Friday, September 18, 2009

the september starlight criterium series -- race three

The word is getting out and momentum for this event is picking up. Week one: five riders. Week two: six riders. Week three: seven riders. Yeah, soon we'll be as big as Elvis.

Congratulations to first-timer Kevin Melnick. Not only was this is his first Starlight Criterium, riding a newly completed build from the goat cave library, it was also his very first time on a road bike! A baptism by fire. Sweet, man.

Following the reverse Fibonacci sequence point distribution program, seven riders meant 13 points on the line for the winner. If only it were that simple...

In damp, misty conditions our tiger-cat mascot pulled the starting gun trigger and off we went some 10 minutes or so after 10:00 pm (there was a short delay due to my compulsive sweeping effort--which reminds me, I forgot to grab my broom after the race...I wonder if it's still there). I loved going around the sharp corners in those first few laps and looking back over my shoulder at six riders all strung out single-file, each car of the train lit up amusement park roller coaster style with headlights and glow sticks. Nice. We won some priceless expressions from a late-night janitor sweeping the walkways of the intermediate school. It's all just too fun.

Ten or so minutes in things started to heat up and the train derailed. Every few laps I threw down an out-of-the-saddle effort to try to slip away from my riding buddies. Points leader Ciccocioppo fell off the pace, but Jon and Mike were able to hold like gum to my shoe.

The final two or three laps stayed calm. Eerily calm. three frisky kitties eyeing each other, all hesitant to make that first move, or to make their last move too early.

On the final lap, after negotiating the sharp 90-degree turns of the intermediate school drop-off we all more or less openned it up at the same time. With 50 meters to go it looked like anyone's race--we really were almost head-to-head-to-head. But in our haste we (at least I) had neglected to notice how rapidly we were overtaking two lapped riders, and mere feet from the finish I had to brake hard to keep from slamming into one. Jon also had to slow, slamming his hand to the bars (was it their fault?) with a curse as Mike crossed the line first (Jon second, goatsauce third).

Unfortunately for Mike, the race jury had to weigh in on the chaos at the finish. Also unfortunate for Mike, the race jury consists solely of one person--myself.

After a few minutes deliberation, the race jury made an unorthodox ruling, calling for an additional two and a half laps of racing between the top three finishers with the course cleared of lapped riders.

The riding was brisk but the action relatively calm, until goat began spilling his go-fast sauce in the intermediate school nineties, taking corner three fast on the inside, and sprinting all the way to the finish to take the win followed first by Mike, then by Jon. (Apparently a near collision between the two on corner four of the intermediate school nineties helped in this regard.)

The race jury, after further deliberations, choose to average the point outcomes between the first, botched finish and the second.

First finish: (1) Mike Maret, 13 pts; (2) Jon Marshall, 8 pts; (3) goatsauce, 5 pts.

Second finish: (1) goatsauce, 13 pts; (2) Mike Maret, 8 pts; (3) Jon Marshall, 5 pts.

Complete (and possibly final) results:

(1) Mike Maret, 10.5 pts
(2) goatsauce, 9 pts
(3) Jon Marshall, 6.5 pts
(4) Matt C. (Chop), 3 pts
(5) Matt Conroy, 2 pts
(6) Kevin Melnick, 1 pt
(7) Cody Wertz, 1 pt

Sorry, no podium pics. The chief referee and her camera were en route from Philadelphia, but didn't make it in time for the event.

Overall standings:

(1) Mike Maret, 16.5 pts
(2) goatsauce, 16 pts
(3) Jon Marshall, 13.5 pts
(4) Matt C. (Chop), 11 pts
(5) Matt Conroy, 3 pts
(6) Cody Wertz, 3 pts
(7) Alex Krayo, 1 pt
(8) Kevin Melnick, 1 pt

Wow. Going into week four it's anyone's game. And if we happen to get eight riders? Oh yes. You know what that means. A whopping 21 points on the line for the winner!

Thanks to everyone for coming out to ride. Good times.

1 comment:

Cody said...

I know it was a heated battle and points are everything and concentration was at an all time high, but the jam at the finish could have been avoided. At no time did I hear a time left, 3 laps, or even a 1 lap to go. Chop mumbled something on the way by one lap but I didn't comprehend. If I would have know ya'll were coming on the last lap to the sprint finish, then I probably would have gotten out of the way. Who wants to be in the line of fire when the elephants are charging.

Anyways.... did someone get my vest???

Also, props to goates, this was a well narrated race report and even though I was there, I enjoyed reading it a lot.