Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012 Joe Matava Criterium

The seattle Summer decided to show up a day early this year!  It was the first race in a while that I didn't have to constantly check the weather report to see what base layers might be required.   The only thing that sucked (a little) was the 8:10am start time for the Masters 1/2/3 race.  Don't they know it takes old guys a long time to get out of bed in the morning.....especially on a holiday?  It was so nice out that I was actually up before my alarm clock.

After my back to back wins over the weekend I figured  there was no chance anyone was going to let me get away for a third straight time so I was hoping that could allow my teammates a chance attack and get in a winning break.  There were eight of us lining up in a 50 man field of serious speed freaks on a fast, 30 minute course. This was going to be a fun one.

The attacks started early and never stopped.  Anytime the field got even slightly bunched up someone would punch it and string out the pack.  We always had one or two guys starting or going with each attack so things were looking good early on.

There is really not much more to say about this one.  It was a safe, fast race that was mostly uninteresting until the last few laps. 

It was a battle for positioning and it looked like KR, Bikesale, Audi and Garage were all trying to setup leadout trains for the final two laps.  There were no hidden agendas.  I could hear Jim(KR), Andrew(Bikesale) and Gary(Audi) all communicating with teammates on what to do.  Sure enough with two to go the fireworks started and the battle began.  Everyone was trying to get to the front but of course not everyone can.  In a finish like this it is only the bold and brave that can hold their position dispite all the shoulder, elbow and bar banging.  I'm usually not intimidated by this and do what I can to hold my position.  We  were heading into turn three on the 2nd to last lap and I started banging elbows with someone.  I leaned in a little to hold my position but didn't expect the hard elbow that I got that caused me to swerve left.  I almost took my own teammate out as a result! Thankfully we both stayed up.  For the first time this year I decided to back off a bit.  I stayed near the front but was not trying to force anything.

We started the final lap and it was pretty much the same.  Strong guys without teams were trying to get on the best possible wheel and things were really heating up.  We hit turn three for the last time and once again I found myself banging bars again but this time it wasn't too bad.  I was actually going to sit up and let the the race go but I realized I was still near the front of the pack and didn't want to disrupt anyone's sprint.  I didn't start my kick until we came out of turn four and ended up crossing the line in 10th.  It wasn't what I was hoping for but it was a top 10 and I was still in one piece.  Congrats to Andrew Martin for pulling out the win.

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