schmalz july 2010 part 2

Pick the odd one out

Normally, whenever I compete in a race, I will write up a report in a timely fashion, but if I am to be honest; I’ve grown a little sick of both bike racing and my participation therein. I’ve been competing for the "GC" at the FBF Tuesday night series (I’m currently third overall in the 3/4ths series), and I have been doing those races week in and week out—to the point where they have become the focus of my season. This is, of course, sad on very many levels, as it’s a training series held on a weed-filled patch of forgotten airstrip and only witnessed by close friends, reluctant relatives and swarms of bloodthirsty mosquitoes. Victory there should not mean much to me, but I am an obsessed bike racing nutcase, and since there’s a piece of clothing (a yellow jersey no less) and potentially a trophy—I must let thoughts of winning the series consume my idle moments. But I am getting ahead of myself, I participated in other races this past week, and they deserve to be remarked upon also.

CRCA Power Points A race
Since I’m writing the report on this race a week late, my recollections are fading. I can only remember the highlights, which are: excessive sweating due to freakishly warm 6 am temperatures, vicious uphill lead outs from AXA Equitable and being present at the start of the winning break with Mike Margarite, Jeff Ingraham and Greg Olsen—and feeling like the banana in an apple-filled "One of These Things is Not Like the Others" segment on Sesame Street. My banana ass slipped back to the pack where it belonged, and I spent the rest of the race chasing at the front with my teammates. I will tell you from first hand experience that chasing Mike Margarite isn’t pleasant, I can only imagine what his other pursuers feel like—I imagine that his pursuers are those that want to be as fast as him (as he is fast) and those that feel compelled to feed him (as he weighs less than most first graders in Ohio).
Nourishing speedy waifs aside, we chased for a revoltingly long time, and did not catch Mr. Margarite or Mr. Ingraham, there was a sprint behind and we may have placed teammate Marcus in the top five, as I said, it’s been a week since the race.

FBF 3/4ths race 7/27/2010
My Tuesdays are now filled with anticipation towards the moment when the evening’s race begins. Yes, it has gotten that bad. Tuesday night there was a strong wind blowing from the South West. A fact interesting only to kite flyers and those who need to winnow down the pack on a Tuesday night so they can attempt to prance to mosquito-observed victory. I was excited at the prospect of a windy race, as it makes for tough going for everyone in the race, and if there’s one thing that I can stomach, it’s agony—I’ve heard every Bob Seger album from the eighties.
We rolled off and I realized that it was going to take a series of attacks to soften things up enough for a break to get away. I am teammate-less on Tuesdays so I had to take up some of this softening-up work myself. I attacked when I felt it was necessary, and finally after the last green jersey sprint, I went to the front in the cross wind to string things out again. A lap later Paul Carbonara attacked in the cross wind, I jumped on his move like a Jersey Shore cast member jumping on a free lemon drop shot, and we were free at last.
We were joined later by about 7 others, including Marco Quezada, Chris Castadli and Marc Cesare—both from Wonder Wheels. We were a disorganized bunch, with Marc doing a lot of the pacemaking for Chris, and some of us rolling through while others didn’t roll through so much. Before we came to the bell that signals one lap to go, I felt my front tire losing air and extinguishing my hopes for placing. I had to make a decision. I could potentially ask Marco for a wheel (assuming he would not pull a Gadre on me and refuse to hand over his wheel), but the race was about to end and I would probably not be able to chase back on as the break sped up towards the finish. I was stuck. I thought about pulling over to the side of the road and ending my race right then, but I rolled on and tried to wish more air into my tire. I soon found that I could keep up with the break and not lose control of my bike (I was riding a tubular wheel, this is not something I would try with a clincher), but there was no way I was going to try and sprint and potentially send many of us to the sandpapery surface of FBF. My only hope was to hang in with the break and hope that a few riders got dropped or that five of the riders in the break became disoriented and rode into the bay. Unfortunately none of these things happened. I rolled in behind the break in seventh place with a tire emptied of its contents and a stomach full of anger—to borrow a phrase.

CRCA A Race 7/31/2010
Before a race, I like to do an inventory of the people who will be joining me in the day’s effort. It allows me to predict how fast the race will be and also gives me a chance to figure out who to avoid (hello, Mr. Shen) after the race. Upon doing my inventory on Saturday morning, I deduced that we in the A field were in for a speedy race, as AXA Equitable and Foundation had brought big squads. Fast races tend to finish in field sprints, as it’s hard to attack a race that’s averaging 27 miles per hour already. We don’t have a field sprinter on BH that can compete with the top guys in the city, so our plan is to attack and get into moves, as sitting in diminishes our chances for victory.
The race rolled off and, true to form, it was a speedy affair. About mid-race, teammate Chris got into a move that seemed promising, with John Loehner from AXA, a couple of Foundation riders and Greg Olsen, but the group gelled like a bacon margarita, and they were collected by the race.
Loehner attacked again and brought Olsen with him once more, along with another Foundation rider. They got 30 seconds on the field and held it for about three laps. We were once again (along with Axis) in the unenviable position of chasing down an AXA rider, yet chase we did. This, of course wasn’t the best position for us to be in, as it played right into the strategy of the teams with sprinters, but since we weren’t in the break and couldn’t get anyone across, what choice did we have?
We did eventually bring back the break just before the finish and Ricky Lowe won the race in a field sprint, a seemingly inevitable ending (Ricky is especially fast this year), but one that didn’t follow a strict formula.
The head song for the morning was "Run It" by the Replacements, a song that doesn’t exist in video form on the internet. In its place, I’ve found a live version of "Bastards of Young" by Against Me.



A Race

He would have easily won outsprinted Loehner and Olsen, but thought it would be a better idea to challenge the field.

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