Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pinecone RR

As told by HP Hermes cyclist, Mike Jenks:

Today, Hammonton, NJ played host to the 2007 edition of the Pinecone
Circuit Road Race. The Cat 3/4 race was a 48-mile affair full of my
absolutely favorite terrain: flat, flat, flat. Mark, Will C., Will P.
and I met at the Dunkin Donuts in the HP at the wonderfully fresh hour
of 5:15AM (I was late, as usual).

Once at the race, my day began rather inauspiciously as we were
heading out to do a pre-race roll-around (note: this was by no means a
warm-up). As I tried to show off my CX skill in the
field-turned-parking-lot, I fell to the ground--much to the amusement
of my teammates.

The race itself went off pretty slow at first. Two guys decided to
head out at about mile 6, one guy was unattached and one guy was from
the platoon that was Team Beacon. They held a 20 second or so gap for
a long, long time. As it looked like they were to be caught, an attack
went in and I joined a chase group of four or five. The six or seven
of us worked very well together, running the gap up to 30 seconds

At this point, as told by Will C., random guys in the field started
"attacking." I put attacking in quotes because it was more of a
(horrendously ugly and consisting of poor form) sprint that happened
to drag the entire field along. We came back with about 15-20 miles

At that point, I decided to do what I was supposed to be doing all
along: sit in. I plopped myself onto Will C.'s wheel and, for the most
part, never moved from it. Another break of six or seven went up the
road but didn't gain much advantage. On the final circuit (the final 6
miles), a lone attack went that got quite a gap as everyone was
tentative, not wanting to waste their energy for the sprint. Will P.
did some great work at the front, keeping the pace high and the race
safe while we debated whether or not to give a full chase to the
one-man breakaway. The final stretch was long, maybe 3km corner to
corner. At this point, the lone attacker was still up the road and we
started to get mixed up in the argy-bargy. There was an intersection
with a flashing yellow light at about 600m from the line. Mark went
full gas at that point on the right as the field surged on the left.
Will C. followed easily with me tucked behind him. I yelled a wee
early for Will C. to go but he hit out anyways and I marvelled at how,
under the power of Will's massive pistons, we went around people like
they were standing still, including the single breakaway rider. I hit
out for myself, also a wee bit early, with maybe 200-250m left. With
about 75-100m to go, I looked behind and saw a few bodies in the
distance but no one seemed to be closing. I had a good enough gap to
sit up at the line and point at my jersey in recognition of one of the
most phenomenal leadouts I've ever seen, let alone been a part of.

Will C. crossed the line in 9th, earning himself a cool $30 while Mark
and Will P., their legs spent after all the support they gave me,
rolled in with the field.

To add some symmetry and closure to the day, again, I tried to show
off my CX skills in the field-turned-parking-lot, again, I fell over,
again, much to the amusement of my teammates and the various
officials, registration workers and young children who happened to
witness the feat.

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