Ahh, another night with a slight threat of rain, but this historic weekly event must go on regardless. And the troops come from every direction to take their pain, shock their legs, blow their heart out and feel good afterwards that they gave it a go, again.
How exciting would be if I just wrote the usual suspects showed up, rode around in circles for 50 minutes and called it a night? Okay, not far from the truth, but it is all about those little decisions each person makes during this ride, i mean race, that gives them that thrill of exhilaration and accomplishment, meaning how many folks do they move up on, how many laps do they last, where do they finish, what was their max heartrate, did they take the corners without braking and are their shoulders and wrists relaxed after the ride, did they beat their arch rival, did they do better than last week, did they get yelled at by some elite snob, etc., etc.
Shout out for the guys who put up the cones each week. We use to divide and conquer with volunteers, but not sure who the hero is these days... they deserve "saint" status in the racing community though. There is nothing worse than showing up at Orr Road and see no cones set up. We are such an entitled crowd for what reason I have no idea. Have you ever met a racer that didn't think they were pretty good, if not great and certainly wanted swag for free?
Sometimes it is hard to keep an eye on the race with so many folks out there, who has been lapped, how much distance you give a couple of guys before pulling them back, what moves to go with, at what point on the course you burn that match you have been saving up, etc.
Tonight was no exception. Breaks here and there, but not much sticking. I was in a couple of little moves, but could tell in each that they weren't sticking... either to small, not enough horsepower, a teammate with me (which has stayed away on occasion), not the right teams represented (usually the case), etc. I thought the move of the day was done with The Judge and a pretty substantial group got away and started putting time in on us as I was setting tempo on the front, but several guys saw the same and didn't want it to last so after about 3-4 laps it was pulled back. A few more attacks and nothing doing.
And with about 10 or so to go, The Judge gets away again (who can believe that, right?) with TMiller, Sheehan and DFuller. Some old school horsepower with The Young Buck (TM). Looks solid as long as all are motivated and working together. Seems they were although CVigna, Salsarita's and AMartz were working hard to pull them back. Too many years of experience in that pack.
Not sure how the final flushed out, although I know The Young Buck got away on a little move and won Orr Road - put that on your resume my man and tell USA Cycling to come sanction this baby. I would assume The Judge pulled in second. Sheehan has been doing very well at Orr Road over the last month or so, so no surprise to see him in the mix and reading the move - must have something to do with that secret mountain training. And certainly no surprise to see DFuller up there - crafty veteran and that has a pounce too.
So, we all played our cards for the sprint finish. I knew AMartz was out (young Cat 1 who was taking full lap pulls to bring it back) and probably CVigna (since he was putting in attacks late). Knew my competition was some of the Masters riders (Morgan & Knitche, etc.) Never know when the attack will come with one to go, but it typically is always right before the start/finish with one to go and sure enough there it goes, but it is always too early and short lived. I got to 8th wheel or so and felt pretty good there - just never know who will pop, who will attack and who is on your wheel. I saw some hesitation after the first turn and knew I needed to be to the right in a position to jump on a wheel (never fails). And sure enough DLeatherman jumps. He is pretty strong and hasn't been racing the last few years, so not sure his mojo yet, but I knew enough to find his wheel. I didn't think he would be able to hold it from turn 2 to the finish (there is no way), but figured he was leading one of his Carolina Flyers boys out. They missed his wheel though. I took it thinking he would sit up once he saw me on but he had committed so time to blow it up. It really was the perfect leadout for me, but I figured his guy was on my wheel so when I jumped I dug deep hoping like hell no one could come around. I know Vigna has a lightening 100 meters but I knew he had blown his load already. Digging deep..... Knitche on my wheel.... can he come around.... not this time my man. 5th place on the resume - just kidding.
I enjoy the ride home almost as much visiting with friends, recovering and riding right through Uptown on the way out South. Great time and great weekly event to hang out with the guys and put your body through measurable pain in the process.