Leaving work yesterday, I made a last minute decision to try and hit Greenbelt. Having spent the last two evenings downing whiskey sours (a time honored family medicinal cold therapy technique) instead of riding, I wanted to see how things went and to figure out what I’d need to do to get around the fact that I’m blowing golf ball sized biomasses out my nose every couple of seconds. I went home, grabbed all my stuff and hustled butt to make it there. 4 minutes before the start I was standing at the desk in street clothes; 4 minutes later I was rolling away from the start.
The first few laps were boring, which was great since I hadn’t been on the bike since Sunday and had zero warmup. By the third lap I felt fine and decided to test things out. Going up the “hill” felt pretty easy, I was able to grab onto whatever anyone wanted to do up there. What I noticed with regard to my congestion was that I was able to rip off the short really hard effort and I was able to sustain a pretty good longer effort, but the “rip off a short really hard effort and then immediately settle into a sustained longer effort” gear wasn’t really there. I needed a quick breath between the two, if only to farmer hanky a big nasty out of my nose. The stuff coming out of my head was pretty fun. I’d swear a few of them stood up and walked away after they hit the ground.
With three to go they called a prime, so I decided to try for it. One guy jumped real early, two guys jumped a little later, and I was second wheel of the bunch. As soon as we hit the incline, I accelerated into the gap and started gaining on the two guys and saw that the lead guy was fading hard. Flew past the three of them and easily took the prime with about a 5 second gap, which is where I made my huge mistake. Because I didn’t feel 100%, I stepped off the gas and let the group catch me at the backside turn. Dumb. During the whole first half of that lap I was soft pedaling and it still took half a lap to get caught. If I had just put down a legitimate effort I had a good shot to stay away. The climb gave me a great opportunity to rebuild my gap. I let this one get away. Into the finish, I got cocky and made absolutely no secret of my intention to ride clean off the front on the hill. It didn’t work and a group of guys passed me. Lance from ABRT came around me first and held it to the line.
Interestingly, the results show a rider who wasn’t in the race as the winner. He’s a nice guy and a very good rider - I’ve raced against him. But to win a race that you aren’t in, that takes a special kind of talent that I hope one day to possess.
Heading into Poolesville, I know that the big picture is certainly all there, I just need to get rid of this freaking congestion so I feel ready to make it happen.