The town of Goshen, Indiana has "First Friday" festivals. They shut down the streets, and local businesses set up tents. There's food, drink, merriment and happiness. This month, there was a bike race.
|The vendors and crowd at the race|
|The crowd was 3 or 4 deep along the finishing straight and the first corner.|
Last year I did this one and really blew it...I bridged to the winning break, and right when I was on the tail end of it I freaked out because I was crosseyed from the effort and thought I saw something in the road because it was already dark out. I overcooked it around a turn, crashed (solo) and had to take a free lap and ended up back in the main field. This year I was looking for a good result. I'm in the middle of finals, which is a 2 week period where I cant ride much, so it's important to get in a good race so my legs don't turn to spaghetti. The field was somewhat substantial and had some fast riders this year.
Basically, the pace stayed pretty high with only like 10 minutes of "slow" dispersed throughout the race. I spent a lot of energy closing gaps down from riders that couldn't handle the pace, but a lot of guys seemed to catch back on. Some guys just can't corner I think. I got sort of annoyed with some team tactics people were doing, like "blocking" at the front when they're really letting a 20 rider break go (that's called being off the back, dude), and blocking, but then trying to bridge solo to the break and bringing the field up to the break. Didn't really hurt me any but I just thought it was weird.
A few times, promising groups split off the front. I made it in to about half of the more dangerous splits, but nobody had the legs to take advantage by attacking once the rubberband broke so guys kept catching back on. With 3 to go it was all together. I moved up into the top five assuming that one of the teams would start a leadout, but these teams aren't exactly Team Sky so the field kept churning and I ended up 20 spots back. Then a crash happened right in front of me, but I got around it (I think I was the last guy to do so). There was a split and I was on the tail end of the lead group. I tried to punch it a few times but somebody who is competent was at the front so I couldn't make up ground in the turns like I usually do. So I rolled in for what was apparently 14th on the provisional results, but I could have sworn there were more guys in that group. I definitely would have been more aggressive if I knew that was it.
Anyway thanks again to the town of Goshen. It really is a nice place. I'd HIGHLY recommend Chicago riders make the 2 hour drive out. There are lower category races with the same crowds. Rarely do Cat 5s through 3s get to race among crowds three deep (rarely do Pro riders too come to think of it) so it's worth the experience.