Ronde de Bethel 3/4

By: Dominic Caiazzo

I was terribly excited for this race from the moment I decided to do it about 40 hours earlier. Cold be damned, predictions of snow be damned. The idea of getting the first race out of the way before chasing the collegiate dream in a week was tempting and I wanted to know where my fitness was.

After layering up and going for a spin with Mike, the two of us lined up and got the whistle. Immediately, attacks started to go and even got a bit of daylight. I started to get nervous about a few of these, but remembered wise Sams advice to "sit on my hands longer than I thought necessary." My hands were cold, so this was sage advice. Several times I pushed the pace on the hill to feel out my legs and the field, and used this to move up each lap. I got into the rhythm of mixing it up near the front half of the peloton, and watched Mike do the same. At one point, a move of 4 or 5 guys was up the road, containing a Bethel Cycle guy and a Rockstar guy. Both of those teams were doing a solid job of controlling the chase. I watched Rockstar racers get on the front two wide, turn to each other and blatantly nod as they dropped the pace. Nobody is doing anything, so I come around them and take a big pull to chase before I remembered that I don't really like doing things like pulling the race around. I pull off and decide that I'm going to attack the hell out of this field when we get to 5 or 6 to go. My plan was to wait until the sprint for the last prime and then depart the pack immediately following.

After that move came back, there were 10 or 11 laps to go. With 9 to go, there is one man up the road and a Bethel guy closing the gap. I remembered how Bethel was controlling it earlier so I decide this could be a good one to roll with. I bridge up there, and we start cycling. This 3 man break lasts about 25 seconds. As I pull through, Bethel refuses to and mutters something incomprehensible. The other guy pulls through up the hill, and 100% sits up and stops pedaling going into turn 1. Mostly out of frustration, I drop my cassette and hit the turn as fast as I could and start stomping on the pedals. I now have a big gap to my two breakaway mates, and keep smashing. I come around the finish with 8 to go, and realize that 8 is a HUGE number and I've laid down my cards too early. I decide to go out in a ball of fire and start pedaling full gas. I remembered a saying, "out of sight, out of mind." I made my goal to get out of sight of the peloton, which is a big gap considering there is only 1 real turn on this course.

Dom at the 3/4About a lap and a half later, I can't see the field and KEEP SMASHING. Every time I come through the start/finish Sam, Cole, AJ and Dave are yelling that the gap is going out and that I should settle in. This seemed like a dangerous idea so I KEEP SMASHING. FULL GAS. I start thinking about how much I regret registering for the P123 immediately following this. With around 4 to go I start realizing I can stick this and KEEP SMASHING. The top of my head starts tingling. I don't really know what this means, but the sensation is taking the pain away from my lungs and legs. The back stretch with the headwind is where I really empty the tank. I never saw the field again until almost the end of my cool-down lap.

Last lap, I start smiling mid-SMASH and really pour it all out. I'm going to stick this in my first race of the year. One last look behind me up the hill, and I see no one! I cross the line to my shouting teammates with an idiot grin on my face, and put a fist in the air.