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Aetna-Expo Racing Team dominates at Mystic Velo Criterium

Race Report by Gary Aspnes

Todd, Dave, Ed and I came down to Ninigretlast Saturday for the Mystic Velo Crit. With only a 45+ master’s field available, we opted for the P123 race sothat the youngster Dave couldrace with us old guys. The weather cooperated and the day was warmand sunny, but true to form, the venue was windy. With those conditions, we anticipated thatthe race would be animated from the start with teams trying to get people in abreak or split up the road. We talked beforethe race and planned to make sure we all stayed towards the front so we couldmake sure at least one of us was covering potentially threatening moves.

Ourcompetitors lived up to expectations and the racing was fast and aggressivefrom the gun. The team did a fantasticjob following the plan and not one split went away without an Aetna jersey init. But it seemed that so many peoplewere so motivated to make a break happen that the race kept on stitching itselfback together. And by midway through, Iwas thinking it was possible we might get a rare bunch sprint at Ninigret.That changed at a little over the midwaymark. A group of three went up the roadwith Peter Bell (ENG-VT), Stefano Zanotti, and Brian Fuller (JAM). None of us were there and I saw severalENG-VT jerseys converging near the front heading into the first couple if tightleft handers. The gap was going to openand open fast, so it was go time.

Ijumped along with Tim Ahearn (CCAP) who took a strong and long pull to take usnearly to the group and I pulled through and brought us the rest of theway. I was a bit concerned that we didnot get a Greenline jersey coming up with us as the gap to the pack was stillnot. Even though there were only two ofthem in the race, I decided to sit on to see whether we could establish agap. I had faith that if it came backtogether, we could still get a good result in a sprint.

A.J.Moran (Greenline) managed to bridge, bringing along another JAM jersey. I had hoped Todd, Ed or Dave might have beenable to hitch a ride, but now we were committed and with the strong teamsrepresented, we got to work and started to open a gap. Sometime during the 15 or so laps, BryanMcGill made an impressive solo effort to join us and then there were eight.

I started to think about how Icould get my best placing for the team. I knew Peter and A.J. were going to have too good a jump for me, but itwas a headwind sprint, so maybe I could tuck in and come around one of themlate. We kept mostly together with onlya few digs through the last couple of laps. I was trying to stick on either A.J. or Peter’s wheel. With half a lap to go, Tim made a really goodsolo move. All of us looked at each other;pretty much deciding it was JAM’s responsibility to chase since they had tworiders in the group.

That indecision almost gave Tim thewin, but Brian took up the chase. Islotted in at third wheel but when A.J. and Peter went, it was clear I wasoutclassed. They caught Tim at the linefor 1, 2, and 3. Sean McCarthy also camearound me in the finish, but I ended up with a respectable fifth (not bad foran old guy). Meanwhile, Todd took thirdin the bunch sprint, showing we would have had the power to place well ifthings had kept together.

All in all it was another excellentshowing for the team, we read the race well and had one of us positioned in theright place throughout the race. It wasa great way to build on the momentum from Todd’s result in Marblehead. Quabbin, here we come!

Gary – Team Aetna – Expo Wheelmen

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