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Race Report: Long Beach Circuit Race (ToC Warm Up Act)

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Race Report: Long Beach Circuit Race (ToC Warm Up Act)

Old 03-03-07, 10:04 PM
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Race Report: Long Beach Circuit Race (ToC Warm Up Act)


Been on the road since Sunday night and now that I'm back home I thought I'd share some of the "excitement" of this race since I didn't see any other posts on it.

I rode the Cat. 3 race instead of the 30+ 1/2/3 race and, briefly, it was a zoo. 125 Cat. 3 racers kept spreading themselves across the road since no one was interested in taking control of the race. I saw numerous bumping and tire rubbing incidents throughout the race. I was surprised that there was only one crash (more on that later).

The course covered part of the same course that the pros rode later in the day. Their circuit was 7.75 miles, ours was 3 miles. We started two minutes after the Pro/1/2 race and I fully expected that we would be lapped before the end of our 1 hour race. There was a fairly good-sized crowd at the start-finish line cheering us on at the start and that got the pack excited for the first half lap. After that the pace was very erratic. I saw 22 MPH at some slow moments and my computer showed 34 MPH as the max. Note that I did not sprint. The average was right at 26 MPH.

There were 4-5 teams with at least 6 riders but none of them wanted to take control of the race so grouppo compacto stayed very compact.

Since I was a team of one, I went off the front a couple of times just to see how it felt and to be able to say I did it. (There, I said it.) Each time I was with a few riders or a few went with me but really to no avail. At least it was better than sitting in for the entire race.

The Pro/1/2 field got pretty close to us going into our bell lap but after we came out of the hairpin I heard the announcer going nuts talking about a crash at the start-finish during the sprint for a prime. I guess that took the wind out of their sails just enough so that they didn't catch us. I'm glad because it probably would have been bedlam even with all of the motorcycle escorts.

So the last lap ended up as I suspected. Most everyone was trying to be in the top ten heading into the last 200 meters. I stayed on one side of the pack hoping to catch a someone taking a flyer but nothing was happening. Going into the last half mile my spider sense started tingling and I decided to hang off the pack of the pack by a few bike lengths. The inevitable crash occurred a short distance later and I was able to ride around the fallen (actually it wasn't as bad or as big as I feared) and cruise across the finish line unscathed.

I then heard through the PA system that the actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar won the race. He rides for a local team and trains regularly at the local velodrome.

In the final analysis I guess I should have ridden the Masters 30+ 1/2/3 race. I heard from a friend that it was a more consistent race. I was worried that a bunch of ex-pros, such as Thurlow Rogers, would amp up the pace to being a hang on for dear life race. I was wrong.

After my race I was a course marshal (with my wife) near the ferris wheel for the final ToC stage. After that ended I rushed home, showered, ate, drove (flew?) up to LAX to catch a 9:30p red eye to Florida. Was there all week for a conference. Got home Friday night and rode Saturday morning after being off the bike all week. Next race is next weekend.
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