Fitchburg cat 3 race report day 3 - Chris Hong - 7-2-07
Day three was an 11 some mile loop that rolled along Princeton, MA with two short pretty steep climbs – one going into Princeton town center and right after that, another going up into the feed zone. The cat 3 men did 6 laps on this course and on the last lap, we turned off the main road onto the access road which leads up to the summit of Wachusett.
I was pretty nervous going into the race since this was my first big race and the stage was no doubt an important one for GC. Things started off like they always do for me – I got swallowed up by the pack, so Iâm sitting in the back half for the first lap. I spent the entire lap trying to get to the front and realized that I could make my way up on the town center and feed zone climbs. Once I got up there, I learned that 1. a break of 8 had gone off and 2. they were neutralizing us because the Masters were going to pass. So, in the ensuing chaos of people trying to keep each other in check, we waited I think at least 10 minutes for this blazing fast Masters pack to catch us…which they did of course since we were moving so slow for so long!
When the race re-started, the break was allowed to keep its gap, but the pack I think was content on letting them go. That proved to be pretty nerve-wracking, at least for me. Each consecutive lap, the breakâs gap was getting bigger and bigger until they topped out at just under 2 minutes…and this was with 2 laps to go. At one point, Corey Massonâs Cyfac team all swarmed to the front, but I donât know why they didnât organize anything…it was bizarre. In the end, I think it was the top 10 GC guys that went to the front and pulled the break back. We were altogether at the start of the final lap except for one guy who was still up the road by a minute. Somewhere along the last lap, we caught him, too, so heading into the feedzone, we were altogether.
I really had done absolutely zero work the entire race, so I was feeling pretty good for the final climb, although nervous as hell. I moved up to the front 10 on the feedzone climb, and hung there with Roy and Peter. When we turned off to start the climb, the pack hit the base hard, so I did my best to stay out of the wind. But then Jonathan Chodroff (race leader) and Chris Berbert (5th on GC but a good climber) took off at the left turn to go up the âdownâ road (uh, I hope that makes sense!), so I just scrambled after them. So the three of us were going pretty hard but then I realized I wouldnât be able to stay with Jonathan at that pace the entire climb, so I let a small gap open up. When the road then got really steep (for the last 1k), I stood up and just went as hard as I could. The guy behind me was only a couple bike lengths behind, so it wasnât like the three of us had completely dropped everyone. After the final right turn, I was really dying and got passed by Steven Gatzos in the last 25-50m. And I narrowly avoided being overtaken by 5th place at the line. So, 4th place for me – maybe I shouldnât have tried to go with Chodroff right from the start, but every race is a learning experience!
Me (4th): 18” back
Roy (8th): 27”
Peter (22nd): 1:09
Jay (65th): 3:06
Chiu (77th): 4:01
Julian (99th): 21:49
Dave (102nd): 25:52
PS. Highlights of race: 1. we repassed the Master’s within a lap
2. A guy kept telling the front of the field to pick up the pace and then another dude cursed at him to shut up (it was funnier than that)
3. Roy couldn’t build up his lead in the points competition since the break swallowed up most of the points (Jason Sears).