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Fitchburg NECXBAR Masters 4/5 - Race Report

In 2014 I raced the Fitchburg masters 4/5 and was involved in a huge pile-up at the start, it briefly knocked my bike out of commission. By the time I fixed the bike and got underway I was dead last and a couple minutes off the leader. My goal for 2015 would be to seek redemption at Fitchburg, so I planned my training and racing with that goal in mind.

The prior days rain and overnight subfreezing temperatures resulted in a frosty grass and frozen dirt. The cold morning air made warming up for a the 8 AM start difficult. I decided to use the first lap to continue my warm up effort, and not go full out until later in the race. A few decent early season results and my early registration must have helped my third row call up. The whistle sounded, and the back of the peloton surged aggressively. Several racers slipped past me while a crash developed to my right few dozen meters into the course. Luck helped me avoid it this year, and I entered the first turn behind 20 or so riders. I wanted to ride the first lap steady but not lose too many spots while I got fully warmed up. I think the crash delayed the second half of the peloton enough so that only 4 or 5 racers passed me, while I moved up a couple spots myself. I heard the announcer declare that fellow Expo member Humberto Raposo got the whole shot and was leading on the first lap. That boosted my motivation even more, and once I rolled into my second lap I turned up the wick for the remaining 4 laps. I was able to pick away at the riders ahead of me. I moved up 10 or more spots with strategic accelerations out of key turns and some inside passes in the tricky corners. Preparation and luck paid off. I finished 12th out of field of 58 masters competitors, my best CX finish. Humberto did even better, an impressive 6th place finish. Well done.

Mark Sondeen (Red) and Humberto Raposo (Black)

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