With mommy and babies nestled snugly back into home life (we had a baby girl two weeks ago, surprise!), I got permission to dust off the racing shoes and dice it up with the other B series racers last night. Alastair came to be my cheering section, which was pretty awesome since we had probably the smallest team showing of the season, with only 3 of us out there.
Race was clock-wise, which has delivered me some surprisingly decent results over the season. Clock-wise, as I've mentioned before, requires a standing sprint. I really do not like a standing sprint. I think my race bike's handlebars are too narrow, and I never feel entirely steady.
And I'd ridden REALLY HARD the night before, and was having some leg pains during warm-up. I wasn't optimistic, but I was gleeful to get to play. I even gridded up near the front, which is just a fool's errand at Bryan Park, as the smart folks will just let you burn up in the wind.
The race started with M. Lipka screaming off the front like his ass was on fire, with two other guys chasing. The rest of us formed a solid lead-out group, with M. Barton pulling for the first lap. She peeled off and I got stuck out in the wind for two laps. Then they rang a prime lap. Nobody seemed willing to pull out around me heading toward the hairpin, and dammit I wanted a prime, since I didn't feel like I had a win in me.
So I tried something new: as we came through the hairpin, I didn't hammer it. I gradually raised the pace with a steady hard effort. The paceline held, and by the time someone jumped at the kink, we were already moving over 26mph. The instant I heard the crunch of hard pedaling over my shoulder, I jumped and hammered. We crossed S/F over 33mph, but I edged the other guy by a couple of feet. It worked! And fortunately, he didn't try to hold the effort, allowing us to get quickly reabsorbed and rest.
Smiley grabbed the 2nd prime a few laps as I cycled further back through the pack. Alastair later said he was worried that I was running out of steam, but I just didn't see the point of jockeying for position, and I really wanted to see how much I could move around. I found that from one lap to the next, I could get from the inside lane to the outside, which is not normal. Usually it takes 2 or 3 laps to move across.
With 3 laps left, I spied an outside-line gap just past S/F and lunged toward the front.
With 2 laps left, I got caught when 3 other riders did the same thing. Coming off turn 1, I moved far left to feint an attack and shut down a line of riders behind.
With 1 lap left, I found myself where I wanted to be: outside line, on what appeared to be T. Tharin's wheel. He was 3rd in the line, with 4 lines across, and M. Wierzbicki 2nd wheel inside. As we approached the hairpin, Ted jumped around a teammate, and I followed. Jeers came from the peloton, and I couldn't tell exactly what was the issue, but I moved a bit farther outside just to protect myself in case of disaster.
It was a tactical mistake, and I went from 3rd rider through the turn to 7th, but I stayed clear of the lunatics who typically charge into the corner and have nothing left to climb the hill.
T. Tharin and M. Wierzbicki were clear and in a 2-man sprint for glory, but I conjured up every scrap of strength I could and put down a 3-part stand/sit/stand sprint and got clear of everybody else. I was actually closing on the leaders when they crossed the line, but they were still well clear of me.
Alastair told me later that a rider was just over my shoulder at the finish, but I had no idea at the time.