The team had a great day at Belleville, IL today. We had riders race in the 4/5, 3/4, 50+, and the 123. Our super star cat 4 Grant took another 1st place win with a break away. His Dad was not so fortunate though, crashing hard and hurting his shoulder bad. I have not heard yet how he is doing but I hope he will only be sore for a few days and then back in the saddle quick.
This race is pretty sweet. The course has a lot of tight fast turns and plays to my strengths. This meant that I wanted to win, bad. And truthfully I thought I was going to win, right up until 2 turns to go. We had the biggest, (Me, Mike, Brian, Keith, Jason W, and Jason M) strongest team in the race and had a great plan that was unfolding perfectly. Brian and Keith were doing a lot of work on the front keeping the pace high, jumping off the front, and making others have to work for us. This was step one of our plan. Mike was going to do some freelance work and when they rang the bell for a prime (a race within the race where you can win money and other prizes) I asked a couple of our guys to move Mike up to the front. He had a great sprint taking the prime with ease. Very soon after that, about half way through the race a couple riders were rolling away and our man Jason Murphy took up the chase. When he was about to hook up, a rider from Hammer Down decided to jump and I just was there for the ride. We all started to ride very well right away, and with the rest of my team putting the breaks on in the field, we had a large gap on the field quick like.
Like I said the plan was working to perfection. Now to work out how to finish things off. Around 5 laps to go I noticed that I had a rider stuck to my back wheel. He was marking me and I was not able to shake him at all. Soon enough no one would come around me and that is when Jason M started putting in double time. With one lap to go Jason started putting in some really hard digs trying to shake something loose. After a very hard pull going down the back stretch, I jumped, hard. I was sure that I had shaken everyone, and once I made it to the course's tough downhill turn I was going to put the race away. I looked down at by back tire and there he was, my mark had stuck to me like glue, S#*T! I pushed it through the turns hoping that would dislodge him, nope, and then I hammered up the hill hoping I could just hold it to the line, wrong again. I was done for, it was all spent and I had blown all my team's hard work. Jason, even after all his hard work was still able to sprint for 4th, I limped in for 6th, last in the break and one place out of the money. The rest of my team though finished off the field sprint in amazing fashion, taking 1st through 3rd.
I was not happy with myself, and I have gone over what I did right and what I did wrong. The sad thing is the mistake I made is a mistake I've made before, and it has taken me doing it a few times to realize it is a mistake. A goal of mine has always been to not ever make the same mistake twice. I want to be a smart racer, and I can do all I want to gain more muscle and speed, but if I don't use my head and smarts I am going to lose a lot more races than I win.
I rested for about and hour watching Rick race in the Masters 50+. He looked super strong and I am sure had a very good placing. I will have to check out the results though because I didn't get to talk to him before we lined up for the 123 race.
I have done some 123 races before but I have never done too well. I was really just hoping to help my team early in the race and then hold on for as long as I could. We had myself, Bj, Mark, Jason W, and Keith lining up. Our plan was pretty simple, mark the strong guys and see what happened. There was a good showing of teams in the race, with Hammer Down and Dog Fish looking to be the biggest. Dog Fish was active from the start and I was able to keep up with some moves and mix it up. Devin Clark from The Hub was looking wicked strong and put in attack after attack trying to get off the front. Justin Maciekowicz also put in countless attacks and I was only really able to go on one or maybe two. I have no idea how these guys can just go and go. It is pretty astounding to me that when it seems like you can't go any harder, that's when the attacks come from all angles. Good to know what I need to learn though.
After a while Mark was able to get into a move that stuck and the team just sat back and followed moves. The one curious thing about the race was that people were very vocal, more so than even the Cat 3s. A lot of telling people what to do, and a lot of trash talk. I guess being the new guys on "the block" our team isn't looked at as someone that should be there. We like to think otherwise.
Late in the race they rang the bell for a prime and Jason W made a great move. At first I though he was making a move to either bridge up to the break, or was going to try and hang it out there till the end. After I saw him cross the line easily and sit up though I remembered the prime. It was awesome to watch a teammate with so much power.
As the race started coming to a finale I was getting more and more excited that I might make it to the end. I didn't have much left in the tank to try to sprint and coming around the 2nd to last corner I was getting pretty crossed eyed. But finishing in the pack really helped me to feel better about my earlier performance. What was even better was Mark, Jason W, and Bj brought home 3 more great results with 2nd, 6th and 10th respectively. What a day! Now my only regret was I didn't have time to hang around and get a beer to celebrate with the guys. But there will be more time for that another weekend. Great job team!