Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ravensdale/Cumberland Road Race.

I had promised, swore and came up a number of randum excuses to tell myself and others that there was no way I was racing Sunday. I was tired, physically and mentally, and didn't get to bed until after midnight. Our race didn't start until 12:40 so that wasn't a big deal. To my surprise and and astonishment I awoke to sunny skies. That couldn't be right? It was supposed to be cold and rainy. I walked out onto the deck with my coffee and it felt pretty nice. I grabbed my phone and decided to text Mark to see what he was thinking. He sent me one at exactly the same time so I took that as a sign and told him I'd be at his house at 1o:30. Why do I do this to myself?!

I looked at the hourly weather report for the day and it showed that it would start raining around 2:00pm. That would be right in the middle of our race. I forget how quick it is to get to Ravensdale from Bellevue, so we arrived a little early. The lot was totally quiet. We walked up to register and we were the 2nd and 3rd that had shown up. The promoters told us that the morning races were pretty small compared to IVRR the day before. I was not really feeling it and never really warmed up before the start. It was a totally flat race. We were doing two laps on a long course for a total of 60 miles so I'd just use the first few miles to warm up. In previous years the finish was straight up a steep climb for about 300 meters right after a 90-degree turn. They took the hill out this year and we were finishing on flat road and, for some reason, they were not giving us the full road at 200m.....interesting.
Wes decided he needed more punishment as well and we met him in the lot.

As we rolled to the start we had just over 40 riders and I could only pick out a few that had raced the day before. After the neutral rollout the horn sounded and someone decided to take off. We accelerated and my legs felt like they were going to explode. So much for the warm up. I really had to struggle to stay with the group and started to think that this may not be my day. The attacks kept coming and the accelerations seemed brutal. I kept biting the bullet and was able to stay up near the front. After the race I was told by the official that we started losing guys five miles into the race. After about 10 miles of this, I was finally starting to feel good. It seemed everyone wanted to get away and the attacks kept coming. Mark and I got up front and a guy from Garage took off. We looked at each other and decided to go. With two of us taking off I was sure I would look back and just see a string of riders right on our tail. To our surprise only two others hooked on. This was nice as it was a good number to work a pace line. We got organized and we started to pull away. We only had one other teammate racing and he did his best to get up and disrupt the guys and keep them from organizing a chase but one man can only do so much. We stayed out for a short while but we eventually got shut down. Of course, another attack went off right away. Mark and I settled to the back and let the rest do the work. We just kept watching to see what was happening. I'm not sure exactly when it happened but all of a sudden we looked up and saw Wes and a guy from Recycled shoot of the front. Mark and I quickly surged to the front and sat up. I was surprised no one went with them and eventually they dissapeared up the road. I don't think anyone knew what teams were repesented in the break and no one tried to go around us. I think HB had eight guys in our field and they were the team that didn't want the break to get away. They started sending guys off the front and each time Mark and I were able to surge up and slow them down. Bikesale would get to the front but we knew Brandon is one really good sprinter and didn't want to burn a lot of matches so when they got up front we let them work. As soon as Hagens went, Mark and I were on them. They were getting pissed and we were loving it. Why are you coming to the front and not working? Let us through! Someone finally yelled that we had a guy up there and we were not going to do any work. They kept coming and we kept shutting them down. I didn't care how many matches I burned, but I was feeling really good. Both Mark and I had no trouble coming from 20 wheels back to get up front every time attacks came. Recycled started helping us out and I really thought Wes and Adam were going to stay away. Hagens had a lot of guys and on the back side of the last lap our lead car finally came into view. Crap!! We kept trying to slow the pace but HB did a really good job brining them back. Hats off to them. We finally caught them and I gave Wes a pat on the back when we went by. It was a HUGE effort and I felt bad we couldn't do more for him. He was still strong enough to slot back in with the group. Oh, and right at 2:00 it started raining. The last 10 miles was hard. The tension was mounting and we knew we were going to be sprinting on really wet pavement with no open road at the finish. I think guys wanted to take chances and surprise the pack. Guys were launching attacks all over the place, but they were brought back every time. It was hard staying up front because you could be slotted at 5th wheel on the left but then the right side of the pack takes off and in a second you are 20th wheel. I kept driving back to the front. With about 2k to go we were still all together and the heavens really opened up. It was raining hard. I was starting to get a little worried about the wet, narrow bunch sprint but not enough to keep me from driving to the front. 1K to go. I was on the wheel I wanted to be on and he went at 300m. I jumped, my quads balled up like baseballs and again I couldn't get out of the saddle to sprint. Iwas still sitting and drafting a fast wheel in front of me but knew I wouldn't be able to fly around him. All of a sudden I got hit hard from the side and thrown across the yellow line. I figured I was either going down or getting DQ'd for crossing the yellow. He flew in front of me and went across the yellow and drove for the finish. I regained my composure and went across in 11th.....again. I was totally pissed off and happy at the same time. Wes was right behind me and saw the whole thing and after the race guys went up and complained to the official. He ended up getting DQ'd (thanks officials). No one went down which has been rare this year so far.


  1. Sean,

    A friend sent me a link to your blog about Frozen Flatlands and I was reading it with great interest (nice writting BTW), but was shocked to read that I had bumped you at the end of Ravensdale. It was completely unintentional and I don't even remember it happening, the end was so frantic with only the one lane and the driving rain it was all a blur. Anyway, please accept my sincere apology and the know I would never run you off the road on purpose!


  2. I only knew about it because the official told me afterwards. I know it was not on purpose. It was just tight racing with a tight finish. I know you are a good guy and a good racer and no one went down. No apology needed but thanks.