Thursday, March 24, 2011

Great Forest Park Race

Last Sunday was a great day for racing. The weather was warming, the wind was blowing, and everyone was outside. This was the first time I was going to do this race as I was away at a meet last year. It is a 1.1 mile course with wide sweeping turn and no real hill to speak of. The field looked large and there was a big contingent of area STL teams there. 708 was able to bring 3/4 of our team to the race and we were going to do our best to put our name at the front of the race.
The plan was to get Chris or Mark off in a break. Chris is a huge engine of a rider and can just ramp it up and go, and go, and go. Mark is also a very strong rider who has done a large amount of work in the off season to get ready for a great year.
Chris went for his flyer about halfway through the race. There had been break away attempts from almost the word go so there were guys already getting a little tired. It was a great break for Chris. He got away with about 5 or 6 other riders and if they worked together it would be tough for the pack to catch them. I was at the front with Matt and Mark, and we started to mark guys trying to go up the road. Doing so took my all the way up to the break though. Looking back to the pack there was a good 50-75 meter gap and I started to yell they the break was doing great so lets start working. At that same moment thought he pack must have noticed that there were two 708 racers and two Momentum racers in the break because they put in a great chase and caught us in less than a lap. I don't know that the guys that were in that group were really feeling it and had the energy to put in a very good break away.
About a lap later Mark took off and it was going to stick if I had anything to say about it. I stayed in the first 3 to 5 riders for most of the remainder of the race. This is some tough racing if you have ever been on blocking duty. You don't really slow down you just jump into pace lines and break up any rhythm that these chases might get. You have to work on cutting corners tight to make the back end of the field accordion more and you have to go fast enough that other guys don't want to come around on the straights. Matt and Chris also did a really good job of keeping the field in check as much as we could.
Then with about 4 laps to go I saw the break away group was getting closer, and I was running out of steam. It was getting harder and harder to stay in the wind and guys that had been at the back the whole race were starting to come up and push the pace. Then I saw Mark make his jump, this was the best that 708 could hope for. Our plan B of lining up to take me to a bunch sprint wasn't going to work as I was smoked, Matt was hurting, and Chris was feeling better but it wasn't really his type of sprint even though Chris would finish very strong. Mark put in a great effort and was able to hold of the rest of the field for almost 4 laps. But every engine runs out of fuel at some point and sometimes you miss judge your fuel consumption by feet. Mark was swallowed by the driving pack with only about 150 feet to go. It was a heart wrenching ending but it was a great learning experience. It has been a long time since I have raced with anyone other than Mike and it will take a couple more races I think to get us all racing like a real smooth team. But I know it is going to happen because we are all smart racers who all want to win but also have a great time. Our next outing will he at Hillsboro and Tilles Park in about 9 days time. I am excited for these two races because I have done both but that was two years ago. I am so pumped racing is really here.

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