This past weekend we had an exciting weekend of racing down South. With out further ado, here's how it went down!
On Friday afternoon, we all met at the shed at about 1:30 and packed up the van as per usual. Then we hit the road for our destination for the road race, Barnesville, MD. Luckily, Schlichty *finally* got his university license, which was a nice break for me. When we arrive, we unpacked and settled into our hotel rooms. One of the first observations we made about the hotel room, however, was that there was no water in the hot tub. Sad! Then we went to scout out the road race course for the next day. All in all, it didn't look too bad, but there were some pretty rough road surfaces on the final stretch. We were all just really happy that it was so flat compared to what we are used to. Once we were done with that, we rolled back into Barnesville and grubbed on some pre-race chipotle. One might think Chipotle is a questionable pre-race choice, but trust me, it works wonders (provided you have some coffee the next morning). Since we arrived fairly early, we had plenty of time to chill for the rest of the evening. Max and I chose to knock out some homework and Eli and Schlicht watched some show that involved "baby geese throwing themselves off cliff-sides" 🤔 you'll have to ask them about that one.
The next morning we were up bright and early for Max's 7:55am start in the Men's D race. We got the race, setup, made sure Max got to the line (with a FIRE Dave Board - which we were too late to show him, unfortunately), and then looked at each other as to figure out what to do for the next 8 hours before we raced! So naturally, we decided to ride out to the course to watch Max tear it up. The rest drove and I rode my bike (which was a mistake), but thankfully the rest gave me a ride back. Overall, Max looked really strong. It was kind of an odd race because they combined the Men's C and D fields, but Max held his own in the mixed competition, and came out with an eighth place finish.
We then reconvened at the van and fired up the grill. We feasted on some burgers and dogs (another questionable pre-race fuel decision - but it also worked out pretty well) and then chilled out for the rest of the afternoon. Max and Eli found a football and spent a good hour throwing it a basketball to see who could get it through the hoop first. Eli eventually got it and then celebrated so hard that he tired himself out. The rest of the afternoon was preeeetty uneventful so we will just skip to the Men's B race at 4:20PM.
The race was nothing short of strange. At the line, the moto made it **very** clear to us that there would "OnLy Be FiVe LaPs In ThE rAcE" but then as soon as we came around for the first lap the lap counter said six laps to go (?????) Obviously there was some miscommunication between the refs and officials and it all made us a little bit confused as to what to do tactic wise. Of course Eli decided it would be a good idea to SMASH the first downhill section on the course, which I will be honest wasn't the worst idea. It got everyone on their toes and set the tone for the race that we would not be poking at it. The first five laps were just like that. Every couple miles, someone would attack, sit up, and then we would chill. Eli, Schlicht and I took some turns testing the waters but just tried to stay smart for the most part. Then in the final lap (which was actually lap 7, not lap 5), the attacks got more real. At the end of the downhill section at the beginning of the lap, I found myself 5-10 seconds on the front. I (for whatever reason) decided to burn way more matches than I needed to and try and stay off the front, but eventually got reabsorbed a few minutes later. As a result, I had nothing to give into the sprint finish, but Schlicht sure did. He timed it just right and blitzed up the road to nab third place. Eli and I rolled in with the pack, both pretty dead from earlier attacks. We were all pretty pleased with the way the race went, though! It felt like for the first time, we were actually working together in a race which made it so fun.
|Someone attacked at the end of lap 5 and then bailed because they thought they won and Andrew and I were not ready for the attack 😂|
Once the races were over, we quickly packed up the van and gathered our belongings to head to the Schlicht's house. After a quick round of showers, we gathered in the dining room for the moment we had all been waiting for, Mama Schlicht's amazing Baked Ziti! I wish I could describe how good it is, but words just don't do it any justice. It's nothing short of amazing! We then slipped into a Ziti coma and rested up for the next day's Criterium.
Out of all of the races we do throughout the season, the one at UMD is by far my favorite. It's flat, technical, and there's always a great crowd of spectators to cheer you on. Oh and not to mention the beautiful weather! Max was the first one to race. After a sold warmup, we got him to the line and delivered yet another FIRE Dave Board. I guess it worked, because Max ended up taking third in the race! It came down to a field sprint with a small group and he laid down the hammer on the last turn and got third! I think it's time for someone to upgrade for sure.
|The Dave Board!|
At just past noon, the Men's B race lined up. This race was nothing short of a blast. We didn't really talk too much about team tactics before the race, but they just sort of ended up developing naturally. Eli, Schlicht and I were patrolling the field, taking pulls, attacking in smart places, and helping each other stay up at the front. It was so cool to see how working with just two other people can make a difference in a race and definitely a great learning experience going into the rest of the season. Throughout the early stages of the race, we managed to take 1st or 2nd on every single prime as well! The real race did not start until about 2-3 labs to go. There was a kid from Wake Forest in the field who we knew from the day before was really strong and stealthy. We made sure to keep an eye on him because an attack was imminent. I stayed in the front with Eli and Schlicht followed right behind us. And sure enough, just as the bell rang for the final lap, the Wake Forest kid launched it into a right hand turn. Eli, a UMD rider, and I followed suit. Eli cut the turn just a little too tight and went off the road, so he unfortunately missed the break. The rest of the lap, I focused on maintaining contact and cornering quickly, knowing that Schlicht was in the main group. After a quick left turn followed by a right turn, the three of launched it into the final turn. I swung out on the inside and saw a chance to lay down the power and try to make it to the final corner first and sure enough it paid off! I hit the turn just right and hung on for the win! It was such an exciting feeling. Schlicht came in right behind our group of three to take fourth place. It was a really solid weekend for him! Eli eventually caught back on to the back of the group and finished eighth. I really wished he could have been in our group going into the last lap, I think he could have placed really well.
|Schlichty on the front hitting the smoothest lines through the corners|
|No better feeling!|
|Eli getting a finger wag for jumping the curve into someone's lawn|
|"Where did you guys even come from?" - The Moto and Refs after the race|
With the races for the weekend over, we had the remainder of the burgers and dogs and then packed up. It was yet another fantastic trip to Maryland and I can't wait to come back next year!
Thank you so much to the Schlicht's for being amazing hosts, the Bravo's and Lilly for your support, and Papa K for being there for us! We cannot thank you enough for all that you do for us.
Stay tuned for more racing next weekend at the Shippensburg Scurry!
Until then, Ride On!
-- Matty McG