It was a special day at Wells, as all proceeds from the race went to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Even all primes and prize money was returned by the riders and added to the charity fund. Boston Road Club and all the riders who were at the race today showed the true spirit of humanity.
In between the pre and post-race tidings of good will, there was a bike race. With the cold snap (40*F) continuing to bedevil the riders who want nothing more now than to let the sun touch their bare legs, added with a blustery headwind gusting down the finishing stretch, the race was on from the gun, as riders sped up the road, half in an attempt to breakaway, half in the attempt to shake off the shivers.
It was a typical spring race with a big field, lots of team representation, and some of the best of the best of area riders trying to put the hurt on each other. For Velocite, it was Mark and Thad who showed up to ride bikes.
Some early moves got away for a few laps at a time, which both Mark and Thad were able to attach too, but with speeds in excess of 30mph for a good portion of the first half of the race, all attacks were doomed to be reeled back into the pack.
With just over 25 laps to go, a dangerous trio sped away, containing the ever-strong Peter Bell of the Met-Life squad. The pack behind chased, sat up, chased again, sat up again, a few small groups went up the road and were brought back, some fist-fights nearly broke out at 28mph, twitchy moves had riders ramming their handlebars into the asses of the riders in front of them, all of which made for some dicey and nervous riding.
With three laps remaining, the pack finally sorted out its differences and was able to work together to shut down the break. The next lap was punctuated by riders moving around and struggling to get near the front for the final drag race to the finish.
At half a lap to go, Thad was in second position when the rider in front of him pulled off. All seemed lost. But luckily one rider jumped out of the field and attacked. Seeing no one chasing after him, Thad sprinted up to his wheel, but as soon as he attached while rounding turn three, the rider sat up. A quick glance back revealed a 2 second gap, so with a long, long 500 meters still remaining, it was all or nothing. Time to sprint like you want to give yourself a heart-attack!
With less than 10 feet before crossing the line, it looked like Velocite would take its first win of the year, but Met-Life rider and previous day’s winner of the pro race at Ninigret Park, Luciano Pavan, pulled even with Thad, and as the two threw their bikes at the line in a desperate lunge for the win, the final result went to Pavan by a mere tire width. Oh so close!
Mark had his best result in years as he stayed near the front and dusted off his sprinting legs to fly in for an awesome 8th place.
No complaints from the boys today as the comeback continues in the early season. But more importantly, on a day when our cycling community remembered the victims of the Boston bombing and the week of events that subsequently unfolded, racing results were only secondary on everybody’s mind – being able to return home to our loved ones after race was the ultimate prize, as it always should be. This should kept in mind, should never be taken for granted, and should place bike racing where it belongs – in the category of fun activities, nothing more, nothing less.
Congrats to Met-Life for riding a great race! And a special thanks to BRC for giving back to the community!