Bike racing is a sport of traditions and history. Then history becomes legend, and when legend comes out of retirement, its reputation can be the undoing of its own status. This is the story of turn 2 and the Tufts Criterium.
When you roll up to the race course from the south side, the first things you notice are hay bales around turn 2, which is a downhill left hander where you could easily coast up to 35mph. Before our race started, they put another handful of bales on the posts that would become intimate with your face if you overcooked the corner. Its reputation is that it’ll make out with you, but won’t let you take it home. As you go around the course you also notice that the chicane is uphill, as well as a kicker between corners 5 and 6, followed by a false flat to the finish line. There weren’t many places on the course to hide from the wind. We were all anxious to be slaloming around this thing shoulder to shoulder after most of us had barely taken a fast corner since September, but that nervousness got everyone riding sensibly.
It started like a cross race. I traded in my front row start for 15th in line by not getting clipped in until after the first corner. Corner 2 went by without a hitch, and we managed to rail it around 28mph most times through. The kicker managed spread out the field in the first lap, and whoever you were with at the end of your first lap were your permanent suffer buddies. Mine were Adam from GLV, an NEBC, and some guy in a baby blue jacket with a gopro pompom on his helmet. For the first few laps we closed the gap to the lead group until baby blue started attacking. I’ve barely done anything harder than base training since August, so I was busy tasting blood and trying to keep lunch down. After a few attacks we let him go live in no man’s land.
The officials P&P’d our group a handful laps from the finish. It was the first race of the season for most of us. I managed a grumpy 15th place, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.