Thursday, February 05, 2009

Mothballs Race Report and Apology

I've been carrying some guilt and unease since the 45+ crit at Mothballs last Sunday, so perhaps a brief race-report blog post will serve as therapy. The competition was typical for Mothballs: a field of around fifty with the usual speedsters (e.g., CBlackRide, Steve Gregorios, Carlos Soto, and Dave Lettieri) and a good collection of all-around fit riders (e.g., Mike Gourley, David Larsen, Kim Bleth, Bill Lupo). Our Platinum squad was the same as last year: Mark BeLukie, TnA, Choo-Choo Brown, and me. Oh yeah, almost forgot... and C-Walker.

We rolled out and within a lap C-Walk suggested we start throwing guys off the front. My thoughts exactly go first! So he does. Naturally everyone reacted, and he didn't get much leash and he was brought back within a lap. Thus began 30 minutes of textbook team attack/cover/counter-attack in which we all play a role. I was proud of our team. Unfortunately, none of our moves ever got more than 10-15 seconds. With 6 laps to go, I made one final attempt with Kim Bleth, but my legs were screaming in agony just trying to roll 27 mph. Back in the field with 3-to-go.

Now here is where I blew it. You see, our field had one other noteworthy rider, a guy by the name of Bert Glennon. I had never heard of him but he was wearing a rainbow-striped jersey signifying a world championship title. Turns out he's the 45+ Scratch Race champion on the track. In other words, he's very fast. I have a closet full of 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths from Mothballs, all "earned" by surfing the wakes of fast guys like him on the final lap. I figured, why not follow that recipe one more time.

What a selfish bastard!

My legs were toast, and I knew that two of my teammates (TnA and Choo-Choo) had good speed. And yet still, with three laps to go, I told C-Walk I was going to hunt for Bert's back wheel and go for the sprint. I found it with 2-to-go... or should I say, I found Dave L. occupying it. Hmmm.... should I try to barge in? Would Dave hold his ground? Best not to find out... not only would that not be cool to do to a friend, worldly ol' Dave could flick me with ease if he so desired. So I settled in on Dave's wheel. Bell lap, and I looked up to see my two teammates Choo-Choo and TnA on the front, driving this train fast. Last lap chaos --as per normal-- and I lost Dave (and thus Bert) in traffic, so I called an audible and tried to squeeze through up the gutter. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't. This time it didn't. Around the final corner and Choo-Choo lost his steam, TnA was bogging, and I'm sprinting from 30 guys back. What a dork. 19th, our top placing.

So, what was wrong with that picture? I'll tell you. C-Walk, Mark L., and I should have been on the front grunting out every last ounce of speed going into that final lap. TnA and Choo-Choo should have had support up there. They could have closed the deal with a just little help from their friends. Perhaps not a Vee, but a podium for sure. I know this, yet I failed to execute on Sunday. At a minimum I should have gotten C-Walk up there. He knows how to race, but he's new to our team and was probably a bit baffled at my selfish attempt to sprint.

So, let me close by saying, "I'm sorry" ...and let's do it right next chance we get.


Anonymous said...

I thought they changed the rules about wearing "world champion" stripes.

Anonymous said...

You know what they say; "hind site is always 20/20"
It's always easy to critique a race after a few days of stewing plus when your in the heat of battle sometimes logic gets lost. Mark you were in the right place 95% of that race looking for opportunities during that time; I wouldn't beat yourself up too much for a very small, what you thought was, mistake. Races always have that effect on me; shoulda woulda coulda.
That's the fun part about crits there always a bit of a lottery.
Plus didn't you win the day before? Your getting greedy now.
choo choo

Marco Fanelli said...

Maybe you're right. Either way, strictly by the rules he shouldn't have been wearing it in a crit since it was earned on the track. BTW, for masters it's not the well-known REAL world-champ jersey, but kind of a weird variation in blue. Same idea as the Natz jerseys with horizontal stripes for all but the elite (vertical stripes).

What I'm unhappy about was not making the correct, real-time decision to focus on helping out you and Tom instead of selfishly looking for a wheel to follow myself. I knew my legs were bad and yours were good. There's really no excuse.

Anonymous said...

Oh, in that case you owe me big time!!
chris choo

TnA said...

No biggie Marco...there'll be plenty of opportunities in the future for you to "make up" for it (not that there's anything to "make up"). I can't think of anyone else with whom I'd rather race...