What a total Cluster ****. 4 hours of sleep after a big catered family affair, so I'm not exactly bright eyed and bushy tailed when I roll out of bed @ 4:15AM. I get to Brooklyn, and the usual parking lot is closed. F me. As they say in Alcohol & Drug Recovery, the monkey is off my back but the circus in still in town, and it was today, occupying the usual Prospect Park parking lot. Oooofaaaa. I do a couple of laps of the area and find a spot right in the park on the park road exit ramp. I barely have enough time to register, take the 35+ (or in my case 50+) pre-race crap and line up for the whistle. 'Pre-race jitters?' You must be joking. Today it got easier after the whistle sounded and I could just race my stupid bike. That was a relief compared to the pre-race hassles.
About 30º, much less wind than last week, relatively small field. At first there's a 5 man break up the road with a team mate in it. So I figure all we'll do all day is flick buggers and not chase. Incorrect. On Lap 8 or so they come back into sight, the peloton smells blood in the water. Because of this lap 8 was sufficiently ballistic to put Pcad in a Spot of Bother today, as he strung out near the back, looked down at his speedo on the little rollers after the 'hill' in PP and said to himself 'these aholes are going 29mph here, that's not good'. Oh yes. But it all came together, I was not shelled, and I actually rode right up to the front on the last lap. Two guys (Trevor the Human Lung and another dude) did slip away, but there were places at stake in the Field Sprint. Alas, even though Pcad mustered the snot to get up at and near the front on Lap 12 when the watts really dialed up in the last 400 meters it was back to the cheaper seats for the Meatball of Chester. But I'm getting stronger with each race, feeling better. And it's making the local racer training rides much easier, actually got away with 6-7 guys on the Tour de Fred Saturday (it's mostly racers but the 30-40% Fred turnout is how the ride gets its nickname) and crossed the line 2nd. That doesn't suck.
It's the same every week. I drive down tired, cranky, out of sorts, but once I'm on the line and the racing starts, God help me, I do love it. And I'm not really sure why. But NOTHING makes me as fast on my bike as regular racing. It elevates my riding to some other level. Hey, THAT's why I love it. No results you say? Newsflash: those are results. Stay tuned. Pcad is only getting faster.
P.S. The Prospect Park course is not a 3 mile loop. It's a 3.3+ mile loop. 12 laps = 40.whatever miles according to my highly accurate speedo.
P.P.S. Interesting observation about 40 mile long 30º Spring Races: By mile 35 or so the 'peloton' has shrunken to 35 guys or so from the original 50+. So you think you're reasonably close to the front and you turn around and you're two guys from the back. I really do think that if that was a 20 lap affair I would get top 10 through sheer attrition.
P.P.P.S. Trevor the Human Lung has been riding away from NYC pelotons and breakaways since the early 1990's. I was in a 7 man break with him in a PP Masters's 35+ race back in 1995 or so: Trevor shelled us on the last lap like bad oysters and solo'd in on that little hill. All K. Sloan and I (Kenny was the perennial Vets Spring Series Champ at the time) was look at each other and shake our Road Nazi heads. I wish Trevor would take up golf. He's a British dude from Port Jeff, LI. Nicest guy in the world, but annoyingly aerobic.