Finding the right level

With winter only just gone and summer on the way, the IRS spring series finally got underway at Morgan-Monroe with the MMSF RR on the classic Mount Bean circuit. For most Tortugans it was a first road race of the year and the team had much success with podium places for Gary Palmer (40+), Ren-Jay (Cat 4) and Taylor Gaines (Citizens) as well as top ten positions for Mike Brauner (40+) and Pat Garner (Citizens).
The plan of the Cat 2/3 squad to race in that event was altered prior to race day due to the horrid Wednesday worlds of certain squad members (me) and lack of anyone racing who was under 30. Therefore the decision was made that turtles Purvis, Millar, Lewis and Parry who contest the new Master3/4 category. The wisdom of that choice seems clear when Guy East, Brett Stewart (both ‘fresh’ from the Tour of Virginia), Mike Kehrberg and other ‘Cat 2s’ rolled up to begin the 2/3 event (The ABR isn’t quite as rigorous as the USCF in its categorization!).
The MAS3/4 event had a good field of about 40 riders but the pace was somewhat sedate for the first lap as everyone wondered how their climbing legs were feeling. About half the field were found the legs weren’t quite there yet as on the second roll down forest road the main group was down to about 25 riders! It was here that the race began in earnest with a few small groups rolling off the front, resulting in two riders developing a gap on the rest of the field. At this time with one independent and one affiliated rider (Heroes) up the road you’d think about 20 of the remaining riders would have an incentive to chase? Sadly not! Tortuga and a few other individuals took up the chase and for a while it appeared the break would come back. However without the dedication (or with the laziness) of a few extra riders the little group stayed away. Myron was clearly frustrated by this and was most often found on the front forcing the pace. Hopefully there were a few riders chuckling in the bunch that ‘this guy is just wearing himself out’. Well those riders were left to think again as final time up Mt Bean Myron stayed with a the small lead group and then crushed them in the sprint for 3rd. Although pleased with the result this of course added to the ‘if onlys’ and the thoughts that if we’d just chased a little harder…..