Monday, March 28, 2011
Race Report: Walton Harley Park XO Criticommunications
The setting for Charlottesville Racing Club's Walton Park Criterium was Mineral, VA, an old mining town, or that's how it felt to me, since I felt like I was riding through a tunnel and the black lung was bringing me down.
I was dropped after about 10-15 laps in the 1/2/3, so you'll forgive my inability to not be a whiny tart.
I'd ridden down with Larue, Ringer, Alex, and Alex's Boston terrier, a quiet little wonderdog with a belly full of gas and no qualms about letting 'er rip. Germans in no mans land at least had masks.
A course that had seemed on Google Earth to be flat turned out to have a few significant bumps.
The 5s shattered almost instantly.
The 4 race kicked off, and I watched Darion Fleming kick off the front and stay off the front. The pack behind him thinned. Monika, who'd been second in the women's race, dropped off the pace, so I knew it was hard. Read a good report here
The 1/2/3 started blazing fast. Thankfully, I clipped in well and passed several people. I'd heard Harley discussing strategy before the race, and the phrase "attack from the gun." When I'd told him to take it easy on us, Keck Baker gave me an aw, shucks, "you haven't seen me in crits," response.
Keck and Switters attacked hard, eventually forming a break of three with Kelly's Jacob Tremblay. I'm not sure how this went down. Three laps in, I was about tenth wheel, in good position, but I'm not sure on the details up ahead, since my brain was going "NNNNNNGNGNNGNGNNG!"
I closed a gap, then another, then a Whole Foods rider went down ahead of me. Chuck Hutch let a huge gap open in front of him around the bottom corner, and chasing back put me over the edge. I could see the leading break already hitting the next corner into the uphill climb.
Jeremy Edwards hung on, but the rest of us Haymarket fellows blew out the back more purposefully than a Save the Children "text POOP to 20222" fundraiser to treat children with diarrhea. (Actually, you should text a little POOP their way--it's a serious illness and Save the Children is a good organization). There were about 15 out of 50 starters left in the end.
Once I was nicely spectating, I saw the three circling: Keck, Switters and Tremblay. First Keck attacked. Switters sat on as Tremblay tried to bring him back. Then Switters attacked. Tremblay dropped.
Then Harley's Mayson tried to bridge up to Tremblay. Jesus. Have you no decency, Harley? We know you build the loudest damn motorbikes in the world, but do you have to attack, en masse, like that?
And then here comes Joe D., towing several boys, as always. He puts in some serious pulls, and then I'm gone, off warming up for the 30+.
Imagine our joy when five Harley guys line up for this race. The pace was more manageable, however, and nothing got away too early. Then a break did get away, with Sean Barrie of Harley in it. Pete Warner of Bike Doctor, Grayson Church of DVR, and Kimani of Coppi put in some serious attempts to get to it, form a chase group, close the distance, but the only thing that happened was another Harley pocket escaped, this one containing Jared. The guy who owns the shop that sponsors my team.
A Whole Foods guy in gleaming white, a guy who'd been at the back the whole race, goes flying past in the finishing stretch and apparently stole Jarod's spot at the line.
I take my hat off to Harley, but I damn them at the same time. The guys were dominant, and right now we don't have an answer.
Also hats off to CRC, which put on a great race with wonderful atmosphere, and in a great little village that will go down in my memory as a bad, bad place.