15 June 2005

The FBF Massacre, or The Strangest Race

Well now, last night was interesting. I’ll try to relay all of the fun and excitement of the Cat 5 FBF race last night, but I’m sure that there are other stories.

Well, things started out all fine and dandy like normal. There were a few squirrelly riders mixed in with the group, but hey it’s Cat 5, you have to expect as much. The first four laps of our five-lap race go pretty well. Holding a decent pace myself and another unattached rider tried for a break on lap 2, just to break the group up and tire them out a little. It only held for a kilometer or so, but it wasn’t really meant to last. There were a few other attempts at breaks, but they all relented to the 91 degree heat after a kilometer or so as well.

Lap four comes around and the 1’s catches the Cat 5 group before the first corner. The race coordinators neutralize our field till the 1’s pass. Just as an aside, for those who are new to racing, never, ever pass the pace car. When they slow down to neutralize the field stay behind them or else the coordinators are going to get in a car and come and yell at your group. Not fun. So anyway, the coordinators come up to talk to the 12 or so of us who were in the front of the group when it was neutralized. We ask for another lap to make up for the neutralized lap (it did end up being about half of the last lap that was neutralized). We get the lap and start passing the news back through the group. Problem #1. Some idiot in the middle of the field keeps yelling, “Last lap!” as we’re trying to get the info about the extra lap through the pack. As a result about half the pack think that we’re stopping at 5 laps and the other half think that we’re going for 6. Now, the coordinators should have used the megaphone or at least rolled back through the group to let everyone know about the extra lap, but by this point it was a pretty ornery group and I don’t think that there was any better way to get the info out then the way it was handled, by the group itself.

So they release the group just before the second corner. There’s a quick mad dash to regain placement and soon order is restored. We come around the final corner and those that didn’t hear about the extra lap start a sprint. But those of us that do know think that they’re trying a break and set up to chase. The only problem is that those who were going for sprint sat up once they were over the line and those of us that were chasing had to maneuver through a group of riders sitting up after a hard sprint. (Apparently there was a crash at this point right on the first corner, but I was up at the front of the pack and didn’t see anything.) As we come around the corner we’re neutralized once more, this time because we caught the 4’s. We’re let go just before the second corner once again and in the mad dash to regain position a rider goes down one place up and on my left. He brings down a few riders behind him and to his left in one of the most painful looking crashes I’ve ever seen. As the group passes him and rounds the second corner there’s another dash to pick up positions that were lost by this crash. Of course this results in one rider clipping another riders rear wheel and the first rider goes down hard. This second crash happened further up in the field proving that even the front of the pack isn’t safe in a Cat 5 race. So now I’m still in the top 20 of this large field, but I have to sprint up to regain position before coming into the last corner. We come around the corner and sprint for the line. Once again I come in somewhere ~15th having had to fight my way through two crashes, one right before the sprint. I don’t know the field size as the results haven’t been posted on racelistings.com yet, but I’d imagine it was close to last week.

Overall not a bad finish for a race that had more confusing twists and turns that anyone expected.

Apparently there were winners for the 5th lap sprint and the 6th lap sprint as well. Once I have the results I’ll put them up as well.

Till Sunday’s Tour of New York,

-Dan

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