I love this race. Thanks to the old man, Mikey Weiss, who made his debut in the 40+, for keeping this venue alive for the year. I’m not usually a guy who’s gonna love a flat crit, but there is something about Forest Park that really makes it fun.
And, gee, what a coming out party. The Master’s race was a slugfest. From the gun, things were moving fast, and serious looking breaks began early. If you get four or five guys on the right teams up the road at Forest Park, good teamwork can make that stick. We did a good job early of either being in the breaks or chasing them down. Alas, in the final break we thought Darrell was going to make the connection (along with Tracy Smith and Druber), but it didn’t happen. That put the break a long way up the road with time running out. We all worked to try to bring it back, but it wound up being futile, and we hunkered down for the sprint for 5th—handily taken by Uncle Gary! Still, I was bummed that I didn’t notice the breakdown earlier. I should have tried to bring it back before it got that far away. If Gary had been there for the finale, I think he’d have won it. But, former Macker Mike Zellmann took the win (he looks scary-strong this year). If Uncle Gary had remembered to register for the 50+, he would have won the 50+.
“Dolla Bill” Dave Neis took the Cat 4 race in style, and then partied like a rock star. Wow! Dave can sprint! I almost missed it (and Chief Reimbold did miss it). The timing was off on the starts and Buddy was playing catch up by cutting a few laps, and I just happened to look up as Dave masterfully punched a perfect line past everyone (including our new Macker Justin Armstrong, who had a great race and wound up on the podium at 3rd).
Ah, it was great. I was really happy to see Gary Dyer in the field. I didn’t get a chance to talk with him, but he had some serious back surgery last year. Kurt Russell was pounding away, and for a while I thought there may be a repeat of last year when he and Gary went off the front and never came back. Big Shark really controlled the race and looks very strong for the season. When did Chris Harre get so old? And, of course, Shawn O’Neal figured prominently in everything (and finished 4th in the break). Steve Hall, Jeff Williams, Mark Shea, Darrell Bratton, Frank Brummer…we had the power. Just didn’t quite have the luck this year.
Young one Steve Driscoll contested the 3’s, along with Jeff Williams. I had no idea that Steve was so young! I always thought he did the 3’s (or 1-2’s before his accident) to help our young guys! I would have stuck around, but my old friend Alfred came over, and his spouse Sunita had procured BBQ for lunch, so I had to go. Frank Brummer doubled in the 4’s. And, Gina Champion posted another podium with a 3rd in the women’s 4’s.
Diamond Dave wasn’t the only Carbondalian in the mix. Chief Reimbold finished well in the 4-5’s, as did Molteni Michael Humphries! Sebastian DiMaggio is awesome! Coming off his big win in the 5’s masters at Froze Toes, Sebastian finished safely in the pack in the 40-50 Masters. He was never in danger. The man is for real.
REEESSSSCHAAAAARD!!!!!! Richard Breininger moves into the top 10 in the 1-2. I’m not at all surprised. He should do even better, but he can’t sprint to save his life. Richard is really strong this year. He’s gonna win something big.