Monday, March 12, 2012

ParisWells Ave

This weekend was the seasons first race weekend in the Boston area.  I passed on racing Saturday down in Plymouth, MA, choosing rather to ride locally with some friends in Concord.  On my way over  there I saw these two horses on hind legs kicking the tar out of each other like boxers.  I've never seen anything like that in person so I pulled over to get picture but they stopped just as I lifted my droid. You can see a hoof marks on the painted's neck. The black one bit onto my sleeve (when I looked away).  I had to land a short hay-maker on his snout to get loose.

Anyway, I got to the ride and thought about these horses as I watched the feisty body language of some of the the riders as we rolled out. Within a few miles there was some definite passive aggression flying around, mostly in the pulls that were too hard and race(y) the gutter stuff and this set a tone that just swelled to a full on race mode over the next couple of hours.  By the end it was a Japanese Keirin.  Not exactly what I was looking for? but that's how the group rides go once in a while.  Like the horses, I think we were just feeling some spring fever. 

Sunday was the Wells Ave race in Newton, MA.  Wells is as hard or as easy as you want to make it and that's what makes it such a popular deal.  That having been said, it's really hard to win at Wells because everyone knows all of it's nuances.  Many really good racer's current pro's included, have never won Wells.  That isn't to say winning Wells is their goal, per say, but they've raced it a bunch and never won it.  I'm not sure what that says exactly, but it says something?  Wells is especially competitive this time of year and most especially this particular year.  Our super mild winter has allowed everyone to train a bunch; much more than usual, and has produced a regional pool of guys that are race fast in March.

The weather yesterday was pretty nice. A little windy and about 45-50 degrees.  A lot of guys were there, maybe 80 in the A race.  The A race is mostly cat 1-2. The Pro's are off racing their scheduled stuff but many of the better regional amateurs were there.  I knew it was going to be a heated affair.  I warmed up laps with my bud Jon Lowenstein & Mark McCormack his Team Clifbar team-mate. Jon has been doing Wells since high school, some 20 years ago and commented, 'this is going to be a fast one'.  Mark knows a thing or two about racing too and said 'this is exciting, you can sense everyone's enthusiasm'. That's gentleman speak for 'people are amped & its going be a fckn throw down' ...and it was.  There was a lot of animated racing but it came down to a field sprint.  A fit Frankie McCormack lead it out.  Brother Mark won, I was second, Matt Cressy, riding for a new team Velocite Cycling was third, Patrick Goguen, Team CF forth and I think fifth went to Peter Bell MetLife Cycling?

After the race I headed to Panara Bread for some coffee with a couple friends, Team Embrocation riders Josh Gunn and Colin Murphy.  Colin is a good sprinter.  I think he got squeezed out in the final 350 meters but still got top 7.  It was good to hang with these guys afterwards and swop stories.  The ritual cafe thing has becomes more enjoyable to me year to year.  I suspect that in a few more years, it may be all that I will do in the racing scene.  Josh is a big dude and strong racer.  He trains and races with a power meter.  He said he was pushing 550 watts to move up the side of the pack just to get to the front of the race. That's a lot of effort.  I heard some other guy sort of boast a little bit that the race was super easy because he averaged just 180 watts sitting in, which, given his smaller stature, the dynamic's of Wells generally and the wind-cover of 80 guys around him is about right too.

Peace & roll strong