Thursday, 21 June 2007

TTs, Greenbelts and Bears, Oh My

Why am I grinning maniacally in every race picture taken of me? All I ever remember of races is pain and suffering.

Well, after getting some quality base work done on the savage tan on Tuesday, the last two days have been pretty much brutal. On Wednesday morning I headed out for a short TT workout, according to schedule. The good news is that I can go fast, the bad news once again is that, when people tell me "my HR is better than yours," they are right. Who knows? After that, some more base work poolside, then get all ready for Greenbelt.

Greenbelt is a place that, if it was in Maine and you asked directions to get there, you would be answered with "ya cahn't get theah from heah." There is no good way to get there. Risking life and limb to go by bike must be the best way, but given my stellar record of getting to RFK by bike and my earlier workout, I chose to risk life and limb in the car. At least it gave me a chance to use some of the tokens earned in helping El Ocho to his crushing win a few weeks ago. Route 1 had about 110 guys there for the B race. I think they were actually subbing in different guys on different laps, because every time I looked, there was a Route 1 guy I hadn't yet seen. We were represented with two, and my teammate was warning that he felt like crap before the start, so it was basically time to ride like an independant. Fortunately, The Energizer Bunny was there to help in this quest. Win is a rider who I really have to respect. Sitting in and "racing smart" is a concept totally alien to him. For my money, "racing smart" at Greenbelt is actually stupid. If you are doing that good a job of hiding during a training race, you aren't going to be ready to fight with knives on the weekend, right? So Win and I tracked down a whole bunch of Route 1 "members only" breaks and tried to make the race fast and hard, and generally raced like complete idiots all night. At one point I bridged up to a Route 1 guy on a solo break and told him straight out that I was there to work. He seemed cool with that and tried. I was psyched because Route 1 was doing a pretty effective job of plugging up the roadway whenever their guys were out front. After a lap and a half, he was cooked which meant my chances of staying up the road were smoked, and I rejoined the group. At the end, Win unbelievably had enough to fight his way to 3rd, while I sifted back a ways. It was a hell of a ride on his part.

Today I joined Eric on a trip to Skyline Drive. I may not ever go back to work. We got there at maybe 11:30, and promptly headed up Dickey Ridge. So the next time I crack open one of these training plan books and it says "find an uninterrupted hil that takes about 30 minutes to climb," I'll know where to go. At some point, a car passed us and then stopped in the road a short way ahead. The people inside said "HOLY COW THERE'S BEARS!!!!" So we looked over this rock wall and sure enough, junior bear was chilling out on the hillside. Neato. Then junior bear #2 pops up from behind the rock wall maybe 20 feet from us. At most. Holy smokes Mr. Ranger! Quickly figuring that 2 junior bears meant mom was nearby, we moved to a safer vantage point when a couple of Harleys came by and scared them away. Pretty neat. This was followed by days more of climbing, followed by a stop at some store for delicious PopTarts and soda (dentists must think cycling is the greatest sport ever - how else would they afford all those pimp Sevens they buy? - just kidding) and a considerably faster ride back to the car. The ride back sort of made up for the delirium inflicted by the ride up, until my rear wheel started wailing like a banshee. Something is seriously wrong with the hub. My luck with rear wheels is astonishing - last week I had two really great back wheels. Now, I have none. DC traffic was the cherry on top when we came back into town.

The next few days are going to be spent lying low and getting the last touches of base on the savage tan, with brief moments of trying to get ready to crush all comers at Reston on Sunday.

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