Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lake Washington Velo Circuit Race #1

I got up early Saturday morning and the first thing I did was check the temperature. At 6:00am it was already 66 degrees, perfect. I met Dave M. at 6:30 and we headed North to Silvana. As we hit Everett our bright morning sun decided to make a run for it. The marine push had come in and made it feel and look like Fall. I looked down at the temp. and it was only 55 degrees. We looked at each other and laughed as neither of us had brought any cool weather gear. I didn't even have a t-shirt to where under my jersey. With no traffic we arrived at the lot a little early and just sat in the car, not wanting to get out and actually feel how cool it was. I know, we live in the NW and that is normal but after the 90+ degree weather we had and 70 degree mornings we had to complain a little. We didn't get out of the car until we saw a line form at the registration table. It was now 8:00 and there was no change in the weather. We got dressed and headed out on the course to warm up. I was not warm at all!

The course is a "pancake" flat, narrow, six mile course with a few sharp corners and a couple of railroad trestles that narrowed the road even more. It would be a fun, fast course.

We lined up at the start at about 8:50 and noticed out field would be fairly large. There were about 15 Cucina guys lined up so I knew they would try to take control of the race right away. Just as we were ready to roll out Mother Nature blew on that fog and it quickly disappeared. It started warming up right away and it felt good. We rolled out neutral and I was talking with friends from other teams and forgot to notice where I was in the pack. We had 60 man field and I soon realized I was sitting 40th wheel. I really like to be up front. We rolled by the finish line and soon after we were racing. The attacks came right away and I was getting frustrated from the get go. Cucina was doing the smart thing and once their guys attacked they just sat in front and slowed the pace. They had about six to nine guys up there and it was hard for people to get by. After a few unsuccessful attacks a group of five took off and got clear. Cucina had a man in it I felt they did a good job of controlling the pack. I was frustrated that I was in no position to even have a chance to jump on. No one was getting by to try to bridge and soon they were disappearing down the road. It was only a 30+ mile race and I knew they would have a good chance of staying away since there were no hills to slow them down and it wasn't too windy.

We had just starting the third of six laps and I still hadn't moved up an inch. I kind of knew we were now racing for 6th but there was still a chance that we could reel them in. We went through one of the railroad trestles and when everyone leaned in to clear it there was a small path that opened up but was closing fast. I was in the right place and jumped out of the saddle and made it by just before it closed. Now, at least I was riding up front. With all the counter attacks and surges it was hard to hold your place but I was determined to stay 5th to 8th wheel. Again, after a failed attempt to bridge the leaders, Cucina got up front and blocked. Some guys were getting pissed at them and some verbal exchanges took place. For a brief second one guy dropped back and moved over and I decided to try to mix things up. I squeezed through and took off. I hit 30 mph fast but my heart rate was only at 142 so I felt I could put in a good effort for a while. I kept my pace and strung out the pack. I was hoping we would start reeling in the leaders but knew all I was doing was making a few people hurt. A couple guys got on my wheel so I kept pushing, hoping we could get a good rolling pace line going. We kept it up for about three miles and finally decided that all I was doing was burning matches and wanted to save a few before the finish. We were not going to catch the leaders. The next two laps were mainly uneventful but the pace stayed fast with constant surges. We finally hit the last lap and it started out pretty slow. Right before the 2nd turn there is a wooden bridge and a short, very short slight uphill that leads into a sharp right hand turn. After that turn the pace went from steady to insane. Everyone wanted to get up front and I was working hard to stay there. We hit turn three and we were flying. Everyone wanted to get setup for the final turn which leads you to the finish. Instead of the standard 200 meter open road they gave us the whole road following the corner which I guessed was about 4oo meters. I was sitting about 5th wheel lined up behind two Cucina guys and felt like I was in good position for the sprint. Just as we hit the corner a guy that had swung wide dove into the turn right in front of me. Everything seemed cool and as I swung around to sprint another guy who overshot the turn hit the grass (no shoulder) and did a great cyclecross impression and didn't go down. I had to tap my brakes to avoid him and that killed my momentum. I quickly got back up to speed but with the road fully opened everyone was spread out. I couldn't get on anyone's wheel and I came across the line 19th overall. In the last few races I've had the bad luck of being behind someone that either went down or almost when down right at the sprint. I was still happy with a top twenty finish with the quality masters field we had.


  1. So Cucina had 15 riders in the field, got one in a five man break, controlled (blocked) the field and their best finish was 5th place......

    It seems like I have heard a story similar to this before.

  2. I don't think they were happy about the 5th place finish in a 5 man break.