The deal that I make with my imaginary editor here at NYVC is that I do a write up for every race I participate in, and I tend to take this made up contract very seriously because I trend towards the obsessive. So in order to be able to move forward and write about last night's race at FBF I need to describe the previous two races I have participated in.
CRCA Masters Throwdown, August 18
I spent the morning with a pack of moist, older men. Dave T and Greg O really really wanted to not be associated with myself and my moist brethren, and attacked the race about 400 times. Eventually we granted their wishes and they went away with another poor bastard. Dave T won.
FBF August 21
No wind plus big pack plus the race for the overall means a sprint finish where I finish 12th-ish. I was trying to get away with Rob B in this race, as he was the only GC contender who needed to break away. This trying to get away led to nothing, and I was a tired person trying to sprint.
FBF August 28
To me the last race at FBF signals the end of summer. In the time that we have been racing at FBF this year, both the Giro and Tour have come and gone, and the Vuelta has finished its first week. By my calculations that means that the FBF series is 2 and 1/3 grand tours long, and this season it has really felt like it.
There was an unusual wind blowing last night—a headwind into the finish—and while a wind from that direction isn't necessarily a classic FBF crosswind, it had possibilities. Rob B and Johan B were separated by one point in the battle for the overall title, so they would be marking each other all night, and being a greedy and conniving racer, I decided to use that fact to my advantage. Whereas last week, I was trying to get away with Rob, this week, I knew his presence would be the death knell of any break attempt.
With these facts in mind, we shoved off and started racing. I am an impatient person, and I knew that with such a big pack, the race would need to take some hits before it had a chance at breaking up. So I jumped a few times to try and break things up, because, you know, it needed to be done. These jumps did not succeed in breaking up anything, and with three to go, we were all together.
Then I did a dumb thing.
I knew that Axis had three guys in the race, and I also knew that two of those guys (Danny and Paul) had been involved in moves (with Danny winning in this manner a few weeks before) near the end of the race. But despite knowing these facts I decided to jump on the acceleration of Keith R, which was the set up move for Danny and Paul. Keith jumped, I followed, we slowed, and I watched and swore as Danny and Paul countered. They got a gap and I was amazed that I could be so stupid.
Shortly thereafter, hope came in the form of Leszek S in his new Flying Aces kit. Danny, Paul, Stefan S of NYVC and Marc C of Wonder Wheels were all ahead of us on the road. Leszek jumped to bridge, and I followed. We (well, mostly he, I was still gassed from falling for the set up attack) worked and eventually bridged after about a half lap. When we made it to the front it was myself, Marc, Stefan, Paul and Leszek. Danny had broken a spoke and had to drop out of the race. The five of us, realizing that there was no turning back, set about trying to murder ourselves by pedaling.
If you look at the Strava data, the fastest lap of our breakaway was the first one. This is when we established out gap. The second lap of our break was slightly slower, as we maintained our gap, and the third and final lap of the race was when we decided who would win.
Going into the last lap, I knew that Leszek was the fastest sprinter amongst us, and I also knew that he would be shutting down late moves in order to be able to use that sprint. Paul jumped just before turn two, and Leszek covered, which showed me that Leszek was riding strong, and that my hypothesis was right. We regrouped between turns two and three, and I put myself in the rotation behind Leszek. At turn three, Stefan jumped and had a small gap, he was dragged back, and I thought that he had shot the one bullet in his musket. We regrouped again, and I found my way to Leszek's backside as we rolled between turn three and four. Then Stefan craftily jumped again, Leszek got up to close, hit a hole and cursed as the air left his rear tire. While my tired mind was buffering as I was downloaded a new plan, Stefan was immolating himself with effort on the front. I was left to try and close the gap. As we hit the last turn I got up to jump, Marc came around me and left me for dead. I wobbled my way to the line and was passed by Paul for third. I finished fourth and Leszek rode in on a flat rear tire for fifth, which gave him third in the overall standings.
I congratulated Stefan afterwards on a well deserved win. I collected my fourth place winnings, and turned them into a beer and a burrito in celebration of the end of another summer.