Saturday, July 25, 2009

Central Park July 25 2009 Erica Gets Top 3

Field was a little smaller than usual, only 5 or 6 riders from Comedy, instead of their typical 10, along with a comparable number from Metro (which has merged with 3rd Nature by the way) and Teany, plus a few others. Since I was representing solo from Radical, my plan was to be primarily defensive versus what I figured was going to be numerous attacks from Comedy, and to let other teams do most of the work unless I felt like something was really going to stick, which meant really only being concerned about attacks with Sarah or Alejandra in them.

Race started off surprisingly strongly for a six-lapper, wth Gabby (from Metro now) setting the pace. I found myself a little further back than I usually like to ride, but I tried not to worry to much about it too much since it wasn't a huge field and it gave me the ability to keep a closer eye on Alejandra and kept my urge to chase everything down in check. There were a few attacks in the first lap and a half that were fairly quickly covered by the field. Alejandra tried to get into position to get away a couple of times, but found me on her wheel each time and cut her effort short. Then Comedy began a string of attacks and counter attacks. Towards the end of the second lap, Sarah got a decent gap on the field . The field started playing a bit of cat and mouse, trying to get someone else to do the work to bridge. Alejandra took advantage of this going up to Cat's Paw to try to bridge up to her teammate, but I stuck to her like glue in order to get a free ride up. She realized this about half way up the hill and sat up in an effort to gap me off but I just went right around and was able to get to Sarah with a decent gap on the field.

Alejandra finished bridging up shortly thereafter and told us that we still had a good gap and that we should work together to cement it. I wanted the succeed of course but was a little wary of doing to much of the work because with a 2 on 1 situation I figured they'd just try to work me over until my legs fell off. Also every time in the past that I've bridged up to Alejandra she'd sat up as soon as I got there, so I was a little wary of being in a break with her in the first place. But when I saw that she was in fact pulling through for a change, I let down my guard and did a couple of turns at the front as well. After all four laps is a long time to try to stay away if the field is motivated. As soon as we hit the west side however, my fears were validated, as Alejandra attacked from behind me while Sarah tried to gap me off. I was able to bridge back up, just in time for Sarah to attack, but got on her wheel as she went by. This sequence went on for another 3/4 of a lap, at which point Alejandra started yelling at me for not pulling through, which I thought was rather cheeky since she was the one who started attacking me. I replied that I couldn't pull through because she would just attack again, and she and Sarah claimed that they were only attacking me because I wasn't pulling through. Yeah, right. So anyway, we reached a truce of sorts for the next couple of laps, buy oh boy what a pace Alejandra was setting, I felt like I was being worked over almost as when they were attacking me. Sarah seemed to be feeling it as well though, which is probably why I was able to hang in there as long as I was.

Going up Harlem Hill the sixth time, Alejandra attacked hard. I knew it was probably going to happen, but I just didn't have the legs left to go with her. Once she realized she has a little gap at the top, she really hit it. By the time we go to 86th St., she was pretty much gone, but Sarah still refused to do anything but sit on my wheel. I started half-joking about how much of a shame it would be if the field caught us again with only a half lap to go, so Sarah generously offered to keep an eye out for them in back of us and pull through if she saw them. Thanks a million. So basically I gave Sarah a 3/4 of a lap leadout for the sprint. Needless to say, I didn't have much left in the tank at the end and it was all I could do to roll in for 3rd, but I was still pleased to have made it into the first Central Park break of my racing career and to have held on as long as I did to the 15.5 minute lap pace that we were hitting.