By Dennis Pedersen
Do my 10×1-minute intervals and get heartburn, or enter a short, hard bike race. Choices, choices. I decided to race instead, in Morgan Hill on this gorgeous holiday, with Vlada and John for company.
The first few laps on this flat criterium course were pretty fast, but we did get... well, no slow laps, but a few that were less fast. Even though we averaged about 26 MPH I stayed pretty well positioned the first 30 minutes.
With about 10 minutes remaining a break of about 10 guys formed. I'm tired of sitting in and watching others make bold moves, so I decided to join them. I eluded some guys blocking (their presence was a good sign the break might stay away) and quickly started bridging up. One guy followed my wheel but then drifted back, so I put my head down and went alone.
I was pretty blown out when I reached the break, maybe half a lap later, but soon managed to take my turns in the paceline rotation, such as it was. Problem was, only three of us (me, a Morgan Stanley and a Whole Foods rider) really pitched in while the rest hung back to stay fresh for the sprint... but first we had to stay away for that to even matter. Come on guys, work!
Our pace slowed with just three pulling, and as you might imagine, we got caught by others bridging up. More joined us, with guys like Larry Nolan moving around me with 1.5 laps to go. We were mostly all together again. Darn. You have to make breaks work, not hope others will do it for you, but at least we strung the pack out a little.
As we wound up for the final sprint I was still blown out from my pulls, so I just held my speed and watched the pack go. Not surprisingly, guys who weren't visible in the break did best. My friend Chris took 9th after sitting in. I was 25th, Vlada took 27th, John 33rd.
Anyway, it was much more fun to go for it than just watch and wait. Good, clean racing!