May 4, 2011

Training Race Report WW#8- 446 Loop

It was unseasonably cold but a group exceeding 40 riders made it to the first turn at the 446 loop training circuit tonight. It was fast and we were in good company with local pros Mike Sherer (Kelly Benefits), Ryan Knapp (Panther-testing his knee), and Eric Young (Bissell). The first half was a testament to their power and speed in a way that showed most of the field that the constant accelerations and attacks and counters indicate the depth of a rider and their currency as a pro. These wells runs deep, indeed. An initial break with Shanahan (Scholars Inn), fresh off a double W at Carmel this weekend proved that it wasn't a fluke. Ultimately, Shanahan, Young, Sherer and Atwell (Scholars Inn) escaped midway and the field was unable to bridge despite excellent efforts by Tom Cox (Aldefer), Chris Kroll (CFW), Ren-Jay Shei and Fred Rose (Scholars Inn) and Chris West (Sustainable Cycling). With 2 two to go (after Sherer won the coveted Bakehouse Granola prime and Eric elected to leave the leaders) the group began to come back to the chasers through the constant attacks of Shanahan and Atwell, trying to shake Sherer off the scent, but it was not to be. Sherer went on to win in front of a small crowd that had assembled at the finish to see the final effort. Saccone (Scholars Inn) led Pilling out to the 200 mark but the train assembled behind was well established and had many teams represented. I didn't see the field finish, but Cox and Kroll appeared to be side by side at the line. Corrections and eye witness accounts welcome!

On a side note, and not an unimportant one, we had a crash tonight. One of the young riders in the group went down on 446 at the entrance to the climb. It appeared to be a single bike event as we saw when we came around again with one to go. Thankfully, a small chase group connected with the rider and a couple in the back of the main field turned around, giving up their training to help someone in need-for that we are grateful. But it points to a larger issue, one of the inevitabilities of bike racing. This is a demanding sport that requires cat-like reflexes and split-second decisions, and a good measure of luck. The specter of crashing follows us at every corner, in every sprint, at each crossroad. This crash was no one's fault- it was just a dark and perfectly timed event where speed and desperation were in the crosshairs as the group came together after a series of splits- a lottery where no one wins. But we all must learn from these events too. Not overlapping wheels, not following too closely, having the fitness to stay solidly on a wheel. Even when all of these happen, we still can crash, but our odds are greatly improved. Bike racers are not known for their cautious approach to the sport, but racing a bicycle demands our complete attention. We wish you a speedy recovery.

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