Oh hey there, Internet readers. It's Ryan. From NorEast!
You know...from before?
We know we were slacking on the blogging. We apologize. We hope for better blogging in the future. Moving on...
Today was the start of bike racing action in New England, with the typical season kick-off race in Marblhead, Mass. The temperature could be described as...unfavorable to the reproductive organs of men. However, that's how things roll.
In the 1/2/3 race, NorEast had returning riders Josh Austin, myself and Mr. Drew "I just bought a house so my life is insanely complicated" Szeliga. We were also joined by Clint "I'm from South Africa so I think I might freeze to death" Borrill. Clint is a very large man, and at an Exeter ride his nose was bleeding. It was awesome. Plus his accent is great, and I get to talk to him about how wonderful America is.
After the morning Hey-everyone/God-it's-cold/what's-gonna-happen-today conversations, all 125 racers lined up. Josh Austin manage to not throw a piece of clothing over the face of one of the most respected cyclists in America and our inappropriate comment-making was at a low. It's early in the season, and we really haven't hit our stride yet. We apologize.
Prior to the race start, Josh Austin loudly mentioned to Jon Bernard (of CCB fame) that he should attack from the gun.
Then the race started, and Jon Bernard attacked. GO FIGURE. Josh Austin must have some low-level hypnotic ability in his lovely grating voice.
Marblehead is an interesting race for a variety of reasons. The most obvious one is that it's the first race of the season, so NO ONE has any idea how their legs feel. Some people might have an idea - because they went south to race/train - but that isn't really an exact indicator of how you'll do back home. This year was especially interesting, as there was no Master's field. So the 1/2/3 race was chock-full of experienced dudes with mad watts who we usually don't race against (read: One billion McCormack Brothers).
So, the race played out somewhat calmly, with the occasional group moving up the road, and then being brought back. So on and so forth. I tried to put my nose in the wind a little bit more than usual, because I wanted to see where I was standing, fitness wise. I had some fun pulling at the front (for no real reason), and then spent some needed time hanging out in the field. Josh also got in the wind quite a bit as well, and it was good to see a NorEast kit at the front of the group lifting the pace.
We both tried to get in moves, but a combination of wind, us not yet having installed our turbo system yet and the activity of the field made those attempts pointless.
At some point, Justin Lindine (BikeReg/Cannondale) got up the road with Cameron Cogburn (CCB), and they started riding REALLY HARD and opened up quite a gap.
After some activity, I found myself in a chase group with five or six guys, and we rode together for four laps or so - without really cutting down the time gap to Lindine and Cogburn, and without opening a serious gap over the field. Had our luck continued (aka had the field continued to be complacent), we probably would have stayed where we were. I would have probably finished last in the group sprint (note aforementioned lack of turbo booster), but I would have been happy with that.
Alas, it was not to be. Around two laps to go, we saw the field billowing behind us, and our time off the front was up. I tried to stay towards the front of the accelerating group in hopes of not totally exploding and rocketing out the back.
Coming up the Marbleberg with two to go, Robbie King ROCKETED past the field, and immediately opened a significant gap. No one was able to chase him down, but the pace certainly lifted. There was some shuffling through the field, some sharp elbows, and Robbie eventually joined us again.
In the final corner, my legs were not terribly happy with the pace that was expected of them. I saw Austin fly by me, move up the group and stay in the mix.
Coming through the finish, he ended up placing in the top 20.
Not a bad first race - no spectacular finishes, but we all have some idea of where our legs are.
This week, the Exeter rides start - and I am looking forward to THAT quite a bit.
Further results as they are posted on the interweb.