Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ravensdale Road Race 5/9/09

Not your typical Ravensale Road Race!!

This race is usually put on in the middle of March but this year it was snowed out. It was rescheduled for this past Saturday. Instead of cold, rainy weather we were treated to warm, sunny skies on Saturday.

Our field was limited to 75 racers and that is the number we started with. We had seven guys race in this event. Mark Southern and Peter DesRosier did the Cat 5 race in the morning and Mitch, Dave Chandler, Dave Mezera, Mike Brochu raced in the Masters C/D event later in the morning.

5 laps on a 9 mile course that featured two tight turns and a couple of hills, nothing insane.

I'll start by saying I've never seen so many crashes in a Masters race. I've done 11 races this year and this was the first race with any crashes. It made for crazy race.

After the neutral roll out the Lakemont crew was all together towards the front but I decided that I wanted to get to the front 3-10 and stay there for the race. I was feeling really good and figured that would be my best strategy for staying out of trouble. Small breakaway attempts were happening right out of the block. Cucina and The Valley Athletic club were well represented and it seemed like every attempt had at least one from each team in it. They would go and teammates were doing a little blocking for them up front. They would let them get about a 20 second gap, move to the right and let other teams chase them down. I realized this and didn't get caught up in it and let other teams do the chasing. This was kind of status quo for the first four laps and I think it did thin the pack out a little each loop. No breakaways were successful.

I think the first of the three crashes happened half way through the 2nd lap. I was near the front and it happened right behind me. I usually never do this but I broke the Cardinal rule - I looked back for a sec. This is dumb, as you can get caught in it or cause another crash yourself. You want to keep looking forward and power out of the mess. Because I did look back I saw the carnage and it was pretty nasty. Since there were only about 12 or so of us that were not affected by it I shouted to everyone to hit the gas and see if we could get a gap. I think only a handful of guys caught behind were able to catch up right away. I looked around and didn't see any of our guys and was really starting to worry that some or all of them might have hit the deck. I guess you could say that the third lap was boring as no one went down. At about the same point where the first crash happened I looked over to see Mitch and Dave C. come up on my left. I was happy to see them. I asked about the others. Dave M. was just behind us but apparently Brochu dropped his chain at a point when the pace really picked up and was working hard to get back to the pack. At least everyone was still upright and racing. Mitch and Dave C. looked strong and before you know it the three of us were up front with Dave pulling the whole group. He had a big-ass grin on his face. I told him not to work to hard but to try to stay up towards the front. The pack slowed and another break took off. This one started to look a little more substantial and they had about a 30 second gap. Super Mitch to the rescue!! He looked at me and yelled "Let's go get them!" Off he went with me on his wheel. He was hauling ass and we caught them in no time and we were all back together. On the fourth lap there was another nasty crash but again I was out front and was not involved. Mitch and Dave M. almost went down as it happened right in front of them. They did recover but had to fight really hard to get back. I have no idea how many guys we dropped but it seemed there were only about 15 to 20 left at this point. On the final lap the pace really slowed down. I think guys were nervous from all the crashes and were gearing up for the finish but this allowed a bunch of guys to catch up with us, including Mitch. Mezera had worked hard with him to get back but flatted and was done for the day. At this point Mitch and I were the only two left. As we hit the first climb the pace was so slow that it bunched us all up like a can of sardines. It was hard to keep your rhythm and you couldn't move up. I was sitting about 12th wheel with Mitch right in front of me and I was starting to get a little nervous because the course goes downhill for a bit before hitting the 90 turn that leads you to the uphill finish. I feared another crash and guys were talking about it. Everyone got through the corner with no issues and we started up the hill. The pace slowed to a crawl up the hill and I wanted to go but knew I could never make it to the finish as we still had over 1K to go. We passed the 1K mark and we were still barely moving. I found some room and moved towards the center line and up a couple of spots to make sure I wouldn't get boxed in at the 200m mark. Still, no one went. I knew the guy right in front of me was strong at this type of finish so I decided to stay on his wheel. I must have been thinking about the brownies that Caprice made (they were awesome!!) and I missed out on the initial break. Two guys on the far right unleashed their sprint and I didn’t see it until too late. I thought the guy in front of me would take off but he didn't. That spit second screwed me up. I got out on the left and started to hammer. I was passing guys left and right and no one was passing me. The line was coming up too fast. If we would have had another 10 meters I would have easily finished third but.......7th place for me. It was my first top 10 in a road race this season so I was really happy. Next week is Wenatchee and the road race has 2000 ft. of climbing. Hopefully my legs stay happy.


  1. Hey, that's me that looks like he is going for the win. Unfortunately, the winner was out of the camera shot. I was also caught behind the crash on lap 2. I had to come to a complete stop, and then I solo'd for 5.5 minutes to catch the pack. I was always told Masters races didn't attack crashes. That was one hard effort, but I recovered enough to get second. I had about the poorest sprint tactics possible.....

  2. Well, you've definitely had your share of winning Jason. Good job!