5 weeks ago
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I won a race on Sunday for the first time this year. It was the combined 30+/40+ field at the Saratoga crit (aka Marshall & Sterling Racing City Grand Prix and NYS Criterium Championships, but that's a mouthful) and while I could be (and have been) accused of being a sandbagger, I wasn't the only one, and I don't really consider myself so good that doing a masters race is unfair. As long as Mark McCormack and Roger Aspholm are racing masters, I'll call it fair. Anyway, winning is never easy, there were some good guys there, including Ciaran Mangan from CCB, who has won his share of races, masters and otherwise. Considering that I attacked to establish the winning break, then crashed myself in a slippery corner, and attacked again to get away for the W, I'll say I earned it. My teammate Al Donahue was with me in the break, which was fun, and he took third behind a strong effort from NAV's Steve Francisco who is looking good this year. Steve and I came through the last turn a couple of lengths ahead of Al so he had a little ground to make up and Steve just squeaked through. Mark Sumner of Keltic seems to get stronger with age and he took 4th overall to win the 40+ race ahead of our remaining break mate, Gary Steinberg of Global Locate. It was a fun break to ride in and everyone worked well until about 4 to go when with the gap unthreatened at about 40 seconds, the other guys stopped doing much work, which they had every right to do with Al and I both up there. Mukunda took the field sprint for 6th, or 4th in the 30+ and Purdy, not liking sprints, particularly in the rain, didn't really contest, figuring to keep his powder dry for the 1/2/3 race later in the afternoon.
The event was quality and a lot of fun, and the community seemed supportive, so hats off once again to Dieter Drake and Andrew Bernstein for putting the race on.
The 1/2/3 race was canceled due to a tragic accident, and that really put things in perspective. I ended the day reminded on the one hand of just how insignificant the act of winning a bike race is, and at the same time feeling acutely how important it is to live fully in each moment you are granted.