By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 10/20/2022; Updated 10/20/2022

After last week’s constant rolling hills and big KOM in New York, I looked for a flatter route for this week’s race, and we ended up on the Flatland Loop in the Makuri Islands (two laps). Patrick, Melissa, and I competed in the B race with about 15 starters total, and Michael raced in the C group, which seemed to be just a little smaller.

I’ve never raced this route before, and it turned out to be pretty nice, more interesting than the flat-looking course profile would suggest. It was a mixed-cat race, so everyone started together, with a huge bunch ranging from A to D riders up front for the flat half of the first lap. There’s a short climb up to the village halfway through the lap, not too steep, but the leaders hit it hard, and it was enough to break the group apart, especially when combined with another couple miles of gradual uphill afterwards at 1% to 3%.

Michael dropped back a bit on the climb, and Melissa had some sort of gastrointestinal situation that she didn’t want to provide any details on, putting her about a mile behind Michael on the road. Patrick and I hung with the front group, which started to splinter further on the second lap, as the four or five A riders went off the front one by one, while the Bs hung back in a group, unwilling to chase. By the time we approached the finish we were down to about a half-dozen B riders in our group.

The downhill finish comes up very fast, and I mis-timed it as usual, going off the front too soon, breathing in the sweet scent of victory, zipping up my jersey and throwing up my arms, just as Patrick and another rider pipped me in the last 25 meters. Sigh. Patrick grabbed second, a great result, and I stood on the next step down on the podium.

Meanwhile, Michael was safely ensconced in a group of three or four riders, watching Melissa, now riding a solo TT effort, slowly chip away at the distance between them. By the end, his lead was down to under a quarter-mile, and he was tossing images of rotting seafood into our Discord chat in a desperate attempt to undermine Melissa’s intestinal fortitude. He did manage to hold her off, but I think the results might have been different if the race had gone on another minute or two.

Tonight’s results:

  1. Patrick Ryan (B) – 2 of 9 – 88.9 points
  2. Jonathan O’Keeffe (B) – 3 of 9 – 77.8 points
  3. Michael Bello (C) – 6 of 12 – 58.3 points
  4. Melissa Warwick (B) – 9 of 9 – 14.4 points

Overall standings after Week Three:

  1. Jonathan O’Keeffe (3 races) – 158.9 points
  2. Tim Downey (1 race) – 100.0 points
  3. Patrick Ryan (1 race) – 88.9 points
  4. Michael Bello (2 races) – 86.9 points
  5. Melissa Warwick (3 races) – 60.4 points