The first Tradezone has come and gone. Big fields for the B and A races. I did the B, and about halfway through it was thinking to myself, "man, this is really a blast, I missed the hell out of this during the off season." There was no wind so nothing had any chance of making the race anything but a parade. I plan to spend the first couple of races this year working for team mates so I was racing a little "dumb," too much time on the front, too much tacking on to anything that moved by quickly. That said, I was pleasantly shocked by how easy the race was. With all of the poking around that I did, I was expecting to be pretty worked at the end, but wasn't. In fact, for the last lap and a half before the finish I'd done my best to set up team mates and wasn't planning to sprint, then made a half hearted (okay, maybe quarter hearted) attempt at it when I saw just how slowly the sprint was rolling out.
The big difference coming into this year versus last year is that I feel like I know what I'm doing a bit more. Last year it was so easy to get shoved around or even talked into/out of stuff by people. I wasn't comfortable surfing wheels and too often found myself moving up into dead air or a road block. Today was like the opposite of that. I moved around the top 10 most of the time (and the top 5 a bunch of the time) without it costing me very much at all. Also, I've probably replaced 6 or 8 pounds of grade A flab with genuine muscle since last year, and am a lot stronger aerobically. Again, a little bit peeved at myself in hindsight for not trying for a result, but c'est la guerre. I was maybe 13th or so. A good training effort, mission accomplished.
Another big benefit is having learned how to warm up. I cooked it just about right today. Being on a trainer gives me the mental cue to take warming up seriously. I plan to make that a constant thing instead of wheeling half assedly around the course and surrounding neighborhoods like I did before races last year. I now have a protocol that seems to work so I'm sticking with it. When the whistle blew I was ready to race.
A lot of people must read these blogs, because Bryan Vaughn had a big old bulls eye on his back today. Nobody wanted to pull through on him or anything. I traded turns with him a bunch of times and, to be totally honest, marked him a couple of times when I thought the train was leaving town, but come on, people. He still did well in the end, after doing WAY more of the work than anyone in the race. Good job, man.
Our team has a lot of strength but we need to get our act together. I couldn't make sense out of anything that we were doing. Capitol Hill gets the team of the day award for today. They seem to have been riding well together for long enough that they get it without having to talk about it all that much. They see it in real time. We'll get there.
Mostly, it's just fun to be out racing again and enjoying putting the hard work that we all do in training to good use.
Tale of the tape is 24.87 avg speed, 274 avg watts (well below LT), max wattage 1092 (which came in the middle of the race, when Bryan and a good guy from Capitol Hill looked like heading out, so I tacked onto them but the Capitol Hill guy wouldn't pull through and it was over before it started). A pretty easy race, but fun.
These series are a huge benefit to all off us who race so huge thanks to Bike Doctor for making this happen.
Beers taste better post race.