by Andrew Berstein
BVF was out in force this morning to race in unseasonable cold weather. We were represented by Scott, Adam, Chris, Jonathan Podwil, Jonathan O'Brien, Brett, Joel, Daniel and D. Mark (in his first cat 4 race), and I. Before the race the ten of us discussed our strategy for the day. Scott was looking to do well in the prime sprints (it turned out that there weren't any), and the rest of us would be either looking to get up the road in a break, preferably in pairs, or looking to take control of the race if it came down to a field sprint. We unquestionably had the largest team in the race, but Kissena, Setanta, and Organic Athlete also had large teams. There were a lot of attacks in the first few laps, many of which were either initiated by or marked by BVF riders. In the first 6 laps almost all of us had been up the road at one point or another.
At the end of the sixth lap a rider who had been off the front came back and I counter-attacked through the start/ finish. J O-B bridged up to me at the base of the hill and dragged a handful of riders with him. At the crest of the climb Brett bridged up and brought another two riders with him. Jon fell off the pace and went back into the group leaving a group of six riders dangling off the front, with Brett and I representing BVF. We worked well together through the whole lap, gradually building a margin. I had everyone hit the gas up the climb on the next lap, which increased our margin to the field, but unfortunately dropped Brett and two others. I was left with an unattached rider and the guy who usually races in a Poland jersey, but was wearing a Bianchi kit today. Back in the field everyone was working hard to break up the race's rhythm and block, which was proving effective as our margin began to grow.
The three of us worked well together through the next three laps and seemed to have a comfortable margin on our last trip up the hill, but by the top of the decent the field was gaining as the sprinters were getting hungry to beat us to the line. At that point we all knew that we'd be toasted for the sprint, so we put our heads down and took short, hard pulls down the hill and by the puddle, nursing a dwindling margin. With about 1k to go we dropped the unattached dude, and with about 300m to go I slipped off of the Poland dude's wheel. I kept riding as hard as I could and crossed the line second. The field came in about 2 seconds later. Scott and Adam were attempting to set up for the sprint, but got their wires crossed and missed out on the top ten.
On the whole it was a great race. Everyone rode really well, and showed that we're capable of using a fluid plan. We were all communicating really well with each other, and playing to each other's strengths (ie, Brett bridging up the hill, Scott setting up Adam for the sprint). This was my first non-collegiate podium, so thank you all for doing what you could to help my break stay away.