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2016 Witches Cup, Salem, MA

The Witches Cup in Salem, Massachusetts is another great weeknight downtown criterium. It's a flat fast course around historic Salem Common. This race does not have a masters field, so it was one of the few P/1/2/3 races I've done this year. Since it is a long haul to the north shore from the Hartford area, I was sole representative for the Aetna-Expo Wheelmen.

It had rained earlier in the day, but when I arrived at the venue, the pavement was showing signs of drying by the time we would race. That turned out to be a false hope as the skies ended opening up one more time. So, the race was not quite as fast as typical but much more nervous due to the modestly decreased traction.

Since I managed a pretty poor start, I ended up tail gunning from the start. A few efforts at moving up confirmed to me that I am getting old and risk averse and really did not want to mix it up with the younger guys in the churn fighting for positions. I ended up taking the safety seat and tail-gunning which allowed me to dodge the few crashes that did happen during the race.

With about 10 to go, I made efforts to move forward again and managed a high water mark that took me to sniffing distance of the front but that sense of self preservation took over as we got closer to the finish and I just opted to back off again. At best case I might have been able to ride the slipstream of the really fast guys but not really be a factor in the sprint. So, sensibly, I enjoyed getting some work on speed and handling, kept all my skin and enjoyed spinning around an uncommonly wet Salem Common.

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