TNR B1 – Brown Birk!

Tuesday was the infamous race known as the Pink Slipper (for the A’s)
and the Brown Birk (for the B’s). I think there’s also a Silver
Slip-on for the C’s but there weren’t many if any C races this year.
Someone else will have to weigh in on the A’s; all I heard is that
Poland sent their best man. In the C’s, I believe Molly started solo,
ran into Laura going the wrong way, and they raced up the hill with
Laura in the lead.

The B’s decided to start from Ringwood/Midline, and loop around Hurd
to come back for a finish up Snyder Hill. The race started at a nice
Sunday ride pace, without much urging. After a few minutes of that, I
decided something should happen to at least get going a bit faster, so
I went up front and pulled fast, hoping to stretch things out. It
created an early break, and 4 of us were just slightly ahead for a
short time before getting caught. I think most everyone was still
together when things started to go uphill, and there was a moderate
pace without much contesting. Before Hurd, a few got ahead quickly,
but it wasn’t too far up Hurd that they were caught.

I think around this climb is where I looked back, and it seemed like
about 8 were in a pack off the front and gaining a little distance.
The paceline could have used some help, but nonetheless we stayed
ahead of the others. I think a few may have caught up near 79,
although possibly I’m making that up, but the main pack was now out of
sight behind us. Starting up Snyder I saw Sam leading again, and again
not much urging at that point since we were going a fair pace. My legs
were burning trying to hold that pace, but I could see a few slowing
down as the hill continued and knew that this was my chance to keep
pushing it if I wanted to get ahead. By the next flatter section, I
think I saw 5 of us, and by the final flatter section it was down to
Sam, myself, and one other who I don’t think I’ve met (I think in
blue). Sam said a guy was getting closer behind us, so we rotated
leading maybe once each to stay at a good pace and not let anyone
catch up.

My hope was to conserve energy for at least a few seconds, and our
brief moment of pacelining was perfect. The blue guy lead the
beginning of the final pitch, and then I launched with my final
effort. I quickly got ahead, but realized I now had used most of my
energy and slowed down while looking back every few seconds. Sam was
still pushing it, so I kept cranking and was able to stay ahead by the
top. After racing the hilly course several times with some hard
battles but without a win, I was glad that I was finally able to do
it.

Congrats to the other winners, and thanks to everyone that comes out
to TNRs. The recent chats about safety should definitely be reiterated
in the spring so that this tradition can continue safely and with
minimal inconvenience to others on the road.

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