Sunday, February 25, 2007

Shartkozawa - Ride Report

There were a few disappointments today.

First, while marking the course, I discovered a bridge was closed for repairs. When I was more gung-ho about this event I used to recon the route in the prior weeks but now I wait till the morning of the ride. With the middle of the figure eight course cut, it became a small "o" about 10 miles around. I decided to have everyone do the loop twice to make it about a 20 mile event. The plus side is the second loop would be less "where do we turn now" and more "I'm going to attack on that hill".

Another disappointment is the photographer never showed up, or if they did, they were in a different part of the parking lot (or waiting inside the Stop & Shop). We park as far away from the store as possible to let legitimate customers have the good spots. So no team kits in the papers I'm afraid.

Finally, my helmet cam turned off when I put it in my Camelbak. So no footage except the finish footage I got at the end of the ride.

But the positives. Weather was decent (I wasn't looking to suffer that much). Riders showed up (only two said they'd be there prior). Everyone filled out a release (yay!). I was able to descend well, even for a Connecticut boy amongst Connecticut riders. And we had no incidents with rider, mechanicals, or townspeople.

With temps in the teens overnight and about 22-24 degrees at the start, it wasn't really warm. But with reasonably bright skies, no precipitation, and relatively dry roads, the conditions were fine for a February Connecticut ride. Ten riders (including yours truly) showed up for the event.

After a round of "Hey I haven't seen you since last year" greetings and a discussion on the shortened course which would be covered twice, the riders rolled out. One rider Johan, a Shart newbie, seemed particularly eager to go, enough that I had a bit of difficulty talking after the mile or so neutral zone before the start. We paused for some final notes and warnings, caught our breath, and went.

Johan, of course, was the first to go about 60 seconds into the ride. It seemed that everyone watched for me to go since I had been on his wheel but I was already cooked. Ian went next (he had just returned from riding and racing in Florida), followed by almost everyone else on the ride - teammates Edgardo and Doug; Johan's old friend Andreas; Dominique (I think a teammate of Edgardo and Doug but wearing a different kit). Only Michael, another Shart newbie Matthew, and my teammate Sean were left with me. And to be honest, I think Michael severely slowed his pace down to wait for us as he eventually noodled away down.

Sean, Matthew and I decided to call it after one lap. My excuse was to video tape the "end" of the ride. Quite spectacular for a little group. Johan did a lot of work and ended up cooking himself before the downhill finish. Ian, intent on improving on his second place of years gone by, did an aggressive sprint. But Doug passed him just short of the line to finish the ride first. Ian was second, trailed by Dominique, Edgardo, Johan, and eventually Andreas and Michael.

We hung out for coffee after and talked about the ride and cycling in general.

During that time a random guy in the coffee shop came up to me and (re-)introduced himself. He used to race, his wife was a serious racer, and the last time I really spoke with them was when she was riding while pregnant with their first child. I mentioned that to him. He pointed across the room and said "Well there they are now!" We all looked.

The girls were probably old enough to drive.

It's been a long time.