As I mentioned yesterday, I rode out to the Sterling Classic Road Race yesterday. It took me an hour to get there which is a little longer than expected and I should have planned better but either way I was running late and had to do a semi TT the last half hour to make it to registration in time.
When I got there the race was just about to line up and registration was closed. My friend Avi and his girl friend were doing registration and pulled a couple strings to get me in. I got to the start at the back of the 100 racer Masters field with a minute or two to spare before they rolled off.
I was completely warmed up and felt really good about the 48 miles ahead. The race stayed together for the first 18 miles until a group of four or five separated off the front. They were only about 15 seconds up but I could see they were gaining time and more importantly had all of the potent teams represented in it.
This was on the highway section of the course; two lane same direct-no oncoming traffic. I figured this was as good a spot as any to bridge across. I was 12 guys from the point, saw a seam open on the left and I jumped through it. I veered further to the left to avoid bringing anyone else with me and got clear of the pack. After a few more strokes I backed off full gas and settled into 90% effort because I could see I was gaining on the breakaway pretty quickly. I reached them comfortably in about 40 seconds but just as I was a few feet from connecting the official pulled up to me on his motorcycle, honked his horn and yelled "you're out of the race". I was genuinely shocked and actually thought he was talking to someone else. I asked him, "me?" "Yes, your done" he said. I asked him why. He said I ignored the pre-race instructions that riders violating the yellow center line "and" passing left of highway's dividing lane line would be dq'd. I'm aware of the yellow line rule because every road race open to oncoming traffic has it. So even though I wasn't at the starting line in time to hear these instructions I instinctively knew not to cross the yellow line. However I wasn't aware of yesterday's highway rule.
Anyway, I asked him if he would relegate me to the back of the field rather than a dq because I saw him give that to a guy crossing the yellow line earlier in the race. He stuck to his decision though and while I was a little confused over the double standard I respected his decision as rules are rules and because I figured I could still register for the Pro1-2 which started 2 hours later. In retrospect I became more disappointed because the group I caught stayed away and won the race a few minutes up on the field. So...'not for nothing', I made to right decision going across and would have been in a strong position for a high result.
The Pro1-2 race looked to be very tough. I spoke with Jesse Anthony as he was registering, saw Tim Johnson's name on the starting list along with all New England's best roadies including eventual race winner Tim Mitchell....so it was going to be a very rugged 80 miles. I almost bagged doing it as I had already ridden pretty hard to get to the race, put in a hard 18 miles in the masters and still had to ride home but I figured I needed to volume and signed up. My rebuilt hip also tightened up just hanging around. I stretched it and stuff but it felt like junk right from the start. The pace was fast right off the bat. We were going 30mph in the 2 mile neutral section before the race started and I had doubts right there. The race started and within a couple miles I knew I wasn't going to be able to sustain the pace but hung in there as best I could for another 10 miles before calling it quits.
The 'interesting' thing was that when the Pro1-2 field got the the same section of highway where I was dq'd earlier; half of them were crossing that same dividing line and not a single rider was pulled ? Yes, they were way over it and in doing so many were also 'advancing their position.' Go figure?
I was pleased with the day though. I rode well over 100 miles yesterday and I really need the volume right now and I also got to watch most of the Pro1-2 from the feed zone and soak up some serious sun/rays. If you can't tone it, tan it! Peace and roll strong.