In order to not be sued for breach of contract by the voices in my head, I need to write something about every race I have participated in. Last Tuesday, I raced at FBF and flatted in the last corner on the last lap, which obviously means that I would’ve won that race, and that flat was the only thing holding me back from certain victory. I also participated in the CRCA club race on Saturday, which also ended with another puncture of my rear tire, which is really sad because I would’ve totally won that race also, but it’s nice to have two imaginary successes up in the win column for the season.
Now that I have satisfied the terms of my made-up contract, I can move on to describing last night’s race at FBF. Having relinquished the “Dirty Shirt” (there’s fewer yellow jerseys at FBF this year, so leaders swap the jersey amongst each other, personally, I would not wash the jersey beforehand just to let the inheritor know that my stank was on it, and I would like to return to that particular fire hydrant, so to speak) the week before, Aaron was sitting in second place overall behind Ron R by a margin of three points. There was a classic “winning wind” blowing at FBF for the first time this season, so we would need to take advantage of the meteorological circumstances in order to sneak some points away from the sprinters. This meant that a difficult race would probably split up the field, so Aaron and I made a plan to make the race difficult.
We lined up and rolled away and as soon as we hit the wind between turns two and three, we put on the pressure, because all eight laps would need to be difficult, not just laps five through eight—every lap needed to be vomit inducing—because bike racing is fun, after all. Aaron and I worked hard and we had a split on the first lap, which was good news, because it meant that the race could be cracked. The split was brought back together just after the start line and we readied ourselves for another push when we hit the wind again. We hit the wind, we pushed again, we saw stars and the ghosts of deceased aviators, you know, bike racing stuff. We were heading toward the seat line again and then Aaron told me that he had a flat.
This wasn’t good news. Firstly, Aaron would not be earning any points; and secondly, we had lost one of the riders willing to go to the front and see ghosts. I set about recalibrating the night’s goals. Losing a strong rider was a tough blow, as break would be job for four or five strong guys, and I would need to be mindful of Aaron’s competitors for the Dirty Shirt. The best case scenario tactically would be getting into a break without Ron that would stay away and deny James J an opportunity to sprint, because he’s been sprinting really well as of late.
For the rest of the race, I took every opportunity to break the race’s bungee cord. There were annoying two green jersey sprints that had to be accommodated, but as we rolled along, I was able to suss out who was game for an escape. There were about four or five riders who seemed capable and willing, so I kept an eye on any efforts from this group. At about three laps to go, the bungee broke, and we were a group of three at the front. It was: me, Ernie P from RBNY and Keith G from King Kog. We rolled along and tried to get our act together, but this wasn’t working for Keith, so he attacked in the wind before we came to two laps to go.
Luckily, Simon K from GF Capital just happened to jump up to us in the windy section just as Keith took off. We now became three chasing one just ahead of a field chasing us. I was optimistic about our odds at staying away as we hit the bell. We worked together and caught Keith’s YOLO attack in the windy section—because we are mean and spiteful old men. We were four again, but it was just then that Ernie’s inflated tube passed on. Which was bad, because we really could’ve used one more strong pull before the line to ensure we stayed away.
We did not get that extra strong pull, and as we hit the final corner, what was left of the field was upon us. I jumped at the corner to give myself a self lead out, figuring there wouldn’t be any organized lead out from the field; and as James whizzed past, I jumped again to try and soak up whatever points I could. I ended up 7th, Simon was 5th, with Keith finishing out of the top ten. Ernie was a DNF. James is now in the Dirty Shirt, and the rest of us will need to wait for the wind to show up again.