Hartford Crit Masters Race Report, Good News and Bad - 5-27-08
First the bad news, I’m a 50+ guy now, the good news, I took 2nd!
Hartford is a very short, 20 lap/20K,50+ and 25lap/25k 40+, fast, crit around the park next to the state house. A fast sweeping turn into a rising false flat finish is the strategic feature of this course. I was happy to see fellow NEBC’ers Chuck Dopfel and Jerry Jacobs in the 50+ race and Jay Francis in the 40+ race. Weather was warm and beautiful.
The 52 50+ racers started calmly but whipped into a frenzy of attacks of optimists attempting to get away on a short course that couldn’t tax the pack’s resolve. The front of the pack was guarded by the abundant CCB riders, so jumping with a CCB’er seemed reasonable.
I jumped into a break when former NEBC’er and last year’s winner, Mike Pavlov (CCB) chased after an attacker. We got a gap, but at nearly one lap the attacker wouldn’t pull through, spoiling a solid chance to go to the end. We sat up thinking of what could have been.
No attacks gained much of a gap as we quickly ticked off the short laps. Chuck Dopfel raced solidly near the front of the race, but I didn’t have a chance to say hi. The penultimate lap pace quickened as riders jockey’ed to get near the front. I slotted in about 8th for the final sweeper.
Just after the sweeper’s apex, I gave it all, looking for some place to go. Getting boxed, backing off, then jamming it up a line at the curb. Oddly riders were sliding backwards as I failed to squeeze past the winner as we crossed the line.
Second place, oh the glory of it all!! I would like to thank….........
Jerry placed a solid 25th and Chuck was close behind in 29th, nice job guys.
Having success in the first race, I got a number change and on the very back of the 105 man 40+ pack. I worked through the pack to the front, the pack was blazing, 26.8mph average, and the crowded course made passing difficult. I played it safe near the front without doing any unnecessary work and watched attack after attack go and fail. Jay Francis was aggressive at the front chasing attacks and holding good position. The ramping pace with 6 to go meant it was time to get position for the predictable two lap crescendo to the race.
The lap counter called for three laps to go, I worked my tail off for two laps to slot into the top 10 riders for the expected last lap. Happy with my position, no bell sounded and the lap counter called for 2 more laps. I was too tired to hold/regain position for the final lap, Jay Francis finished just ahead of me in the pack, 36th.
Racing is fun, especially when things go your way!