This week seems a little more under control than last week. I feel less tired, a little more inspired. I did notice (well, the missus did) that I have a bunch of typos in some of the last few posts. One post in particular was terrible - I was typing on the laptop, my hand resting on the touch pad thing, then suddenly things went insane. I tried to undo stuff but I think I undid too much. I'll have to go back and try and reconstruct things. The problem is that once I write something it's hard for me to write it again. Like fingerprints - no two writing sessions are the same.
This week I finally got all the trophies and medals. I've been calling and calling the place, trying to get a hold of them, and kept getting busy signals and stuff. Finally, worried they were out of business, I looked them up to see if they were still around. Ends up I had the wrong number in my phone - apparently I put in the wrong number with my new phone. So I finally got to order everything.
A few years ago I went to pick up everything the day before the race and they were closed (!). No warning, no nothing, so I was stuck. Luckily this year they called me and told me they'd be closed Saturday so I made the trek down there Friday, during most of rush hour, to get the trophies. I am glad to say they are safe in my car right now.
As usual I pray for "not bad" weather, and if it looks "not bad", then I pray for good weather. I think the weather gods found favor with Plainville because they've been blessed with temperatures over 60 degrees - in contrast, at Bethel, we've barely hit the 50s. I'm thinking that next year the Series should shift about one week later, try to hit the third weekend of April. This way there might be a chance of people leaving with new or newly reinforced tan lines, not just windburnt faces and runny noses.
As for Sunday, it should be an exciting day, based on the overall standings.
For a few folks the races are simply a formality. Race, get the jersey, pictures taken, stuff like that. This includes two absolutely dominating performances by Zachary Staszak (Pawling Cycle and Sport) in the Cat 4s and Anne Marie Miller (CRCA/Sanchez Metro) in the women's race. I mentioned to Zachary that, with 21 points to the second rider's 6, he really didn't need to win the April 6th race. Obligingly he let a break go and took the field sprint for second - his fourth field sprint win here. Nice to be so strong!
I told Anne Marie that her 21 to 14 point lead meant she needed to gain some points, ideally three more than the second overall racer, to assure her of the overall. She handily took the win, sealing up that competition. As I mentioned to someone a little later, "We could have just let her keep the jersey." Same goes for Zachary too.
For the 5s it's a bit tighter. Andrew Nasca (Bikeway) leads Dennis Adiletti (Bethel Cycle) 21 to 18 - a mere 3 points. Sitting just behind at 16 points is James Rothwell (Unattached). With 10, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points for the top seven placers, the race could easily go to any of them.
The Juniors also have a bit of racing to do. Kyle Foley (Cuevas/ACT) has a 7 point margin on his competition, Paul Lynch (CL Noonan/Coast to Coast), and a 9 point lead on Leon Lyakovesky (CT Coast Cycling). A win would assure Foley of an overall, but just scoring 4 points (4th place) would still net him the leader's jersey.
In the Masters 40+ race it looks like a showdown between two teams, the incredibly powerful CRCA/Sids-Cannondale team (with overall leader Robert Lattanzi and third placed Morgan Stebbins) and Bethel Cycle (with second placed Stephen Gray). With Gray 9 points down on Lattanzi, Gray would have to win and Lattanzi place 7th or worse for Gray to win. However, Stebbins poses a serious threat to Gray's second place overall. If either of those two falter, a slew of racers from the reinforced-for-2008 CCC/Keltic Construction/Zanes Cycles could step up, as could John Funk from Cycle Fitness.
The 3-4 race looks about the same, a leader with two pursuers neck-to-neck. David Freifelder (Westwood Velo/Trade Management) has a close to unassailable lead with 18 points. Yours truly (CT Coast Cycling) and Salvatore Abbruzzese (Blue Ribbon) are tied in second with 10 points a piece, and then there are a bunch of strong riders all within shooting distance of the podium.
I think the Pro-1-2-3 race is by far the most exciting. Only 5 points separate the top 6 racers overall. Appropriately only one racer, Jacob Hacker (Unattached), has placed in three races. His tenacious points chasing has kept him in the lead with 12 points, a low points tally for a leader so late in the Series. This means a number of different racers have won or placed in the top 3 - and those spots, this Sunday, are worth 10, 7, and 5 points. In this close game, those are huge numbers. With threats from both field sprinters and break specialists, it should be a rip snorting race.
I hope that I can honor everyone with a smoothly run race.
A few notes on podiums and such.
First, I'd like to get all the top racers together after each race to verify all placings. And, if everyone agrees, we'll take podium pictures immediately after each race. I don't want to ask the 5s to wait around for 5 hours or something like that. Eventually, I promise, these will go up somewhere on the internet and you can show them to your friends and family.
Second, the overall winners will receive gift certificates from Bethel Cycle. Even if you live in Belarus, it's okay - you can go online and buy from them. Not like the gift certificates I won at races 20 years ago - they're still sitting in my bike memorabilia box.
Third, overall podium finishers will receive trophies and cash prizes and get nice pictures taken. IMPORTANT NOTE - we pay beyond the podium for the 3-4s and P-1-2-3s - so please, check with us if you are in, say, the top 5 or so. I thought it was fun to track down folks and surprise them with an envelope but I wouldn't get everyone, so I'm telling everyone now.
Finally, remember, it's just a bike race. Race hard, race fair, and smile and shake hands after the race. Keep the racing on the course because we're all in this together when we're off the course.
Good luck to all the racers that race tomorrow!