Today was race day at the Tour de Parc at Cedar Creek in Wantagh, my own backyard! I guess I was feeling strong when I registered a rew weeks ago and signed up for two races, the Masters 40+ and the Cat. 4.
Both races were 25-mile criteriums and happened to be scheduled back to back. Masters first at 9:30 AM, then Cat. 4 at 10:30 AM. Had my usual pre-ride breakfast of coffee and oatmeal and added a bananna knowing I'd need the fuel. Chance of rain predicted all morning so I was a little concerned abount negotiating the hairpin turn on the course in a fast moving pack. Roads damp when I left to ride to the park but not raining... yet!
Picked up my race numbers from the registration desk, pinned them on the jersey, one over the other, and did a couple of slow laps around the park while the Cat. 5 race was going on. Promptly at 9:30 AM, the Masters riders were called to the line. I saw Paul C. and Mike I. in the field, so I think we were the only three East End riders. No sooner did the start whistle sound and the rain started. First few laps were blistering fast, nipping at 32 MPH on the back stretch (wind aided) and about 22 MPH on the finishing straight, into the wind. The rain was intense and lots of road spray. Two riders attacked on lap 3, and that was the last we saw of them for the rest of the race. A few bridge attempts were not successful and teammates of the leaders foiled most other attempts. It was a hard fast race and on the last lap, I could not hold on to the group that sprinted for the finsh. I ended up at the back of the main pack, but I did accomplish my goal of not getting dropped. My first Masters race, under my belt, and an epic one at that!
I did a quick u-turn at the start/finish line and had Ed pull off my Masters race number to reveal the Cat. 4 number underneath, just as they were calling the Cat. 4 race to the line. Had about 1 minute to drink something and catch my breath before the whistle to start the Cat. 4 race. East End represented well in this race, me, Karl, Rob, Chris, Larry, George, maybe one or two others. Again, a fast start. Amazingly no crashes in either race! By now the rain had stopped and the roads actually started to dry out a bit by the end of the race. There were five or six breakways, solos, but they were reeled in. The last one stayed away for about 6-7 laps, only to be caught on the final lap.
East End was successful in the end with Karl taking the win and Larry picking up fourth. Again, I was poorly positioned for the sprint and ended mid-pack at the finish but I tried to make a contribution to the team by working to pull back some breakaways and pulling for the team as much as I could. I'm afraid the Masters race took a bit out of me and I didn't have much punch left at the end of 50 miles of racing.
I'll check around to see if I can find any race photos later in the week and post some links here if I find any. Even with the rain, an exciting day of racing. Legs sore now but I felt strong and easily stayed with the group in both races. Satisfying day of racing, tried to do the EECT jersey proud.