Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's here Marblehead

April 1 is fast approaching and for New England roadies this date represents the first  meaningful road race of the season.  It's noted on the calender as the Michael Schott Memorial Circuit Race but to guys in the saddles of NE it's known simply as 'Marblehead.'  

Marblehead is a Harbor town about 15 miles north of Boston and renowned as the Yachting Capital of America and also is the birthplace of the Navy.  The course itself is located on Marblehead Neck.  'The neck' is a self contained enclave of uber estates sandwiched between the Atlantic and Marblehead Harbor; Majestic, would not be an overstatement.  
 The neck

I like this race but more for it's esthetic than it's pedigree. The finish crests over a pretty sharp hill that doesn't suit me well or excite me so I don't get too Rammie for it.  That having been said, I love the kinetics and energy of this race. The scenery is cool and the course is very physical and extremely technical for a circuit race.   So while my result aspirations are just moderate, everyone clips in the same way at the start, so it's game on for few hours just like a target race and therefore requires respect and vigilance.

Marblehead can be blazing fast but is always dangerous. The field fills with 110 prepared guys slicing and dicing their way around a real curvy 2.2 mile circuit.  The race dynamic is kinda like a scramble.  There is nothing smooth about it.  Getting in position for a good line requires attention as does shielding yourself from a robust Atlantic cross wind.
(Segway...this song is a Harbor bring back for me )

These factors can be extra ordinary hazards.  Especially because the race comes at the earliest point in the season when skills are not as honed as they will be in a few more weeks.  So you have to be extra aware. Guys get out of position very quickly here and will make this up by diving into slots from the outside and chop riders off behind them.  Everyone has done this but it's not because they're a jerk.  The course almost demands it but it still makes for edging racing and people are much better off if they keep their composure.  I know several vet racers that refuse to race Marblehead for these reasons.  But my feeling is that if you go into it with this understanding you will enjoy the race, get the most out it and probably get a better result too.

Peace and roll strong.

No comments:

Post a Comment