Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 Gig Harbor Curcuit Race

Race #2 of the LWV series.

I was injured and did not race the first one in Silvana. I have always done well at Gig Harbor for some reason so even though I wasn't quite back to 100% I was planning on giving it a go. This is the one race of the series that features a little climbing.

Course description:
Four mile loop that starts off with a 40+ mph downhill section. After a sharp right hand curve and a short 2% or so climb it flows slightly downhill and into a sharp right hand corner. The backside of the course is mainly flat until you reach a lazy right hand turn that leads to the 3/4 or so mile climb. It is not super steep but is a small ringer. It tapers off some about half way up and takes you to the final right hander on the course. The road continues up after the turn before dropping down briefly, allowing you to catch your breath.....maybe. The last 1K is slightly uphill and the race finishes at the crest of the hill.

I had one teammate racing in the Masters 35+ field so I decided to race with him instead of going solo in the 1/2 field later in the day. The weather was incredible and it was nice cruising down I-5 in the early morning hours with no traffic. As I crossed the Narrows Bridge I could see the marine layer hanging over Gig Harbor. It could be a foggy for the 9:00 start time.

Registration was not quite ready to deal with us when I showed up so we all just took our time getting ready. There was no pre-reg for this race so by the time they did finally the registration area situated the line was quite long. By the time I got registered we had about 40 minutes until race time..........We thought!

I hurried to get at least some kind of warm up in before the race. We got a lap in and then headed back to the staging area and found out there was a major problem. Someone forgot to grab the lead/follow car race signage...DOOHHHH!! We were told that the race might be cancelled but to hold tight. Confusion was in the air...along with a little fog. I went back to my car and told everyone what was going on. We were soon told the equipment was on the way and the race would be delayed by one hour. OK, that would give the marine layer a chance to lift. I rolled out with a good size group of guys and took a couple more laps around the course. We returned to find that we now had a solid start time of 10:30. This was now causing many people to make a decision whether to race or not. The whole Garage team packed up and headed home along with many others. Crap....this was going to make for a small field. Not so....By now many guys racing in the Cat 3 race at 11:00 and some from the 1/2 field were starting to flow into the lot. Many of them decided to get into our race instead waiting around an extra two hours for their race.....Field size was back up again and getting stronger.

We finally rolled over to the staging area at 10:20 but there were still no sign of the signs..ha,ha,ha! We sat there for well over 1/2 hour doing nothing. When they finally got the car signs and we were ready to go it had been well over two hours. Because of this we were only doing five laps on the course. It was going to be a super fast, 20 mile race.  Mark M. was one of the guys that decided to move into our field so now there was three of us. We rolled out, shot down the hill at 45mph hit the curve at the bottom of the and and the race was on. I was one of the guys that decided to push the pace during lap one. I stayed up front all the way until we crested the hill at the end of the lap. By the time we leaned into the curve at the bottom of the hill we were all back together

Lap two started the same but played out differently. Randy(KR) decided to attacked hard and got a big gap. I had worked hard on lap one so I didn't want to do anything to help chase him down. I was hoping Andrew(Bikesale) or Marcus(Apex) would lead the charge since they were the two sitting the highest in the series standings. No one really did anything and we just watched Randy go. He held his lead throughout the lap and kept it after the 2nd run up the hill. When the rest of us hit the climb for the second time I was having no problems staying near the front. After the descent I think guys remembered how short this race was and started to punch it. A bunch of us took turns up front including my teammates Scott and Mark, Erik and Zqwan from Cucina, Andrew and Marcus. It wasn't too long before we brought Randy back.
Laps three and four were about the same. The pace was high and guys were constantly shooting off the front but at the end of each lap we were all together.

The final lap was a fun one. Things were starting to heat up. Andrew, Mike and Marcus all moved so I made sure to get my but up there with them. Small attacks mounted but everyone was paying close attention to make sure they were in good position when we hit the climb for the last time. I knew that it was going to be a leg burner. All the favorites were right up front and no one let up after we made the corner at the top. I think we dropped a few guys but we still were going to have a shootout at the finish.

As we hit the short downhill section I looked back and saw that we had dropped a ton of guys. We passed the 1K marker and I found myself sitting right next Andrew and on Mike's wheel. I can't out sprint Mike head to head but at least drafting a super fast wheel. I saw the 200m mark up a head and decided I was going to put my head down and go. If the officials said something at the beginning of the race I wasn't listening. There was no way that marker was at 200m. My brain told my legs to do an all out 200m sprint and with about 40m to go my legs were done. I was right behind Dave and Andrew and was just hoping I could will my bike to keep moving forward to get third......Not so. Mark came flying around me, which was good but so did Marcus, and then Scott(bikesale). I still managed to get 6th and was pretty happy. Mark took 4th and Scott came in right behind me in 7th. Three of us raced, three in the top 10.   Not a  bad day.

1 comment:

  1. "A shootout at the finish." Nice. :) Sure sounds like it was an exciting 20 miles!