There was beer (though not to be opened in the park). There was a robot. There was birthday cake for Kevin. How could that not set the stage for a good night of racing? I know I certainly wasn’t the only one of the ~30 people lining up thinking that the smaller field, and tired legs might lead to a friendly group ride with a 2 lap sprint at the end. In fact, I thought I had successfully campaigned for this as we were lining up. Alas, it was not to be. The evening was a mix of two of the three worst weather features of the week: it was cold (the PT conked out on the ride down) and there was a stiff breeze blowing directly from the west. As we’d learned earlier in the week, this wind meant that working in small groups was a serious pain in the ass — for the majority of the loop drafting did little. The really fast guys took advantage of this, and I wasn’t savvy enough to position myself near them at the start. Gotta practice that for sure.
The first lap was quick, the second quicker, and then the hammer really dropped. The field strung out and then splintered into several lead dudes who were causing the harm, two chase groups and people shelled off the back. I was in the second group and worked with some good guys to pull us back up to the first chasing group. At this point, my legs were feeling okay and I was doing some goofy “let’s go get em” stuff. By the time we joined the lead chasing group the leaders had 10 seconds or so on us and they were pushing harder. We were working together pretty well, with Matt Stevenson of XXX taking the brunt of the work. Honestly, though, I didn’t see us defying the wind and clearing the distance to the five or so remaining lead guys. Things get a bit hazy, but with eight laps or so to go, our bunch picked it up again, and my legs announced that the week of abuse was officially at the end.
I sat up and pulled out of the pace line. I know now that I was in about 8th place at this point, and that the next nearest group was way back. I should have jumped on with that group when they came through 30 seconds later, but I was already thinking about the birthday cake waiting at the finish. In retrospect, I wish I’d worked back up, but that probably has to do with me not currently being at the end of a 35 minute sojourn in the pain cave. Ernesto Ciccolini pulled off the win to make it four for the week.
So the aftermath: my house looks like a mid-century modern version of a pro cyclist hotel room — bike stuff everywhere. I have some serious bike maintanance to do, and last night’s running the tank dry after a week of racing has left me pretty worn down. I’ve got to work out a plan this week for not going into the Hillsboro-Roubaix next weekend super trashed.
I’m working on a letter to the city peeps thanking them and Half Acre for all the work, but it bears repeating: this was one awesome event and Half Acre deserves serious kudos for bringing this kind of series to our backyard. Half Acre was assisted by a bunch of volunteers including Allison who worked as a course marshall (and rode with me to/from the races for the most riding we’ve done together in months!). Thanks to you all — it was a great week.