just the thing.  Only an hour away and an early start meant I could be back home by a bit after noon.  The forecast looked good and prereg didn’t fill.  So I was there. 

It ended up being close to (if not?) a full field.  There was heavy representation from a number of local teams (CCB, BikeBarn, corner cycle, and M1Racing to name a few).  And definitely a few of the local Heavies on hand as well, inluding Amos B and Paul R from CCB, Fast Eddy riding solo for TT, Jonny Bold, Bill Y, and, of course, day of registrant Mark McC for Fuji.

I made a beeline for the SRAM car in the parking lot and swapped by cracked 404 for a neutral support 404 clincher (or was it a SRAM wheel?) and got ready with the missmatched set.   I hoped today the cycling gods would smile on me and my mechanical woes would be a thing of the past.

The course is a very nice moderately rolling 7 mile loop through the Blue Hills Reservation with basically 3 corners and one main descent.   To mirror the descent, there was one main power climb (all big ring), about 1.5 miles long leading to the finish line, just down the road from the parking lot.   The race itself seemed very well organized with a well staffed motocycle police escort, lots of marshalls manning corners, and SRAM neutral support for all fields. 

Our race was relatively aggressive, though mostly on the flats.  There was some action on the hill, particularly on the first couple of laps, but most of the breakaway attempts were going on the flats or descent.    It seemed each time after the climb, we’d string out a bit, get some gaps opening and some moves would go, but nothing that would really stick.  On lap 4, a promising looking group went off the front heading into the downhill section.  I got over to it, but it lost organization and everyone sat up.   What the heck, I figured I’d counter.  Someone would follow, right?

Evidently not.  I built a decent gap on the field, but nobody seemed interested in coming up to help.  I settled into an equal pace with the group hoping ot draw something out with no success.    I knew there was a downhill coming up where I’d be out of sight for about 20 sec, so once I hit that, I dropped it in the 11T and hammered.   I had 17 mi to go, but I figured it was worth putting the effort in.   I’m not sure what my max gap was on the field, but there were only a few times where I could get a good look at them behind me, so I kept driving.

I held out for 1.5 laps, but on starting the finish climb for the 2nd to last time, I could tell trying to stay off for the final lap was futile.  I eased up, sucked down my last gel, drank and waited.  I almost sagged a bit too much through the pack and got slightly detatched at the top of the climb, but tempoed back up and into the pack.  I spent the last 7  mi sucking down the rest of my drink and getting prepared for the sprint.

Unfortunately, I got myself pinned on the right side of the pack when Mark McC finally opened thing up.  He went at the second to last steeper pitch on the finish climb on the left side and opened a huge gap.  Meanwhile, the front end exploded trying to match pace.  I dragged myself up to ca. 5-7th wheel by 200 m, but accidentally double shifted into a higher gear than I wanted and started bogging in the sprint.   In the end, I came in 11th.  A throw at the line might’ve netted me one more spot, but my brain was too fuzzy to think of it at that point.

Mark had no issues holding it out for 1st.  2nd went to one of the bikebarn guys, but 3rd went to Ed A who started way back, but went flying through the remnants of the sprint in the finale.  How come he never sprinted like that when he wore orange?!?

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Comments»

1. Wayne - May 3, 2009

Good job Gary! It’s good to see you riding so well and getting results. Maybe you have just gotten all your back luck out of your system at once? Clear sailing from now on…

2. Gary - May 4, 2009

Oh damn it Wayne. Now you’ve gone and jinxed me for sure. In any event, first I’ve got to see if I can still get a 32H 404 rim to replace the old one. Then I need to build it up and reglue. Not to mentionthe fact that I’ve gone through all the spare tubulars that were supposed to last the season.

*sigh*

I better be done with flats after all that…


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