Boulevard 35+ Road Race by Gary Douville

Everyone loves Boulevard. It brings unpredictable weather and lots of challenging terrain with a long uphill finish into a predictable headwind.  Team MRI Endurance p/b Monster Media racing showed up with 9 guys fit off of training camp and ready to rock and roll. We rolled in with our team van looking good in team colors as wrapped by Monster Media Inc (http://www.monstermediainc.com/) . Our team tactics were discussed and dialed in to perfection by designated road captain “Filthy” Phil Tintsman and team boss Chris DeMarchi.

The sizeable group took off with MRI Endurance, Swami’s, Helen’s, and Spy all sporting teams of comparable numbers. Boss man DeMarchi was coming off of a lengthy bout of the flu, but took position at the front with hard men Brian Cooke, Tomo Hamasaki, Ryan Arnold, and John Abate. Phil Tintsman, Tony Restuccia, Chris McDonald and I were biding our time. The first descent was a bit sketchy at 50mph after our long winter away from the peloton.  “El Patron” Demarchi spent a lot of time at the front keeping the pace up and then officially took charge on the finishing climb. I sat on his wheel and watched my power meter start smoking as he single-handedly cut the field in half.

The descent on lap two was fast, but smooth as a result of increasing confidence and a reduced field size. The pace was jumpy, but nothing of significance happened until new recruit Ryan Arnold took a flyer just before the lumpy “Green Mile”. Team Helen’s took over for the better part of next ½ lap and put in an admirable effort to set high tempo. Swami’s Pascal Bonaventure took off in solo pursuit as Helen’s continued to set the pace. I was feeling great and was tempted to bridge up to Ryan on the finishing climb. However, super tactician DeMarchi suggested that I hang tight.

A few minutes into the third and final lap I found Phil and told him that I planned to attack at the “Green Mile” and suggested that we attempt to do a 2 man TT to the finish. He offered that perhaps we should send another teammate off first and, after some back and forth, we agreed to the original plan.  I subsequently found  DeMarchi and he supported the plan and would help “soften things up” as necessary. The group caught Pascal on the descent and the other teams proceeded in hot pursuit of Ryan up the road. I was anxious to go and, knowing that Phil was on my wheel, instinctively attacked hard on the steep climb before a set of railroad tracks. We were still several miles from the “Green Mile”, but quickly formed a gap with Phil, teammate Tony, Swami’s Adam Livingston, and Helen’s Brauch. Phil gapped off Adam early and we were down to 4 with Ryan still up road. We caught and passed Ryan and soon thereafter I attacked. I looked back and had a gap and kept charging. Phil waited a few seconds and bridged as soon as he sensed that Brauch was struggling. By the bottom of the finishing climb we had 45 seconds on Brauch and Restuccia and 3.5 minutes on what remained of the group. Phil and I rode the final climb at a brisk pace and crossed the finish line 1-2. Restuccia secured the sweep by outsprinting Brauch and teammate McDonald came in 5th after attacking on the final slopes.

Many thanks to MRI, Monster Media, and our great sponsors. These weekends would not be possible without their support! My wife is pretty cool, too.

Key stats:

Average power: Unknown, DeMarchi broke all athletes’ power meters

Maximum speed: Supersonic; Average speed: Fast

Strava: Dozens of accomplishments, many personal records, and several top 10 Boulevard course times.

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