Total riding time actually drops quite a lot for me during racing season, and time in the car goes up accordingly. Saturday rides from the front door are numbered for a while. Stops at Pert’s after the ride, for a cup of coffee and lunch are going to suffer. Well, at least I now have good reason to stop for a DQ blizzard on the drive home.
The second Mason Lake was a bit more intense then the first week, a lot of teams showed up with full teams. The pace was always high, and I personally did a lot of work for the team, bringing back breaks. The final rider was caught at 1km, and we were barreling down for a pack sprint.
The finish was rather hazardous, riders moving up to the left of the yellow line, head and shoulder butting and wheels touching, all at 30mph. Coming around the last corner I was a bit too far back, but managed to squeeze in at 8th, closing in on the riders ahead, but still upright and alive.
Sunday morning came too early, lost an hour sleep to daylight saving. I had to make the first ferry out of Kingston to Sequim, since we and Carter were putting on the race.
After being in the follow car all morning, which is a pretty posh job actually, especially if the weather is bad, I got ready to race the afternoon race. It was actually quite a bit colder then the day before, but once again there was no rain. Quite a big field again, plenty strong teams. The pace was very fast the first two laps as usual, with attacks going continuously. Every team was trying to get their riders in the break, before they let it go. Half way through lap three a four man break went up the road. Attacks kept coming and bride attempts were still being made though, as several teams missed out, and others wanted to improve their odds. Jason was away in the four man break; Kyle and I were flying along in the 12 man chase group. Once we got together, the gap to the pack opened up, and a few laps later we had over a 3minuite lead. With one lap to go the attacks started again, most people wanted to break things up, hopefully get rid of a few of the more tired riders, and make the final surge to the line a bit smaller affair. This is when racing gets hard and fun. This is the part I enjoy the most, this is when you have to dig deep, and are motivated to do so. Over the next few miles our group split and came back together more times then I can remember. Finally, after Lang countered a move by me and his teammate Patrick, and before you know it he had just a big enough gap that it would take a very strong or combined effort to get up to. A few times he was close, and I thought we would close it down, but there were too many people sitting on, and the rest of us had no desire bringing them up for an easy sprint. Last year I was in the same position as Lang, but got caught within the last 200m, so I knew how had it was to stay out there, and how fast the gap can close down. Lang however is probably stronger than me, and he had a bigger gap going around that last corner.
Lang did a great effort and hung on for the win. I started my sprint too soon, and died a horrible death the last few seconds and got passed by two riders right before the line for 6th.
After this race I was ready for a break, these two races wore me down and I needed to rest.
Maybe it was the weekend, maybe it was the flu going around the office at work, or maybe it was a combination, but by Wednesday afternoon I was sick, real sick. Fever, headache, soar throat and body aches. I was out for two days. By Saturday I was feeling a bit better, but decided to stay home and rest one more, as I wasn’t over it yet (and by now Kele was also feeling it).
Sunday we both decided to show up and race Market Street, maybe we weren’t completely well, but we were rested. It was cold, but once again it was dry.
The race started fast again, lots of strong teams this year, and nobody wants to settle for the right break goes. I felt ok for the first lap and a half until I ran out of energy and my legs had no jump at all. I decided to be a bit more careful for a while, after having the flu for a few days; it really wasn’t a surprise that my energy level would drop of dramatically. Right then though, Flavio got of solo, and was soon joined by Hone. Not until a lap later, when another group bridged did the pack let it go. The break now had 7 riders, Clayville later bridged up solo, after a series of attacks and a great setup by Lang. They were now eight up there, and the gap went up to a few minuets.
Ongers once again proved too strong and jumped early to take the win with Hone right behind. Flavio ended up 5th. The pack sprinted for 9th , which somehow I took, more luck and timing then anything. I jumped right when the front rider swung of and the front hesitated, giving me just enough of gap to hold until the line.
Next week it’s Independence Valley, and I think we might run out of luck with the weather this time. This will be the first “hilly” race of the season, and we will see how that feels :)