Monday, May 11, 2009

Sterling Road Race Disaster and a Little Redemption

We all have them: The races that, no matter what, we just can't master. Every year I come in to the Sterling Road Race with good form and decent results in the preceding weeks. Every year I give Sterling my all and every year it goes sideways for me. Sterling is my white whale, and for another year I've yet to slay it.

On paper, Sterling should have been a good race for us. The course is great, our whole team was there and in good form and we were coming off of several solid results in the previous weeks.

The pain started on lap 2 of 10, when I found myself in a break with Justin Spinelli (Kenda/Spooky), Robbie King (I.F.) and eventual race winner Dan Vaillancourt (Colavita). I had no business being out front with this crew and within a lap I fell back to the field. From there, the race spiraled out of control. Bradshaw found himself stuck on the front, chasing the break almost single-handedly for a couple laps. We missed key secondary breaks due to inattentiveness, fatigue and bad luck. With two laps to go, Bradshaw's cassette loosened, causing his drivetrain to lock up. (Subsequent forensic analysis revealed stripped threads on the lockring as the culprit.) He was out.

Josh and Jay made valiant attempts to pull back breaks, but we found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time at just about every turn. Another year, another Sterling, another disappointment. But this is bike racing and that's the way it goes sometimes. I'm sure I'll be back next year to give another attempt at slaying the beast.

The next day, we decided to race the Wells Ave. training crit in Newton to possibly redeem ourselves a bit. We took the bulk of the primes and Jay took the overall win in a competitive field. Sure, it was a victory at a training race, but it was a victory nonetheless and a solid boost to our collective ego after the previous day's bruising. Plus, as David Phinney says, "Every victory counts."

Tip of my hat to the Metlife team, who raced fast and intelligently and for being generally good guys at this race.

On to Sunapee tomorrow.



Blogger Josh said...

My legs felt horrible at Sterling. I went to attack later in the race, and the engine room pulled the plug. You rode a fine race, James.

May 15, 2009 at 9:17 AM  

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