2010 Gran Prix of Beverly - August 4, 2010

The 2010 Fidelity Gran Prix of Beverly was hot... and fast! Still, I wanted to be out there rather than on the sidelines - even though I really enjoyed photographing the action. As I watched, and photographed, my Minuteman Road Club team mates race in the Mens 4/5 heat, it was evident from the expressions on their and everyone else's faces that it was an extremely high intensity race.

On the second lap, just at the 3rd turn, there was a crash, sending the pack into neutral behind the pace car. Word that one of the riders down had broken his hip actually beat the pace car back to where I was standing at the final corner. A broken hip - kind of makes my shoulder separation look like a mosquito bite.

Throughout the race, MRC's Chris Pare maintained a good position in the top 10 on the outside with John Smith holding a spot on the inside a few places back.

Nearly halfway through, frequent riding buddy, Jerry De Zutter of 545 Velo came around the corner with a significant lead and no one giving chase. I'm pretty sure he took the a prime lap before being reabsorbed up by the pack and then finishing 14th.

Later on, there was another solo breakaway by Gerald Harris who later took 9th. Meanwhile, the heat and pace were taking their toll, producing a fair amount of attrition at the back as people began to fall off the pace and get pulled by the officials as they came around the start/finish.

A sprint finish found Kenneth Thoman (Comprehensive) in 1st, Edward Uhring (unattached) 2nd and Colin Reuter (Back Bay Bicycles) in 3rd. MRC's Chris gave John the best lead out one could ask for, allowing him to finish 7th. Chris himself came in 24th.

I took pains to get nice, sharp photos of my team mates racing... once their heat was over, the pressure was off and so I got a little looser with my coverage of the Women's and Pro/1/2 races, not really paying attention to the race per se, but spent the time noodling around with some slow-sync and motion blur.

There are a A LOT more photos from the race in this web gallery.


Norwell Circuit Race - August 1, 2010

Did the Norwell Circuit Race yesterday, the first race back after crashing at the Nutmeg Classic in June.

I had my ups and downs: I was among or near the top 10 for nearly the whole race until the last time on Forest street when all the "sleepers" behind me woke up and got moving. If, as one of my MRC teammates reports, our race was split into two groups, it seemed like the whole front group engulfed me on the final climb which means I probably placed around 25th I'll update when the results are posted on BikeReg. [UPDATE: I placed 22nd, just behind team mate Scott Sweeny.]

The good:

  • stayed near the front for most of the race (the sounds of the two crashes reverberated in my mind for a couple of laps)
  • kept my wits about me when some numbskull wouldn't hold his line ON A STRAIGHTAWAY and I had to put my hand on his hip to let him know he was drifting into me. I was directly behind another guy, so no room at the inn for him, but the drifter kept coming and nearly pushed me into the cyclist to my left.
  • there were a couple of instances where I got gapped a little by the few people in front of me but I was able to steadily regain contact without panicking

The bad:

  • not enough warmup: the first time up Circuit Street sucked big time, shoulda done some short jumps to get the Type II muscles fully awake
  • spent too much time in the first three laps out in the wind - not in the lead, maybe 5 wheels back but to the side, pulling a bunch of lunkheads behind me - I should have worked harder to find a slot where I could rest up a bit
  • my rear brake was rubbing (sigh) on the Circuit Street climb when I got out of the saddle, I couldn't tell if it was really slowing me much but I chose to spin my way up instead (the good thing was, except for the last time up, I didn't lose any places doing so)
  • absolutely nothing left for that last climb up Circuit Street, I struggled up as bike after bike surged by me

I'd be kidding myself if I thought I was doing very much more than hanging on by the skin of my teeth the whole race, but I'm proud of the fact that I did most of it towards the front of the pack and not tagging along in the back.

Looking ahead on my calendar, I don't see any opportunities for further road racing for me this year. I am planning on photographing the upcoming Grand Prix of Beverly and the Salem Witches Cup so watch out for the galleries that will result.

[UPDATE 8/11/2010: I totally forgot about the Jamestown Classic, on Oct. 11th, so I still have something to aim for this season!]