Monday, 13 August 2007

A Subprime Disaster of My Very Own

As predicted, the Tour of Christiana was a bloodbath for either the rest of the field of me. Unfortunately, it was me. The road race went exceptionally well for oh, about 38 of 43 miles. My legs just absolutely bricked on the false flat at the top of the last climb and that was it, I finished 3 minutes down. I won't go into the whole sordid mess, but some equipment prep things happened that had somewhere between a very small and a very large impact on this.

The TT was fine, my time was a bit off the pace of many in the pack, but it wasn't bad. I felt comfortable the whole time, even if I could tell that I wasn't on anything special. No moments of "oh dear Lord shoot me now." It would have been better to have a better time and place better, but I felt like I gave it what was there to give. No fighting, no fuss.

The crit just plain sucked for me. Yo-yo'ing off the back the entire time, stuck behind a huge and very scary crash, then chasing back with a small group following that crash, then one of the chase group crashed, then I almost wiped myself out taking a turn too hot, watching the group stay exactly as far ahead as they were before. My last nerve folded up shop and I headed for the baby wipes.

Big props to some notable NCVC performances this weekend. The Swede was 3rd in the Pro-1-2 road race, junior phenom in the making Steven Black rode like an animal in the 4s all weekend long, and Steven Grant bagged the whole darn GC prize in the 3's. Well done, boys.

On the surface, it's a terrible end to the year. I'm not used to doing poorly in athletics but then I spent 20 years and much of my athletic prime getting to a point in sailing where I could compete on the world level, and 10 years milking that for all it was worth. I'm one year into cycling, in what I will generously refer to as the twilight of my athletic prime, with a whole lot more going on than when I was dedicating my life to getting better at sailing. On January 1 of this year, I was in that "do you really want to be this doughy and spent for the rest of your life?" stage, and decided to deal with it. Within two weeks I'd joined a great team and started training. Three months later I had done shockingly well in my first two races, and was getting really hooked. Seven months later and I've got a season under the belt and am looking forward to doing things a little better, a little smarter and a little faster next year.

One aspect of cycling has amazed me all year, and that is the dedication which is shown by all levels of cyclists. This weekend, I saw a guy who looked like an absolute beast warming up near the TT course. Legs like steel pistons, awesome pedal stroke, quiet upper body, aero helmet, full TT bike, Zipp wheels, the whole mess. He was a Cat 5. Just the number of guys in Cat 4 with Powertaps and full coaching programs is pretty startling. The level of the game is pretty high, and it's inspired me to get with the program a bit. I'm definitely going to get a more solid year-round training program, work on the psychological aspect of my game (which honestly is probably my biggest area of improvement), probably get a Powertap so I can post all my fancy numbers here and give it a go. But no, I will not be showing up at the races with a $2000 wheelset or doing my 2 TT's a year on my shiny carbon TT bike. I feel like enough of a dork riding around on my Six13, which is a way better bike than I am a rider, and which I would never have had had I not gotten a deal that would have made me really dumb not to buy it.


Jim said...

Yeah, I've heard of Cat 5s who show up on $5k time trial machines. There's two terms that the really good racers use for them. One is "elite triathlete sandbagging it." The other, where the Cat 5 isn't an accomplished anything, rhymes with the element boron. But hey, what do I know. I'm slow, and my bikes are cheap.

Chuck Wagon said...

I'm guessing this guy was from the former group. If not, completely boronic. My mom drilled it into me that if you your equipment is better than your game, you are a poser and people should laugh at you.