We race an absurd number of miles on the Tuesday night Westlake course each year. As I recall, someone once calculated that it’s in the neighborhood of 1000 miles for the ‘A’ race. After so many times going ’round and ’round on that course, I’ve realized there are a number of archetypal races that you can count on every year:
The “Fast Race Before Downer’s Grove”. That’s covered here.
The “Small Field With Mostly Fast Guys and Nowhere to Hide” race. Often happens early or late in the season. There is no sitting in for this race. A suffer-fest.
The “Everyone’s Fast Enough to Chase” race. Happens mid-season, where the fitness has equalized a bit. Or the Zipp demo night where everyone has fast wheels. High average speed, and sure to end in a field sprint.
The “We All Know Paul Martin Will Win Tonight” race. That’s, oh, about 95% of the times he shows up.
The “Tailwind on the Backside” race. This is when there is a strong tailwind on the back side of the course — the windiest part. 30+mph on this section is then a normal lap. Someone always wants to drill it through this section while looking down at their speedometer. Then they can say afterward, “yeah, I was taking this 31mph pull, and …”. Often results in very high average speed.
Then there is what I think is the hardest of all: the “Cross-Headwind on the Backside” race. This is when the wind is coming strong off Lake Erie, which is a mile or so away. You can’t just follow a wheel and get a draft. There is always some SOB who will put the field in the gutter to break up the race. Hmm …
Not being one of the bigger guys, I get blown around a bit in the wind. But I like these hard races. You have to pay attention all the time, because once someone opens a gap in the cross-wind, it’s hard to close it. I always marvel at how the bigger guys can ride through the wind, take sips from their bottles, while I’m just trying to keep from getting blown into someone else.
Last night (Aug 26) was one of these nights. The wind was strong, the field was strung out in the gutter, and the gaps opened up. A group got away, and everyone suffered. These are the races where, at some point, you just want it to be over.
It also could have been a “We All Know Paul Martin Will Win”. Except somehow he didn’t, as RGF’s Andy Moskal took the tailwind sprint from a group of 3 (that was me, “last in the breakaway”).