Thursday, May 28, 2009
Even though I don’t consider myself a roadie, I do really look forward to Memorial Day weekend and all of the road racing that comes along with it. Even though Snake Alley is a secondary race for me, I still really look forward to the entire event. Being a spectator is almost as much as it is being a participant. My goals for the Snake this year were pretty simple, equal or exceed my results from last year…1st in the 40+ category and 2nd or better in the 30+ category.
Julie and I packed up our gear the night before because we had to leave by around 6 the next morning to give her enough time to do the women’s Cat 4 race. We arrived in Burlington with about 90 minutes to spare to get her registered, warmed up and ready to roll for her first foray into road racing. There were around 30 women in the Cat 4 field and she ended up 17th in the end. I didn’t get to spend as much time watching her race as I would have liked because my first race was immediately after hers. However while warming my old legs up, I poked in every once in a while to see how things were going. She rolled up the Snake like a veteran and looked like she was having a great time despite the pained expressions on her face as she approached the top of the Snake.
Julie feeling the love of the Snake.
Julie, Dee Mable and Emily Schaapveld given each other a beat down.
The usual suspects in the 40+ race were all present and accounted for, Tater Tot, Dominic, all of the ICCC posse, Tom Price and a few others that escape me. Despite registering that morning, I was still able to snag a front row start position and conjured up the determination to get a good start. The starters whistle blew and we were off!
We hit the bottom of the Snake and I was sitting probably 5th wheel. For the first half of the race I was sitting somewhere among the top ten and as the race progressed, the lead group became smaller and smaller. After the mid point, I took a few turns leading the way up the Snake with a little more effort to test the legs of the competition until it got to the point where it was just myself and Jeff Barnes of ICCC. Last year I kinda remember opening a gap with around 4 or 5 laps left and I ended up soloing in for the win. Not the case this year…
Jeff leading the way early on the 40+ race with me lookin’ around. I’m probably checking Julie out…she’s got a real purdy mouth.
Me trying to remove Jeff from me wheel.
Jeff appeared reluctant to take the lead and appeared to be waiting for me to make a move. I was also reluctant to take the lead and was kind of waiting to see what he would do over last three or four laps. On the penultimate lap, I threw down an acceleration going up the Snake with the hope of getting away. As I hit the top, I took a look back and had a small gap. I was pretty gassed and tried to keep the pressure on while flying down the descent. Jeff was still pretty close as we hit the flats, so I backed it off a little to recharge the legs for the last flight up the Snake. We hit bottom of the Snake for the last time and I hit it a little harder this time and was able to open up a larger gap. I turned the screws a little tighter on the descent and was able to make the gap stick this time. As I approached the finish line, I knew the ‘W’ was mine. I sat up, zipped up my jersey to give Rassy’s a little love and thrust my index finger towards the sky to give God a little love as well. It was a hard earned victory no thanks to Jeff for pushing me close to my limit. I never got a chance to talk to him afterwards, he rode a strong race and made it a little more fun than last year. Dominic Moraniec also rode a great race and brought home 3rd.
There I go, lookin’ angry again.
One lap to go and I’m waiting to see if Jeff is going to go Dewey Dickey on me up the Snake.
Bringing home 40+ win number 2.
I had a couple of hours to kill before the 30+ race, so I kept the chamiox on and spun my legs and shot the breeze with some of my bro’s until the start. As I lined up for the start of the 30+ race, I noticed the quality of the field was as expected with Dewey Dickey, Sean Walker, Lee V, Tater, Deninger, Olney and Cody among others. My strategy for this race was to keep my good eye on Dewey as he was the heavy favorite to win. He won the 30+ and the P/1/2 race last year and the guy can climb like ‘Il Pirata’.
I started at the back of the group and remained there over the first couple of laps. After about three laps of whiplash at the back of the group and several tongue lashings from JJ and tPod watching on the Snake, it was time to reposition myself near the front. I managed to work my way to the sharp end of the field within one lap and took a few half-hearted pulls expending as little energy as possible in anticipation of the Dewey’s inevitable attack. As the race progressed, we managed to whittle the lead group down to 5 cats, myself, Dewey, Cody McCullough, Sean Walker and Jacques Cartier. I was reluctant to let the pace slow too much because I didn’t want to give anybody that got dropped a chance to catch back up.
Bringin’ up the rear end of the 30+ field.
Testing the legs of Sean Walker, Dewey, Jacque Cartier and Paul Deninger.
On the penultimate lap, the inevitable happened. Dewey unleashed an attack as we approached the Snake. I was in the lead at the time and was able to respond. As we approached the top, he had opened up a gap on me. I took a look back and noticed that Dewey’s attack had pretty much shattered what was left of the front end of the group. I kept the effort near my max in an attempt to bring Dewey back while maintaining the gap between myself and 3rd place. I was able to close the gap a little bit on the descent and the flats, however on the last lap, Dewey re-asserted himself on the Snake and put me deeper into the hurt locker. I put in another monster effort to close the gap, especially on the flats as we approached the finish. I had pretty much turned myself inside out to catch him and noticed that he had backed off a little as though he had the win locked up. As we approached the finish line, he sat up, zipped up his jersey and took a look back only to realize that if he continued his celebration I would pass him before the finish. He quickly went back into race mode and put in enough effort to cross the line a few seconds before I did.
So, in the end my goals were met, though I sure would have liked to taken down Dewey. We’ve had a number of close finishes over the past couple of years and he’s taken me down on all of them. Despite that, I’ve enjoyed every one of them. It’s tough to beat the adrenaline rush that one can experience from close competition, or what appears to be close competition!
Next up is the next Psycowpath race in Council-tucky this Saturday, followed by the next IMBCS race at Banner Pits, just north of Indianola on Sunday. If r@!n happens to spoil things locally, then I’ll most likely head north and do the next MNSCS race at Afton, one of my all time favorite courses.
Thanks for reading,