Scenic photo courtesy Ronald Mariano
Wente Road Race features great scenery, smooth pavement, lots of climbing, hella windmills, and some nice, twisty descents, so I wanted to check it out. So refreshing after some of the flatter, nasty pavement races we’ve been doing.
I wasn’t registered due to a full field, but showed up anyway to try to get in. I warmed up as usual, and showed up at registration exactly 15 minutes before the start as instructed. At that time, non-claimed numbers are distributed to those on the waiting list. I got in, as did the half dozen or so others who were waiting. Showing up is 80% of the game and this was proof.
Three fifteen mile laps comprised my Master’s race plus 1 extra time up the big climb for the uphill finish. Good course for me with the climbs and technical descending. First time up the climb the group of 75 was whittled to about 35-40. Then a hairball descent with a nasty corner stacked with hay bales to catch riders. It’s one of those corners you can take with no brakes at 40 mph, but it’s pretty ballsy! Second time up the climb things really began to shatter. I was about 15th over the climb and looked back to some big gaps.
After that smaller groups formed, and it was fun chasing and working with a few other racers. Toward the end there were two groups of 5 or 6 ahead, then our third group of 5 or 6.
Last time up the climb to the finish I decided my best bet was to attack, figuring I wouldn’t do as well in a 200 meter sprint, so I did attack, was caught, and passed by all 5 guys. Oh well. So I lost a few places at the end, but even with a finish in the teens out of 75, I’d have to say this was my best race so far this season, and somewhat of a confidence builder.
Best part of the race were some classic quotes, tales from the peloton as it were, so here goes:
A rider near the back of the herd on the second lap:
“Ya know, one thing about riding at the back of the bunch on a hot day…it kinda stinks back here.”
Another rider, having been dropped on the climb and having chased for the remainder of the lap to get back on:
“My plan worked to perfection. I got back on just in time to get dropped again.”
I was in a chase group on the third lap. The Pro,1,2 guys had sat up and were riding slow so we came up behind them. I had to get through them to have any chance of a good finish, so I soloed past the entire lead Pro 1,2 field, riding on the Botts Dots on the double yellow centerline with traffic coming the other way, bike rattling like crazy. The moto ref saw me and I thought for sure I was going to be warned at best, or DQ’d at worst. He pulled up along side me and I cringed about what he was going to say, but to my surprise, he said:
“It’s not every day you get to do a solo pass on the entire Pro,1,2, field. Nice work!”
My reply to a young female Cat 3 racer in the parking lot after my race and before hers when she asked me to pin her race number on her impossibly tight jersey.
Next up our boyz Nick and Nate are heading to Tour of the Gila. We look forward to some daily prose from those guys. Good luck gents, that’s a tough one!