Wednesday, July 05, 2017

BPTS17 #6: Extra Crashy Edition

Last week's BP race was one to forget. We ran clockwise, which is usually awesome, but so far this year has just been extra sketchy. The first time there were no wrecks, but gobs of unnecessary brakes. This time felt like Talledega with a whole mess of extra stupid to go around.

The first bit of stupid was my own. I knew there was a ladies' prime, but the instant I heard that bell, I forgot all about it and charged. A couple of guys came with me, but it was a dumb move and I need to keep my focus better. Ultimately it may have saved my whole day/week/month...

Because on the very next lap there was a snapping sound from behind. I was still out front but shouted to the lead pack that it sounded like a wreck behind us, and we needed to be careful coming through the first turn on the next lap. Someone glanced back and confirmed riders down, and when we came back through, there were at least 7 guys off bikes, with one rider lying on the course.

Those who'd gotten up were waving us to the right and begging the peloton to ease up through the area, but two younger guys decided that was a great place & time to attack, building about a 15-second lead on the group.

For several laps we would soft-foot through the accident scene, bunch up before the bottom turn, and charge up the front straight. For several laps those two stayed away, occasionally working their gap up to 20+ seconds.

All told, the accident took about 10 laps to clean up, and at one point there was a pickup truck on the course sitting at start/finish with guys flying toward it blind, and spectators having to yell at us to stay track-right. It was a really weird dynamic, and about halfway into it I decided I was not going to let those two kids win the race by taking advantage of injuries.

I shouted to the group to shut their lead down, and a few riders joined me in the effort to reel them back. I didn't know until after the race that we had a break, but it would have felt wrong to win by doing the same thing I was trying to prevent, so once we caught those two guys, I backed way off and settled back into the pack.

The very lap after the injured rider was cleared from the racing surface, the bell rang again. Again I pounced, unaware of there only being 5 laps left. I won the prime, but was totally tanked and dropped to the tailgunner position.

When I saw 2 laps on the board, I was sure the race was lost for me, but moved up a bit to find the series leaders. At 1-to-go, I moved alongside a guy who's in serious contention for the leader's jersey. We were not in the first 10 wheels, and rolling through the bottom turn I was pushed back to about 20th.

But I cannot not sprint, and running clockwise means a long uphill sprint, which is out of reach for a bunch of folks. I went for it, and brought myself up to 6th place at the line, keeping myself 5th overall in points.

I heard later that two dropped riders were moving at a conversational pace up the front straight as we charged out of that final turn, nearly causing another massive wreck.

Fairly safe to say they won't let us race clockwise again for a while.

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