Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Dunnigan Again and Again
The plan was carefully scripted by the M45+ 4/5 (Old and Slow) team - hammer the field with our numbers and get Fred to the line for our 3rd consecutive Dunnigan Hills win. Looking at the photo above you'd think everything went as planned.
With the winds coming strong from the North, it looked like this could be one time when the field at Dunnigan could be shattered. Lee and Nelson took on the first attacks about 5 miles into the race. A few others without any team mates made a few attacks but as usual nothing was sticking. John S and I were going to wait until we hit the second North Wind section about 15 miles into the race but we both got a bit itchy and tried a few attacks early on. Others must have been feeling the same. Somewhere in the first half of the race, Will and Fred took a flyer - this was definitely not in the playbook. They got a nice gap for a time but as usual everything was chased down.
As we turn right onto Hwy 4 for the second North wind section I launch a serious attack. I look back and see big Bob Miller from Synergy chasing it down. This is what we want big guy...burn those matches. I keep hammering until they close the gap. I take a short break and try again, this time with a Webcor guy with me. We take a few pulls but big Bob chases us down again. My legs are toast.
We're just a few miles from Hwy 99 and the tailwind that will take us home. I'm drifting toward the back focusing on Fred's wheel and trying to not get gapped. "Just recover enough so you can help at the end," I think. I can barely see the front of the peleton but it looks like a group is off (with Dan?) and big Bob chasing again. We're really moving with Dan pushing the pace up front. Gaps are forming with Tom, Will, Fred and I at the back moving up methodically - Tom giving me some shelter at a critical point.
With 4 miles we're approaching the front of the peleton when Lee launches.
John S. asks "Where's Fred?"
"On my wheel!"
At the silo 3 miles from the finish Lee is caught and John S. attacks with 2 others (Webcor?). As John is attacking we get our train lined up with me at the front. I look over my left shoulder and see a blue and yellow jersey on my wheel but then ORANGE AND BLUE AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE! Suddenly my legs feel strong and I'm thinking I can keep this tempo and bring these guys to the final right turn and they can deliver FRED FOR THE WIN! A guy comes on my right but there's no way he's coming around. We catch John and his break (oops! did I just chase down my own guy?).
I take a quick look back to make sure we're still lined up and......what? I've gapped the blue and yellow jersey. At first I think "Crap! our train is busted! Do I slow to re-group? Nah, make the non-DBC bastards chase you."
2-mile marker. Look back and the gap has grown. Speedo says 31..30..push..31 (love this tailwind!).
1-mile marker. Look back and the gap is holding. Just make it to the turn and hope you can get over the overpass.
You know they're coming...keep those cranks moving up the overpass. Now, once more down to the finish. One final look back, to see the pack closing fast. "Gooooo!" is all I hear and I know it's gotta be Fred.
I cross the finish line first without having to sprint - couldn't have anyway - and turn to see a flood of Blue and Orange crossing the line. AWESOME! And no one's more excited about my win than Fred.
So compare this picture of some FAB to the one at the top and guess who won.