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Dropping a deuce on Ronald Reagan

By Luke Seemann | Sep 21, 2009

Race name: Ronald Reagan Criteirum
Race date: Saturday, Sep 19, 2009

People really missed out by skipping the Ronald Reagan Criterium. Great course, great organization, perfect weather. I hope it returns next year.

This would be my first race as a Cat 2. Even though my races were 1/2/3, it felt like a mini coming-out party. And with Bryce Mead from Jelly Belly there, I believe this was my first race against an actual pro. Neat.

First race was the masters 1/2/3. Small field with only 14. I laid low and paid close attention to a few known horses, including Chris Mosora and Scott Pearson, whom I knew would be good candidates to break away with.

The first few laps were pretty slow, and I was eager to get things started. After a Proctor rider went off the front, I set off to bridge, mostly just to break the tedium. I didn’t expect anything to stick, but hopefully it could set up a series of attacks and I could stay on the good side of them.

I was almost across when a Mack rider made his way up to me and the two of us worked together to finish the bridge. Thanks no doubt to some Proctor blocking in the pack, the three of us worked well together and slowly built our lead. 20 seconds. 30 seconds. 40 seconds. The figure-eight course was fantastic for gauging our progress. Each time through the center nexus we could see the chase on the other side, and this helped us know whether our gap was growing or not. When we could finally see them no more we know we were off for good.

With five to guy I went into win-this-race mode. Started grunting and massaging my calves to make the others think I was cramping and weakening. I put in a few attacks, especially after Proctor came off pulls, because I felt he was the strongest, but I couldn’t shake either of them.

Starting the final lap, Proctor let Mack get a gap. I declined to come around, and he continued to slow. I knew he was just playing, hoping to get me to pull the rest of the way, so I waited until he was blowing a snot rocket and jumped around the other side.

I gapped him and made my way up to Mack—which is where I made my first big mistake. In a situation like this, you always want to ride right through the person. Catch them by surprise and fly right by. Instead, I sat on his wheel for just a bit. When I attacked him in Turn 6, he was able to get on me. Down the long straightaway, we engaged in cat-and-mouse. I tried to shake-and-brake but I could not get behind him.

Meanwhile, Proctor took advantage and zipped past both of us. And that’s where I made my second mistake, getting so focused on Mack that I didn’t pick a good line in Turn 7. I had to brake, which let Mack get ahead, and although I gained on him in the final straight, I ran out of road. 10 more meters and I would have had him, but instead I had to settle for my classic last in the break.

An hour later was the P/1/2/3. A break went off on the second lap and I missed it. I tried to get some chase groups going, but I wasn’t able to get clear. I was cooking myself pretty good in the effort and starting to think about the next day’s cyclocross. After about 30 minutes I pulled the plug, lest I be totally fried for Jackson Park. Instantly I regretted it, because soon thereafter the break lapped the field, and I wish I’d stayed in to see how I’d fare in the race’s “second race.”

Oh well. A profitable day, a fun race, and a successful 2 debut.

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