Mid February in the Mid-Atlantic means only one thing, the racing season has descended upon us, or at least those few hardcore enough to think racing in 30 degree temps is actually fun. The past few weeks haven't been great with getting on the bike, between work and illness I haven't logged too many miles and my meat and potatoes workout Friday night was more SPAM than prime rib leaving me a bit nervous about throwing a leg over my bike in anger this weekend.
I decided I would go ahead and give it a go at Tradezone today. I registered for the B race with the intent of also racing the A if my legs felt good. Having not raced much on the road lat year, I'm at a loss as to who is hot and who is not. All I knew is that a while back my teammate Kyle said Route 1 Velo was putting together a formidable Cat3 squad. Well, if that was their squad we went up against today, then I don't think we're going to be too worried although right now we do lack a top notch sprinter. To make a long story short, we dominated the race, Kyle and I patrolled the from the start launching attacks, chasing down breaks or just generally putting a hurt on the field. It's a great thing when you take a hard pull, ook back to see the field strung out then for laughs flick the arm for someone to pull through and no one can. I seem to remember that several times and it was always a couple of Route 1 guys looking at each other.
Close to midway through the race we ended up setting up HEF for a break. No sooner did I ask him if he wanted me to reel in a small break up the road and he said "no, not yet", did Kyle roll up next to me, smile and say "let's go". Kyle shut down the break, I pulled through to keep the pace up and HEF launched an attack that brought two others with him. At that point Kyle, Lance and I just controlled the pace letting them build up a lead. I really thought he had it but the combination of a prime lap ramping up the chase and the rest of the break blowing up around him, about 6 laps later and HEF was left to either attempt to stay away solo for 6 more laps or go back, sit in and rest up for the sprint. He opted for sitting up and waiting. Kyle and Lance both tried solo fliers but nothing stuck so it was down to the sprint. I got filtered back in the pack before the final turn and tried going wide but had to scrub a lot of speed to keep from ending up in the median but still manage to salvage it for a top 10 finish while HEF pulled out 4th after narrowly avoiding being taken out by the 3rd place rider who deciced he needed to sweep from left to right just before the line for no apparent reason. He actually clipped the wheel of the rider in front of me who miraculously managed to not dump it going 35mph. That would not have been a good way to start the season.
Not really feeling like I had raced or really even ridden, I decided to do the A race but unfortunately registration had closed. Maybe next week. Otherwise I fell pretty good about today, it wasn't a taxing race, my recovery between hard efforts was good, just need to start working in the intensity. Today was also a good test of the team, even though it was just a couple of us I think we clicked pretty well for this early in the season and things can only get better.