I think I decided to do this one last year, when they ran the first edition and everyone said "wow, that was like a cross race!" You can compare pretty much anything to 'cross and get me excited. If someone ever says "jury duty is like a cross race" I'm gonna be so disappointed.
We had a healthy 5-man team from Back Bay in attendance, myself, Kevin, Mike, Harrison and Avi. We were the 3rd largest team behind ECV and Minuteman, so we concluded prerace that "we better do some shit."
The only part of the plan that actually got enacted was the string it out early. We were those guys who get to the start line ten minutes early and staked out the front row, but with 3 turns of 90 degrees or more in the first quarter mile, I think this is a rare case in which it's a good idea.
We rolled out and I got the holeshot thanks to my mountain pedals. Wow, this IS like a cross race! I hit the first three turns, swung off, ECV guy comes through going HARD with three Back Bay riders on his wheel. Oh man we are totally dominating the beginning and almost certainly inconsequential part of this race!
On lap two Avi took over pulled for the entire lap at like 27 because HE WAS ALSO EXCITED. There was a crash in turn 3 (congrats on making it seven turns without a crash, Cat 4 field) which reminded us all why we were at the front. This crash turned out to be decidedly non-humorous with Nick from Threshold getting an ambulance ride for his participation in it. We were neutral for four minutes or so while the ambulance was blocking the course.
So, late start + two laps + neutral stoppage. Can YOU guess how long the race is going to be, after we restart? Hold that thought.
On the restart I was considerably further back in the field and tiptoed around a few corners in traffic, just long enough to decided I needed to get the hell out of there. I wouldn't say it was unsafe, it was just tedious, coasting for 10 seconds before each turn while your personal space got smaller and smaller.
Somewhere along the way a dude who could only be described as a huge piece of man got rolling off the front and proved surprisingly hard to bring back. I tried to bridge to him on a prime lap with no success, although I did just get a check in the mail informing me that it was a two-place prime. So that would be a success, huh? But it didn't feel like it at the time. Huge man kept on truckin' while I was gobbled up by the field.
Two laps later, he is STILL away solo when Matt from Threshold starts chasing hard. It's been three minutes since my horribly failed bridge so I should definitely get involved here. Getting involved ended up meaning "sitting on Matt's wheel for most of the lap, and then yelling 'NO!!' when he flicked his elbow at me."
At least I'm communicating!
So Matt's effort did bring back the monster man, and get him a prime as well, while I went back into the field to recover.
This was pretty much the state of things until I decided I should check the lap cards five minutes later. It's probably seven or eight to go, right?
WRONG. That bell isn't a prime lap, it's the final lap, because the lap cards say "1." And I'm 20th wheel. Didn't I just give Avi a lecture on how positioning would matter more than power in this race??
I would guess that half of the field (including Kevin, heh) didn't even know the race was ending, so that may have helped me move up. I punched it on the first backstretch, passed five or six guys, dive-bombed a Goguen on the turn, (#0326-D I think, but all the clones look the same to me), and suddenly found myself on Mike's wheel with under a k to go.
Greg has proved that riding Mike's wheel to victory is the best way out of Cat 4, so I took the opportunity for some rare team tactics to yell "Mike, drill it!"
Mike seemed hesitant, so I decided to repeat my instructions with an F-bomb added, which spurred my trusty steed into action. It turns out that all Mike had left was 10 seconds, but that was enough to move us up to 6th wheel. He finished his leadout by pulling off into the field and leaving me in the wind, because we really have no idea what we're doing. I fought my way into the draft and got ready to rail the last turn (ftw).
Last time I took a corner in a crit flat-out I ended up on the sidewalk. With that fresh in my mind, my line was considerably softer, and I didn't jump until I'd finished turning. This is not a good way to make four places in 150m, it turns out, so I could only pass two guys in the sprint and took third with an unnecessary bike throw:
But it was still enough to get a Cat 3 upgrade!