Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hot Ault Park Finale and the Weekend of the Pain Train

Big week of racing in the Cincinnati area this week. Wednsday night was the finale of the Ault Park Series, and this weekend is the Ohio Triple of the Madeira Centennial Crit, Hyde Park Blast, and the Tour of Grandview.

It is always amazing (read, Painful!) to feel the difference in the speed and ferocity of national level events compared with the local and regional races that I've been doing all spring.

Ault Park

I went into the race sitting solidly in 5th place overall, 7 points ahead of 6th, and 19 points out of 4th. The temperature had soared into the mid-nineties during the day, and was still hovering around 85 degrees at the start of race. My plan was simply to ride with the group and maybe try to pick up a couple points along the way, but mostly try to rest as much as possible in order to be fresh for the weekend.

The race had an unusual start, beginning with a lap one prime, and a three man break went up the road immediately. I happened to be in a good position and bridged to the break on the second lap. We stayed out for the first ten laps, and I picked up six points along the way. I was glad to be back in the pack afterwords, and went straight to tailgunning and trying to recover.

Nothing really happened until the 20th lap sprint, where a break of three went during the post-sprint chaos. The pack was content to let them ride, and I didn't care much at all, continuing to tailgun it at the back. Opportunity arose again a couple laps later and I once again found myself off the front in a group of four. We were getting splits of 30-40 seconds and I thought we were the lead group. Turns out those splits were to the three guys still ahead of us...Doh!!!

Unbenowst to me, Jeff McClain of Team Huntinton, was racking up points five at a time from the break. Our group was reeled in with six to go, and the gap was almost a minute to the break. I went to the front and pulled the last four laps just so we wouldn't get lapped, then rolled in behind the group for the finish.

When the final points were tallied, I had slipped to 6th overall, as Jeff picked up 27 points on the night to pip me for 5th by two points. Not much to say about that, other then a big congrats to Jeff for pulling off the comeback. It was a fun series, and I'm already looking forward to competing next year.

Final Podium: Jeff Mclain, Eric Knight, O'Brien Forbes, Ryan Good (not pictured, John Gatch)

Madeira Centenial Criterium

Big shift of gears to last nights criterium. Where I'm a contender at races like Ault Park and the Spring Series, at these events I simply hope to survive. I started the night with three goals: 1)Survive the first 20 minutes, 2)Finish the race, 3)Top 15. It would require the success of the first to to achieve the ultimate goal of number three.

The race started fast and stayed that way. I never moved up from my mid-pack start position. Survival mode kicked in early. The pack was making huge accelerations out of every corner, particularly the two 180's at either side of the home straight. Gaps were forming early and often. Guys were getting shelled two laps in. I don't think we ever were not strung out single file. Somewhere around the tenth lap, a gap opened in front of me that I couldn't close. The Pain Train came, looking for its ticket. I didn't have the right one. Seat revoked, you're outta here, son! Rode for about ten more laps with a chase group of six, then got pulled by the ref after 40 minutes of racing. Better luck next time, i.e. tonight at The Blast. Thanks for everyone along the course cheering me on, I really appreciated it. Adios.

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