First Race, Client Success

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Well, the first race in almost two years is in my legs… Was sick on WED, didn’t ride THURS or FRI, and I went to bed at 10:30 FRI night in lieu of SAT’s crazy early Central Park start… I really didn’t think I was going to race at all… Well, I didn’t really sleep a wink, just stared at the ceiling. Tried watching a movie, then some of Leipheimer dominating a TT at the Tour of California. Still wired. Started reading, didn’t do the trick, either…

So, I’m up at 4:30 and decide to race. Eh, the team needs me and the sponsor asked me to go. Should be interesting. Took the stealth flight into the city. Hauled a$$ into the park on my bike, doing 30 down Central Park West, pitch black out, the city seemingly owned by cyclists filtering into the park.

In Central Park, a place where I’ve had very good success, I felt at home again, seeing so many friends I hadn’t seen in years. A rider put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Kenny Lundgren, back in the building. Good to have you back.” And yes, it felt good to be back.

How was I going to feel in the group? Well, I’d find out soon! NOTE: these CRCA races seem so much safer than the Open races, these races really dominated more by teamwork… On the first lap, Kenny Harris and Dan Zmolik take off, gone. I wanted to go — shoot, two time trialists off the front, that’s what I’m talkin’ about! But with questionable form, I opted to sit tight. But, as the lap wore on, I felt very comfortable, drafting well, surging well… We flew up the climb and I held my position just fine…

Coming up Cat’s Paw at start of second lap, I gave it some gas over the top, steady pull, and realize we were off the front, a group of 4 or so… As we continued, it was apparent I looked to be the strongest of the four, so I put my head down and kept the speeds up. We were caught before Harlem Hill, and I was still feeling chippy.

Up and over Harlem Hill, I bolted off the front, but no one bit, so I put my head down and plowed on, earning a huge gap… I stayed away for quite a awhile. When caught, no teammates were at the front, and when I realized we weren’t on a great day, my goal was to pull that break back. However, Adler and Empire were controlling the action, and when I’d pull, there were enemy riders swarming the front… But I stayed on it, pulling when I could, surging, trying to get others to come out from hiding… An Empire rider snickered that my efforts were futile, or something like that, all for nothing…

So I guess that was more fuel to the fire, lol… Needless to say, I put in an attack halfway up Cat’s Paw on the bell lap, actually formed a move (with 1 Empire and 1 Adler rider) but kept my foot firmly planted on the gas. We were caught, and I recovered, then gassed it 100% up Harlem Hill, trying to keep max speed up and over, and I was shattered… Merrill Lynch picked up the chase, and we pulled back the break before the finish!!! SUCCESS!!! I was overjoyed that we pulled ’em back, and I’d like to think my hyper-activity helped — I really tried to never let the race slow as the enemies suffocated the front… (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*), it’s a training race — if you want to sit in, ride the rollers in your dungeon. At Central Park, I’m punched in, on the clock — time to work. I have the rest of the day to rest, relax, be tired, sit at the back, etc… So I was very pleased with my performance…

NOTE: Grayson Church of the Bike Race Cycling Team, based out of Washington D.C., took 2nd at the Top of the Hill Road Race. He pretty much sat in, went with the attack, helped form the break, pulled steadily, got boxed in during the sprint, then bolted out and almost caught the leader, just ran out of pavement… One of the kablamo days, but GREAT to hear! 2nd place, music to my ears… Keep it up, Mr. Church! Many more to come, for sure…

On SUN, I sat in on the Nyack Ride, riding with 4 clients, trying to make the ride as smooth as possible… Marc Cooper of the Tenafly Road Dawgs was able to get further than ever, drafting better and using a higher cadence to help cope with the accelerations. He made it up the Englewood climbs and down Knickerbocker, where speeds regularly exceed 32 mph… and then he flatted… But he felt GREAT and was certain he’d finish with the group… THIS was huge, considering where we started back in October…

Shawn Erickson of the Tenafly Bike Workshop put in the attack of the day, jumping away on the climb after the reservoir. I watched as riders chased, the group disintegrating in his wake. It was a sight to see, and I felt so proud coaching a guy who was blowing the Nyack Ride to pieces… My very own Nick Bruno, finally back on the back after almost a 2-year hiatus, was blown right out the back, along with Champion System’s Wilson Vasquez. (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*), Shawn — you’re killin’ it!!! He was caught, but still did his pulls at the front, still able to take 5th in the final uphill sprint! Complete success, this dude is on track for a huge 2010… Watch out for that name in the results…

Heavy week over here, getting stronger on the TT bike, challenging PowerCrank workout tomorrow… Will be racing BranchBrook in two weeks with Northeastern, then another CRCA race with Blue Ribbon, and then time to get the knives out for Sandy Hook, a TT I’ve never done well at — and I’m not looking to change that this year, just am yearning to get that TT experience in my legs again!

Thanks for reading.

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Thursday, March 11th, 2010 | | |