Johnny Cake Lane Road Race
March 27, 2004

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Race Report
by Scott Demel

scottDon and I made the long but manageable drive north to our destination just outside of Albany for a race hosted by the Capital Bicycle Racing Club (CBRC).  It was an overcast day with relatively dry roads.  Temperature was in the lo50s at the start with a strong north wind on final straight(s).  The course was a fairly flat 7 laps of a 6 mile circuit on local farm roads with shallow dips at water crossings and one short (power) climb.  We rode the combined 4/5 field with 72 riders starting.                                                
The 1st lap was quite slow but gave us a nice warm-up.  The pace picked up on lap 2.  I managed to stay near front for entire day.  There were a couple crashes we were lucky to miss plus riders were slowly being shelled off back as the race progressed.  I felt comfortable with pace, even with the occasional surges, and was eager and ready to cover all moves.  Lots of CBRC guys seemed to keep pace at their liking (of course, it was their own sponsored race!).
I went with a couple early break attempts that fizzled, Don and I even got off the front with 2 other guys from another team.  However, those riders quit working with us, so we quit too, and all of us went back into the pack.  While covering later breaks I found myself starting to solo off the front 2 other times.  On both occasions I stopped working and integrated back into field.                                                    
No one was brave enough to attempt the winds individually or with a small group.  With most riders still developing fitness in this early season race, it would have been tough to stay away.  I followed the cue of the locals who knew the course and had raced in here in previous weeks by keeping sheltered from the wind with the protection of the main field.  If a break did look threatening, CBRC would shut it down (they lots of riders to do it).
On the final lap I was staying near the front and expected a surge on the short climb (2+ miles out) but nothing too substantial happened.  I was happy to just sit in.  Took final right-hand sweeper of the main circuit on the outside, about 8 positions back.  The turn onto the finishing straight was less than 200m away, a 90 degree left-hand turn off the circuit and straight into the wind.
Johnny Cake FinishI was positioned on *the* inside of that last turn, as tight as possible.  Coming out of it, the entire field was hit by that incredible head wind and fanned out across the entire roadway to my right flank.  In that split-second, I decided it was time: "GO!"  I did.  I got a good jump of several bike lengths before anyone could get organized.  Was it too far, too early? (it was 350-400m to the line)  Probably, but it seemed like a gamble worth taking.  It was only open road to the neon orange "Finish" sign.
My motor was in full swing with rpm's nearing the redline.  My head dropped as I suffered but it gave me a nice upside-down view of the roadway behind.  Finally, I saw a rider catch on to me.  I was fading and he came around at the last moment, beating me by a wheel.

2nd Place.  Regardless, no disappointments.                                                    

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