The Indy World Championship takes place twice a week, same course, same bat time, every Tuesday and Thursday. Speaking of bats, plenty of Bacardi present at last night’s ride, although Hubbell was conspicuous in his “Lilly” jersey with bright red shorts, a fashion faux pau only topped by the former Citgo/PBF kits of red and orange. Nonetheless, with bat wings flapping, dog fish snapping, Mr and Mrs Clark (TxRdhse) drafting, Zipp gasping, and a smattering of other local teams jamming, the Tortuga Armada could not be denied.
The 46th and Central route is timeless, having been utilized since velocipedes first inundated the Circle (velodrome) City in the early 1900s. Traversing the north and near west side, the route demands good bike handling and quick thinking to avoid the rush hour traffic and numerous pot holes. Many riders were observed last night with arms shaking as violently as any seen on the Roubaix pave. Furthermore, the route this year must take a detour thru a sketchy part of town in order to avoid construction on 38th Street. Phil might comment, “Goodness me, Paul, I hope no one flats on Clifton Avenue.”
“Right you are, Phil. That part of the route is so sketchy, I’m not even going to try an analogy today.”
From the outset, along Riverside Avenue, Tortuga had riders off the front, with Vic Emond leading the way across Kessler, onto Illinois. Again, it was Emond opening a gap thru the Butler University campus. Unaware of the detour this year, Emond rode alone down 38th Street and south on Riverside E. Drive to 30th where he met up with the bunch and promptly rode off the front again.
Turning west onto 18th Street, Hubbell punched the accelerator with Brooks on his wheel. the surge strung out the pack and created a slight separation until the red light on 30th Street. After the light, the group jogs west and then north again on the Riverside W. Drive, toward the infamous Velodrome mole hill.
A Zipp rider charged at the base of the hill, but faded quickly by the midway point. Several others jumped too soon and also faded. Remaining seated, Brooks powered up the climb and jumped at the top, taking teammates Delisle and Riggs with him, opening the first significant gap of the night. A string of slowed traffic put the brakes on what might have been an epic move….
Regrouped again, the bunch was ignited by Hubbell and Doyle, along with Delisle, Abdelkader and Pederson of dog fish. The bunch tempoed thru Leiber Road, across Kessler, before resuming the hot pace, this time set by Riggs of Tortuga. Charging up Hoover Road, the Barcardi’s captured Riggs near 64th, where a general re-grouping occurred. Sensing the group’s hesitation, Brooks broke clear of the pack.
Noone of Bacardi led a small chase group containing Gaerete (Indy Hand Center), Delisle, Pederson and a few others. The red light at 73rd foiled the escape, as it most often does. Hard charges across 75th and south on Pennsylvania set the tone for the final sprint. Mr. Clark finally made his lone appearance on the front as the bunch wound its way along the canal before the final turns onto the infamous College Avenue pave.
The bunch were having none of the solo act and quickly closed, setting up a mass sprint to close out the evening. Turning right (south) onto College Avenue, the course grades up an overpass before descending full speed ahead toward the invisible line near 64th Street.
Led out by teammates Delisle and Emond, King Sprint, Karim Abdelkader made it two Tuesdays in a row (having won in Austin last week) by taking the Tues World’s last night. Nice job K-Man. On his success, the K-man said, “I think it’s the new white helmet and the new white shoes.”
For most, last night was a final prep. before Saturday’s season opener at Ceraland. All teams look strong. This weekend will, no doubt, produce some exciting racing.