Written by Mike Benson Wednesday, 01 August 2018 00:00
Situated in northwest Connecticut is a 1.5 mile race track designed for car racing. The course promoter sets up the racing in the opposite direction that the cars race. The loop has 7 turns with one quick uphill and a long downhill before a series of sweeping turns before returning to the start/finish stretch. The facilities at the venue are terrific. Bathrooms and showers are available. The race track’s pavement is smooth and silky.
When I arrived in the morning, I was greeted by rain showers and temps in the high 50’s. Warming up in the rain meant trying to keep my shoes and race kit as dry as possible. When I was done warming, I needed another 15 minutes in my truck warming up before the race. My fingers and toes were frozen.
At the start line for the category 4 race, I looked around trying to see if there would be enough team support for certain riders to help take them to the finish line. Luckily, most racers would be in it for themselves. For me, this would only be my 11th USA sanctioned road race so I was hoping to find some lessons on the day that could help with my pack racing ability. As we took off following a neutral support motorcycle, the rain really started to come down. I had set up my Schwalbe Pro One tires tubeless (80psi front / 85 psi rear).
My goal for the first couple laps was to see how I could move back and forth in the pack. At the hill, I tried to be at the front and drift back so as not to burn all my matches here. At the top of the hill, on every lap, everyone bared down hard to be the first othe descent. For most, this is where most hoped a break would form. During the race, 2 or 3 breaks did form that were all reeled back in. After the hill, racers flew through several sweepers and then were hit with a huge headwind at the finish straight. Twice during the race, I found myself pulling at this point. This was not a smart plan at all. This was an area you wanted to shelter and be ready for the stretch before the hill. If not, you would be gassed at the climb.
On the last lap, we hit the last hill and everyone really pushed hard. I ended up hitting the hill around 5th to see a break going up the road. I hit the gas and ended up at the front of the group by the time we hit the sweepers. I looked back and everyone was gapped behind me. With one racer off the front, I quickly reeled him in and decided to stay on the front and try to solo away. Well, that didn’t work, and I was caught at the finish stretch with 50 meters to go. I finished 11/32 in the sprint finish. I would highly recommend putting this venue on your list of 2019. As of now, I believe they moved the race to the first weekend in June. I will be back.
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