Somehow I missed Canton last year. I recall that our friend Terry was in town that weekend as we all went up to Putney which was the day after. Canton is a good race with nice long laps and lots of pavement. Yay! It also has three sets of barriers, a log, a run up (see below) and lots of wind. Boo!
I slept like horse cr@p Thursday night, two nights before the race. Bad sign. The sleep you get two nights out from an athletic event is always the most important. Friday night was better but not great. My expectations were low for a good performance.
Wrangling a family into the car for these things should be it's own competition. Lunches, coats, gloves, snacks for the ride, toys, wheels, bikes, crayons, water, shoes, helmets... some one's got to keep track of it all. We always forget something.
Prior to the start I had this conversation with Peter Sullivan:
PS: Have you seen that log?
PS: Should I hop it?
Me: If you're asking, the answer is no.
PS: Are you going to hop it?
Me: yup, but I don't think you should if you're not sure.... (pause) Hey! You could try blasting right through it though, the right hand side looked rotted out a bit. You'll be fine!
We both got a lousy start, swarmed by the charging mass. I found myself behind a few dudes who could. not. race. bicycles. Thankfully they were so bad I got past rather quickly. It's hardest to pass someone who isn't good but thinks that they are. They may be alright, or not too bad, but in a strong-enough-to-be-dangerous kind of way. Anyway, these fellas at Canton sucked and must have known it because they didn't make it difficult to go around. Sucked is a relative expression here of course. I realize that I suck too. Just not as much as these guys did. When compared to me. They sucked.
Peter came around after a few turns and tried to get by an MRC rider who decided to defend his position. They almost killed each other as spokes and derailleurs came together to hang out. Peter had to slow to fix a dropped chain I think, and off we went.
In the field I couldn't help but notice a very low flying helicopter that seemed to be rather interested in our race. Had to be Domnarski. Any lower and the wash from the rotors would have blown up stuff. That aircraft has a super nice camera, and he took a sweet photo of the group right ahead of me.
For a lap I worked around the guys in the low teens and found myself around 10th. I got past Wade Summers and Doug Kennedy and set my sights on Mike Rowell, who was fading back to me. Somewhere during lap two I noticed the Peter Sullivan was no longer behind us. I caught Mike at the end of two laps and we got the two to go card. I was feeling just fine and was hoping to work with Mike to catch the group in that photo.
Half way through lap 3 I saw Peter on the side of the course right after the log. He can't recall what happened and no one saw it. So the official story is that he tried to hop the log, not smash through it like I had suggested.
Approaching the track I offered to take the lead from Mike and he agreed. We were pulling Pete Smith in quickly. Here's the run up... ... and here's us getting ready to connect with Pete.
Approaching the start finish I tell Mike "let's go! let's go!" just as the head official steps out onto the road, holds up two fingers and says "you got two more laps, not one... two." Ok then "alright Mike let's back it down a bit."
I laid it down a few turns later in the field and Mike and Pete rode away from me. Peter faded from Mike's wheel and I was about to catch him at the bell when I tripped over the barriers near the pit in front of the entire next race. Awesome! Cemented in my spot, I took the last lap off and rolled in 10th.
The kids made friends with a fellow master's kids, which is a promising development. I feel like they were on a first date and everything went well. Hoping that we'll just "bump" into them at Noho. The prospect of having something to do other than watch me ride my bike around in circles for an hour is equally appealing to them I'm sure.
GeWilli was giggling like a little school girl at the registration tent. Why? He had