Purgatory Road Race

Here’s Pat’s report from Purgatory:

I lined up for the 4s race in Sutton MA with Kolie, Brendan, Shafiq, and Tod. I don’t think we’ve had this many folks at a race since Battenkill. With a full squad we were ready to show the field who’s boss. The race was an 11 mile lap with a nice easy winding descent, a few flat miles, followed by a mile or so at a shallow 2% grade, and then a nice extended climb to the finish with a few steep sections, which flattens out to a 1-2% grade to in the last couple hundred meters to the line.

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Kolie waiting in the wings to cause some hurt (Credit Katie Busick)

We lined up right and the front and sat on the back of the lead car for the first 2 miles of neutral. Rare for our races thus far, this neutral section was actually very neutral, the car was going ~15 mph and not letting us pass. But as soon as the race was on Kolie got on the front and started plugging away. Sitting on his wheel as we took the descent was nice – picked up some speed and for once did not descend like a parachute. I told Kolie to get off the front, he demurred. To discourage this disobedience I got off his wheel and moved back a few spots. He stuck there a few minutes longer, so I yelled at him to get off the front. Apparently some of the other 4s found this amusing. Shafiq followed this up with an attack on the far left side of the road, quickly neutralized by the moto ref for disobeying the yellow line rule. But he wasn’t relegated, so free boost up the field! Then up the climb, nothing fancy.

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Shafiq on the right side of the yellow line (credit to Katie Busick)

Lap 2 – Shortly after the climb Scott from Ten Speed Spokes attacked solo and garnered a solid 30s advantage for a good deal of time. Scott from NCC got on the front just before the descent and helped chase him down. One more time up the climb.

Lap 3 – I don’t recall what happened. Someone else attacked. I was sitting near the front with Zsolt from BCC, we concluded that his hairy legs merited no chasing. The attacker hung out there for awhile, until Scott from NCC finished him off and then dissolved back into the pack. Up the climb Zsolt and I made it difficult, but failed to sustain a gap after the corner, and opted to sit back in.

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Pat making things difficult (credit Katie Busick)

Lap 4 – Scott from Ten Speed Spokes attacked again. Nobody wanted to chase. He had 30s, then 45s, then was totally out of sight. Nobody wanted to chase. I was a bit concerned, given than he won Ninigret on a break, and word from Newport is he was still riding strong. Nobody else cared. “You’re on Community, you guys chase” said someone. Well, apparently we have garnered enough respect for others to expect us to do the hard work. Alas, teammates were not to be found. I did some more yelling. A few people pulled through, I took a couple pulls. We just about nailed Scott down went Kolie appeared and told me to stop doing work. Sold! See Kolie, I follow directions. Shortly thereafter there was a slight rise and I opened up a gap with Zsolt, Scott from NCC, and two others. We had a decent little gap and pacelined it for while, but the two others were not up to snuff and slowing on their pulls. We were caught. In retrospect, we probably should have attacked the break and made it a three man group. We could have stuck it. Alas, not meant to be.

Shortly thereafter Kolie got on the front and kept the pace high. I sat pretty right on his wheel while he made the field hurt. This strategy was successful in causing pain, but unfortunately caused Kolie some pain as well and he had to drop back a mile or two from the base of the final climb.

I went into the base of the climb 2nd or 3rd wheel, with Ryan from Green Line Velo shouting words of encouragement from his volunteer road-guard spot. Much appreciated Ryan, but you really should have been 1000m up the road, when I really need the encouragement. Scott from NCC jumped off the front immediately at the base of the climb and opened up a 20m gap in short order. The rest of us stayed together, unconvinced he could hold it or unable to chase. We kept the pace high. I got swamped by 4 guys, then another two or three passed me.  At this point I was going as hard as I could, I think. Didn’t react, but kept going. Nobody else passed me. The road flattened out (1-2% grade), and I started sprinting, if you can call going really hard seated in the hoods sprinting. Computer says I was going in excess of 30mph for the last 25s of the race. Didn’t feel that fast, but I passed 3-4 people for 5th. Scott stuck his lead, with the rest of us finishing in the same time right on his heels (including Scott’s NCC Thom, who is perpetually doing a better job than me at staying out of the wind).

Not the the podium we were hoping for, but this was a strong field and a hard course, so I’ll take it.  It was great to see the rest of the 4s recognize Community’s continued strong results this year and see us as a real force to be reckoned with. Thanks to Green Line Velo for again doing a great job of organizing one of the best road races in New England. Next up, Berkshires!

 

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