Recyclers Josh & Andrew report from the weekend’s races
(photos used by permission, courtesy of www.wheelsinfocus.com ).
Nick A, Matt, and Josh went down to Tacoma to show the RCR colors in the Cat. 3 Men’s event of the Twilight Crit this last Saturday evening of July. It was a great racing venue, the weather was outstanding, and the racing was fun. The Plan was to set up Josh for a shot at the ‘W’. Matt did a phenomenal job at the front, chasing primes, riding super hard, and looking out for Josh during the whole race. Nick, ever patient, sat in the pack until a good break formed; he then shot across the gap so RCR could have some representation. Great move, Nick! Josh quickly moved to the front on patrol for any attackers who harbored hopes of bridging to the break; one guy did: he towed Josh around for a while, until Josh could drop him and bridge to the escape. But the pack got restless and chased the break of 10+ riders down.
From that point on, the Recyclers fought for position in the first 10+, Matt doing his thing riding the front!
Josh was sitting on Nick’s wheel with 2 laps remaining, but when Nick absolutely drilled it up the hill on the backside, Josh could not hold the speed through corner 3; he notes: “it was either lock up the brakes or go over the curb. Nick is a hell of a bike handler!” With Josh regretfully unable to hold the corner, RCR unfortunately finished well out of the money, though Matt’s 8th place may have scored him some upgrade points.
Josh says: “Thanks Nick and Matt for the support!”
The next day, Andrew M joined Josh in Silvana WA as the Cat 3 men lined up for the short and fast Skagit Flats Circuit Race through the coastal farmlands north of Seattle. After the previous day’s sunshine, the return of gray skies and drizzle hovering over Seattle thinned out the non-believers, making for a small field, but the roads remained dry in Silvana. The course followed narrow country lanes among corn fields and sheep pasture, with some sharp corners and a couple of tight passages beneath the railroad trestles.
After a moderately-paced start, the race hit its stride in lap 2 of 7. Josh bridged to a break that was soon caught, but as he settled back into the field, about 10 people rolled off the front. Josh could only muster an UGH! of discontent as he was pinned behind wheels on the narrow roads. He managed to bully his way to the front and sprinted to get onto some chasers, joining another rider; they then chased like hell to bridge a gap larger than they expected. Josh recalls: “this effort hurt, I dropped and waited for the dude 3 times.”
Meanwhile back in the pack, Andrew was rolling along towards the front, taking up space. But when the Bike Sale trio finally jumped in pursuit of Josh, he was boxed on the wrong side of the road and had to chase back on. At the >90 degree turn, some guy decided to take his own funny line that threatened to intersect with Andrew as he followed the last wheel through the corner. The gap opened when Andrew was forced to slow just as the guys in yellow mashed the accelerator on the flat straight road. Andrew recalls: “at one point in my chase I looked down at my computer and saw 31mph and 189bpm; unfortunately, the speed and the heart rate were travelling in opposite directions.” He managed to close within a couple of bike lengths, after chasing for half a kilometer. Then someone saw Josh up ahead and stepped on the gas again… no revista baby…
When the pack finally caught Josh, he recovered for a few minutes then went back to work trying to bring back the break or at least keep them close. The Bike Sale had one guy in the break, who flatted which caused them to take up the chase effort as well! And it was once again gruppo compatto! The peloton rolled easy for the next two laps, but things got interesting again with about 2K remaining. Josh fought for position, and he was 10 or so wheels back coming through the last corner. He still had a pretty good kick in his legs, since he managed to sprint into second place, just missing the win by barely a foot.
All in all, a great race weekend. There is limited racing remaining this year, so get out there and soak up the sun and the racing!