11 April 2005

Race Report: CRCA, 9 April 2005

Break It Down

Submitted by Matt Purdue

I rode up to the race with Chris Forsyth, and as we were dodging broken glass in the dark on 6th Avenue, I told him I thought there would be an early break. You don’t have to be one of Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Friends to foresee a break in a C race, but I figured that when it happened, I’d give it a try.

It happened a lot earlier than I thought it would—on the first roller after Harlem Hill. Two guys jumped away and got 20-meter lead before anyone knew what was going on. In fact, if you were not in the top 10 in the peloton, you might not even have seen it happening. I didn’t think it would have a chance to stay away, but I was riding third in the peloton and decided to bridge up anyway.

I, a blue-and-gold rider named Kenny and a Visit Britain rider named Steve immediately picked up the pace. We were above 22mph coming up the last roller near the Reservoir. On a “fast training ride” around the Park, I usually hit that roller at 18 or 19. The three of us were joined by two Skyline riders and I figured they would try to bring us back to the group, but they soon dropped back.

So there we were, very lonely, with four-and-half-laps to go. We worked together, each taking 20-second pulls. We were flying—30+ mph on the flat near West 72nd Street, 27 mph coming around through horseshit alley. I had no idea how I would stay on. My heart felt like it would explode through my chest. Even when I was the No. 3 man, I was riding 3 to 4 mph faster than I would normally go on a “fast” Park ride. I’m curious to see the lap times from CRCA.

But I just kept clinging to Kenny’s wheel and enjoying Steve’s monster pulls. It’s no wonder he’s on Visit Britain. We communicated almost constantly. “Keep it smooth. Don’t pull off so wide. Don’t surge when it’s your turn.” We got a time check on the bell lap--“2-minute lead”--but there would be no let up. Finally, on our last pass by West 72nd St., Steve floored it. He was well above 30 mph.

Steve remained in control as we swung around the carousel, then gapped me and Kenny, leaving both of us panting. He rode to what looked like an easy victory. I snuck past Kenny on Cat’s Paw and took second.

After the race, I jawed with some riders for about 10 minutes. When I remounted my bike for the ride home, I couldn’t pedal. My hamstrings were locked in a vise. The lactic acid in my legs made even clicking in an act of self-torture. I had to stand on the pedals all the way to 57th St. until my legs loosened up enough to creep home.

Props to Kenny and Steve for some great pacelining.

Note to Team Echelon: Fellas, a breakaway will work, even a relatively slow one. Our break gained 3+ minutes on the pack. We could have averaged 1-2mph slower and still won. Something to think about.

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