As witnessed by the last week of the Giro, Mother Nature has yet to relinquish her grip on old man winter. The scene was barely different in Boston this weekend, with temps slightly high enough to keep the downpouring rain in liquid form, but nonetheless sustaining less-than-ideal conditions for racing.
Mark and Thad had planned on driving 5 hours to contest the Westside Ride, a 35 year old race that circumnavigates Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine and is perhaps one of the most scenic races in all of New England, if not the entire East Coast. However, due to the horrific weather conditions, the race was scrapped just as the duo were about to embark on their journey north.
Luckily, the Wells Ave criterium was still on for Sunday, in spite of the rain that continued to fall at a steady pace throughout the registration process. But like Moses parting the seas with his staff, when the Velocite bikes came off Mark’s roof rack, the precipitation suddenly subsided.
By the start start of the race, temperatures remained very low while the wind stayed high, proving that wool caps and long fingered gloves had not yet seen their last duty of the year. This meant that riders were eager to get off to a quick start in order to warm their bodies. Several moves went up the road in quick succession within the opening dozen laps, with Mark and Thad successfully covering everything that looked even slightly dangerous. Despite several attempts by different riders to leave their cold weather companions behind, by 12 to go all were once again reunited.
It was at this point that Mark took a flier off the front. He established a quick gap, and his timing was perfect, as the next time around the bell rang for a nice cash prime. Mark easily snatched the purse and half a lap later was finally reeled in by a field ready to prepare itself for the sprint.
The bell lap was kept at a high pace, and coming around the final turn into a blasting headwind whipping down the finishing stretch, patience was the strategy for success. Many riders went early, and it was only with 100 meters to go that Thad was able to slingshot out of a rider’s draft, squeeze through the narrow opening on the inside curb and hit the line first. Mark, still feeling the effects of his earlier efforts, rolled in mid-pack.
For Velocite, it was the first victory of the year, and for Thad, his first win since the fateful day of last July 22nd. For Mark, it was his first attempt at a solo break and first time at having his daring-do pay dividends. Hopefully the team can now keep this inertia going, and as for Mother Nature, let’s hope she heard our curses and stops treating us so coldly.