Aetna-Expo race the Category 2/3 at the TD Bank Mayor's Cup
By Gary Aspnes
I love a downtown criterium just because of the amount of spectators, both intentional and not, that come out to cheer and experiencebike racing first hand. I think theseare a fantastic way to introduce spectators to the sport and show the benefits of hard work, training and a healthy lifestyle. Boston is perhaps my favorite race of the year because it is the biggestof the Downtown crits that we race and the energy and the crowds are fantastic.
After his success in the masters, Dave and I also elected to race in the 2/3 category along with Ben and Mark. The 2/3s was a full field and I only managed to get in by waitlist. I knew with that size field on that course that staying forward and out of trouble would beimportant. Ben and I were hanging in the front pretty well and taking advantage of the relatively smooth flow. However, midway through a big crash happened that neutralized the race for a few laps to clear things up (to my knowledge,there were no serious injuries, thankfully). Neutral laps in this case means hold off the people trying to take advantage of the slow pace and move up. I was successful, Ben maybe not as much so. When we started again, the pace got a bit herky-jerky with lots of nervous people post-crash. There were some sporadic efforts to break therace up, but with big teams from Grinta and Green Line, none of that was goingto happen without them there.
Dave had moved to the front as we got closer to the finale. He was feeling the effects of his win in the masters, but on the second to last (BiG MoNeY) prime, he slotted on my wheel and gave the him sign for a leadout. We were in near perfect position but Dave got chopped off my wheel in the final turn - so much for the win and out option. At around 6 to go, I got suckered into the last prime when 3 people rolled off right in front of me (how could I not resist?). Carrying a theme over from themasters race, I managed to just miss a prime by one spot for the 3rdtime on the day and came away broke and needing to recover in 5 laps for thefinish. Needless to say, the effort costme and I was not as well able to fight the surges to hold position. I came through the last lap just too far backand finished off in fifteenth. Dave kindly resisted sprinting by me at theend and finished off 3 spots behind (secretly already planning to stick me with this write-up asbest placed rider). Not the best result, but a great day and venue to race bikes!