Submitted by Joseph Reis
I raced both the Cat 3/4 and Pro/1/2/3 races at the Norwell Circuit race on 7/31. This is an interesting event as it is somewhere between a long crit and an extremely short circuit race. Whatever you want to call it, it is a fun 2.3 mile course featuring a finish perched atop a pretty decent wall and a fast downhill on the backside. The race speeds are generally high due to these characteristics. The goal for these events was mainly to see how the mid-summer legs were.
I arrived at the venue a little late only to find that I had a flat. I had just enough time to change the flat and jump into the staging area so I was discombobulated and not exactly ready for this first race (the 3/4). I decided that I was going to try my best and use the race as a warm-up for the Pro/1/2/3 later in the afternoon. This was a good plan as I soon found that the legs were a bit blocked and didn’t have any pop. I just sat in and basically watched a typical 3/4 race unfold- the pace was high at first, there were lots of surges, the pace slowed down to next to nothing, a few attacks went with nothing getting away, and finally the pace picked up for the last lap with a number of crashes. There was a crash on the last corner that I narrowly missed, but unfortunately I had to take the inside line and lost all of my momentum coming into the final hill. I dug my best and finished 18th. I wasn’t too worried though since I would be racing again in about 2hrs.
The time gap between the races gave me a chance to go for a spin and get my legs opened. By the time I got back from my ride, the staging for the second race was starting. I jumped in and before I knew it, the neutral start had begun. The first few laps seemed harder than they should have been as my legs were still coming back, but after about five laps into the 13 lap race, the legs started to feel better. I moved towards the front and started to look for the stronger riders to follow and my legs seemed to feel stronger on the hill each lap. About three laps from the finish, I found myself at the back getting one last rest and realized that a large number of the riders had been dropped as the peloton was much smaller. I knew that I had to get back to the front and did so as the tempo started to go up.
Next thing I knew, I was latching onto wheels for the last lap. I tried following some sketchy moves on the downhill and almost got into good position, but the pack ballooned on the flats and I was pushed back. I had one more chance to get to the front about a kilometer out and I put everything I had to getting up front. I was sitting in pretty good position, but I had moved too soon and the pack ballooned once again. It was too late to move up again as the final turn was within seconds. I hit the corner on the inside once again and came in with the pack for 29th. The legs were there, but the positioning was not.
The results weren’t necessarily there this weekend, but the goal was to see how the legs would respond to repeated efforts. The heat had been a bit of an issue as it was in the mid-nineties, but after a couple of hours of riding and getting my legs opened, the body was feeling pretty good. Overall, I had a great time racing and I found that my legs were still there after roughly 75 miles of riding throughout the afternoon so I was happy.