with last week's dominators out of competition this week (mike and jay claim to have jobs, but i think that their hematocrits were too high and the "jobs" were an excuse to avoid being tested), the field was wide open... until alessandro sent out an email saying he would be riding with us.
dave kim, dave allara, alessandro, chris redmond, and i met at brower (which is surprisingly nostalgic after a long summer), then headed into bound brook to meet mike bogdan, one of the new guys. within a mile or so, we were at rt 22, about to start going, well, up. this is where the controversy began.
hill #1; washington rd:
during the easy slope at the bottom, dave kim and chris sat at the front, having a chat. neither of them had ever been up washington rd before. we hit the first steep bit, and needless to say, the conversation stopped. i glanced back and noticed that a gap had opened.
the three of us continued up for a while, with dave sitting at the front. i glanced back at the stop sign, about 1/3 of the way up, and saw that the gap was pretty big. this gave me an inexplicable nervous feeling.
by the time we got to the switchback, the reality of the situation finally got through to my hypoxic brain... alessandro doesn't just get dropped like that. i moved to the front and started hammering, knowing what was coming. as i approached the 2nd switchback, alessandro was hot on my heels, having closed a 20+ second gap in about half a mile. i just barely held him off at the top.
hill #2; mt. horeb rd:
i hit this climb on the front and started pushing immediately. this climb starts off really steep and becomes moderate by the top, so i wanted to open a gap as quickly as possible. before the end of the steep section, alessandro came chugging by.
i dug deep and tried to minimize the gap, and was only about 10 yds behind as we approached the summit. alessandro sat up and coasted to the top, giving me the chance to turn myself inside out, close the gap, and do a sloppy, half-hearted bike throw. i meant it as a joke, but by god, i pipped him!
flats; mt. horeb rd:
the plan, concocted en route to bound brook, was to have alessandro attack on the flat part of mt. horeb road, so that the rest of us could form a pace line and try to pull him back. he was being a nice guy, though, sitting at the back and chatting with mike. before i knew it, i had attacked!
okay, attacked is a slight exaggeration. let's just say that i got out of the saddle, accelerated slightly, and said to chris "dude, give me a gap before you start chasing, i can't get one on my own". i managed to hold off the pack for about a minute before they chased me down mercilessly... all of the work here was done by chris and dave kim.
about a minute later, alessandro attacked. we immediately lined out and started taking 10 second pulls. suffice it to say that our line got shattered. we only caught alessandro when we regrouped at an intersection.
hill #3; morning glory:
once again, dave kim and chris showed their mettle, moving to the front and setting a wicked pace. perhaps sensing weakness, chris opened a little gap over the rest of us. having seen over the past few rides just how fit chris is, i couldn't risk letting him solo away, so alessandro and i closed the gap and sat in.
with morning glory being relatively shallow, drafting played a huge role. when chris' pace slowed a bit, i could've attacked, but i realized that alessandro could easily have latched on. the only choice i had was to wait for alessandro's inevitable move and hang on for dear life.
but the move never came! i waited, and waited, and waited, and finally lost patience towards the summit. i probably should've waited another few hundred meters, but i made my move, looked back, and saw that alessandro was spinning behind me rather comfortably. bad news for don...
and yet he never attacked! for the third time, i reached the peak in first wheel. later, on the way back, i asked him why he hadn't come around me. alessandro replied, in his customary matter-of-fact way, "it's less work to draft"
so here is the controversy, my friends. there is no doubt that alessandro was the strongest on the day. also, dave kim and chris did the vast majority of the work in the wind. but damnit, i reached the KOM "lines" first, on all 3 hills!
what say you? who gets the KOM jersey? who gets the "most aggressive rider" award? can there be a sprint jersey for a hill ride? where's rosener?
please post a comment... this is clearly a matter of life and death!!!