*Click on Title above for Race Interview*
Once again the bike racing season has begun in New England. What better way to get after it on a cold, wet, April Saturday morning, than slogging around on a Mtn Bike. The Root 66 New England Race series is a goal of mine this year along with some Nationals and Canada Cups. The competition is always stiff and you can guarantee on any given weekend a hard fought race.
Leading up to race weekend here is my week; get up (of course), work emails, out the door for a quick session, get home, off to work, get back home, maybe another session, go see Trey, say hello to my wife, then some more work emails and off to bed! My point, not a lot of time to think about the race, how it will play out, who will be there, the weather etc. Speaking of weather, hello up there, spring anytime soon? Help us out, we're freezing and wet!
So I meet my training partners and friends Tim J. and Lyne B. and become pleasantly surprised that they want to race Mountain Bikes this weekend in the New England Opener. This is a huge relief because they are true professionals, prepare properly which allows me not to have to think as much, love that!
Off we go to CT, both envious of my new Team Cannondale Scalpel, especially Tim because I let him borrow my 5 year old Scalpel that has been ridden into the ground, still races great though! He complained a bit but with some good Slapshot Jokes, Lyne's knitting, and my constant pee breaks, the mood was lightened and he was ready to race.
The Course was great! Fast rolling single track with some open double track that made for a suffer fest right from the beginning. The start line was packed with the New Pro category riders, great to see! Mountain biking is definitely making a positive turn in New England, not quite to the tune of the early 90's when I was racing full time, but I see it coming back, awesome!
Tim and I didn't know what to expect from the rest of the riders. The nice thing about New England is we have a lot of up and coming pro riders in addition to some fast Canadians that usually make the trip south to race, similar to cross.
We (Tim and I ) did get away on the first lap with a couple of guys not far behind. We stayed smooth and fast to increase our gap over an hour and 48 minutes. Tim and I have a lot of fun on the bike but at the same time we stay focused and ride hard. Toward the end of the race with about a mile or so to go there was a good little grunt climb maybe 2-3 minutes long that the Tour of California legs in Tim definitely showed. He slowly dropped me and I fought to stay, but the 2 hour mtb all out fitness, at his pace, isn't there yet.
The surprise ending:
With about a 1/4 mile left we both thought it was wrapped up, no one in sight, and a nice little descent into the finish. I made a mistake in the mud, grabbed my bike off the ground and vrooooom, Andrew Frye goes blowing past me! I thought, holy crap, where did he come from and we were pretty much at the finish. When I came across the line, a little disappointed with second never mind third, I asked Frye how and when he made contact and congratulated him on a great race. He said he started seeing us on the last climb and that he grabbed Tim also at the line, what!? Great riding by Andrew to stay focused and keep driving forward. Life lesson for Tim and I never think its in the bag!
Andy 1, Tim 2nd, Me 3rd.
Thanks for reading!
Also check out the http://www.cyclingdirt.com/ website. Great mtb coverage.
Ciao for now.