Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sterling Classic

Tucker and I lined up under grey skies yesterday and I was hoping we wouldn’t see a repeat of 2010 (blinding hail and aquaplaning bikes!)  Thankfully there was only a touch of rain towards the end of the race and no repeat of the 2010 post-race mass hypothermia!
I was a bit concerned about the lingering effects of my Quabbin crash, as efforts out of the saddle have been a bit tricky these past couple of weeks but it wasn’t too bad first time up the hill on the warm-up with Tucker, so I was re-assured.

Anyway, the first couple of laps after the neutral climb were standard fare – balls out up the hill, ease off, hard up the second ramp followed by jostling for position before getting back on to Route 12 where the bunch re-grouped.  I spent most of the time lurking in the top 30, avoiding doing any unnecessary work.

There were a few tentative break attempts that came to nothing, so it all came down to the last lap.  I struggled up the final full climb – lost ground on the first hill and had to give it everything to latch back on but once that was done, it was relatively straightforward to work through the pack to get into the top 30 heading onto Route 12 for the last time.  I headed to the front and sheltered behind a couple of guys who drove the pace for most of the stretch. I was next to Aaron from Cycle Lodge who nicely protected his teammate Nick Sousa and delivered him perfectly at the bottom of the hill per their pre-race plan as I later found out (Nick got 3rd).

I had good position going onto the final corner, on the inside top 12.  Just as I stood up to let rip I felt someone whack my back wheel pretty hard and heard the sound of guys going down.  Apparently someone veered wildly from the left side of the road to the right and took a bunch of guys out, so I was glad to be positioned where I was. I didn’t need any extra encouragement, realizing that the crash was perfect for me so gave it everything and just nipped someone on the line for 7th.  Fun day out and a nice way to end to the “spring classics.”

Submitted by Nick