The morning of our race I was very at ease, likely too much so. By the time I got to Barnesville HS it was 8:35, plenty of time for a 9:30 start. Only everyone seemed 30 minutes more ready than they ought to be. You’d think I would know the start time of our own race..don’t ask. I came close to pulling a Benitiz but at least managed a 10 minute warmup before the whistle blew. I love this race, and no, not because my team puts it on, but I mean it’s genuinely a balls out fun course (Jens Voigt/Mr.T fun, not Chuckie Cheese fun). It’s punchy, usually crash free, and always hotter than a Sudanese sauna. I will note that this year we got a slight reprieve from the weather.
Thankfully we took it relatively easy on the first lap so I managed to get a breather before the action started. I usually don’t pay attention to first lap breakaways so pardon me if I can’t recall who went off the front. By now all the team’s know who to watch so with the exception of the select few watchees, guys are free to fly early on. On lap 2 Sjoberg took a flier and immediately Owen went to the front to bring him back. We even tried to let him dangle a bit before bringing him back (turns out we should have let him dangle a little more :-). The real move went on the 3rd lap right on the Old Baltimore hill. My teammate Jordan, Paul Rades from GamJams (who everyone kept telling me won last year and that we really should “do something about that”), and 2 others joined him. Almost instantly they were out of sight. Sweet pressures off, until I saw Jordan coming back on the Comus rollers. Two others came back beforehand meaning it was just Paul off the front, hammering it and no one in the pack quiet yet “doing anything about it.”
Last we heard the break had 45 seconds prior to Comus, when we hit the right onto Shiloh Church rd it was down to 25. After being shelled from the break Jordan gets back to the front and hits it, fucking aye. I knew the final right onto Old Baltimore was going to be balls out and it didn’t disappoint. Sure enough Sjoberg hits it, followed closely by Darion from Haymarket, Callum, and an All American dude. I bury it and follow suite. I pull even with the front just before the turn but am gassed for the chase. Sjoberg takes up the reins with the first monster dig, I finally pansied down and took one too. But after the turn onto Old Baltimore catthreeitus set in and no one wanted to do any work to bring it back. At this point Paul was about 15 seconds off the front when Jordan comes back to the front and kicks it again, it was a big enough effort to ignite the fire back in the field. With the itus gone, Paul was reeled in with 1K to go. I hold position 3 rows back, 10 people deep, like a baby kangaroo I’m nice and comfy in the pocket. Scrappy Brad Evans takes a flier with 500 to go and brings another with him, sweet Coppi with the counter! Unfortunately the pace didn’t let up and they were caught at the 200m mark. Now if I can…just…find….Sjob….shit, up the right side with Rist leading the charge! I jump left out the pocket, and hook back over to the far right side. Way too late to grab the podium girl train but if I dig I can nab 2nd. Sweet, I’ll take it. Thanks team for the hard effort.