It wasn’t the Little 500 ITTs (which I attended later in the evening) but we had our own little version of the hurt locker on the roads of 446 and Knightridge last night. The wind (as the early ITTers will tell you) was strong and out of the North, and would be greeting us as we climbed out of the bottom corner off of Knightridge tonight.
I knew it was going to be a smallish group as the collegiate riders were attending the ITT. If our group was small, it was deep. I had an earlier engagement so I had to drive to the course and get my warmup in there. I met Lyle and we did a lap and then a few fast practice runs into that tricky top corner. Soon, we saw the group heading up west Knightridge and we joined in. In addition to me and Lyle, the group included, Chris Kroll, Bob Brooks (Joe’s), Karim Abdelkader (MOB), Ryan Knapp (Panther), Chris Wood (DRT), Jon Atwell, Ryan Shanahan, Ryan Preske, Lindsay Koren, Graham Dewart (all from Scholars Inn Bakehouse). Also, Bob Brooks brought along a strong rider from Indianapolis, Lynn.
As expected, and so often played out on this battlefield, the ensuing 58 minutes and 20 seconds over 24 miles would be a test of wills, courage and determination. Almost immediately, attacks threatened to rip the group apart, but most managed the speed through the tailwind section to the first corner and then up the first small pitch into the wind. But on the second grade, Shanahan, Atwell, Knapp and Kroll preceeded to put the marker down on how things were going to go!
At the top corner only about 9 remained, Kroll, Abdelkader, Brooks, Atwell, Knapp, Wood, Shanahan, Dewart and me. Attacks continued as we took our turns at the front in the early going, wondering when the balance would be tilted again. We didn’t have to wait long as Kroll took hard flyers off the front and was mercillessly countered by Atwell, Shanahan and Knapp in succession, like prizefighters sharing haymakers. This would prove to be too much for most as one lap later, Atwell and Shanahan had slipped off the front without a response on the climb and Kroll, Wood and me were left to chase. We caught a couple of riders who opted for a breather and jumped in to the effort to help us but we were unable to catch the two ahead.
To be honest, I don’t know how it ended up front except that both Atwell and Shanahan were awarded the coveted Scholars Inn Bakehouse granola prize! In my group I was grateful for the two strongmen who allowed me to hang on for a lap without a pull (and without reprimanding me)! So my hat is off to Kroll and Wood for an excellent effort, with Chris attacking on the final climb, into the wind for well deserved solo third place. As for me, it’s just another diary entry: “Training race, missed the break, part of a 3 man chase, barely able to hang on, 24 miles at 25.5 mph,” or is it?