This Sunday's Tradezone was unusual for me. First, I hadn't raced since Poolesville last year. Second, my usual cohorts were out of town or racing the A race. Missing most of a season sucks. So we had some guys in the race, but it wasn't like the somewhat well drilled teams we fielded last year. We also suffered some attrition in the race through flats and other merriment. My strongest team mate in the race just moved here from the west coast and was wearing his old team's kit since our new stuff isn't in yet. It's tough to play the team game wearing different kit, so other than helping each other keep track of what was going on, we didn't do much team kind of stuff.
The net of all this is that I rode the race as though I had no team. Unusual and fun in a different way. Apart from playing a bit part near the front, I didn't do any of my normal shenanigans. Took a few pulls to help bring some breaks back and tried one bridge that I quickly abandoned - having done precisely zero vo2 max intervals this year it was the height of futility - but apart from that just tried to earn and defend a place in the sweet spot. This kind of race has happened to me just once before, and resulted in one of my best results. Not knowing exactly what to do with myself feeling as fresh as I did during the last bit of the race, I was way too passive in the last quarter lap, never had the running room to sprint and rolled in about 10th. Bummed to miss the opportunity when it presented itself, but enlightening nonetheless.
Fitness is about on track. I can go deep okay, not great, and don't yet have the snappy recovery that I enjoy when I'm in shape. I can also tell when I'm in good shape because my high end acceleration gets good, allowing me to give a good hard stomp and catch whatever attractive wheel is rolling by. This has not come yet. Generally, I've got plenty of base and can hold threshold type efforts well. About where one should be in mid February, right?
Externally, ABRT looks like they have their act together. Kyle took off at one point and I was pleasantly surprised to see him hold the effort for a while and make the group work to catch him. That wasn't happening last year. They also seemed to be talking to each other and setting things up. Kit upgrade award goes to R1V, who will now be easy to confuse with ABRT and not us, but their new kit design is good. Apart from that, not too much has changed since my last swing of the bat. It's still bike racing and it's still really fun.
I watched a bit of the A race. Chuck Hutch and Dave Fuentes are on another planet. 5 man break, including those two, goes about 10 laps in. Within the next 6 laps, they had dropped one guy from the break, then one of them attacked and gapped the break while the other sucked wheels. Then the guy who had been sucking wheels attacked and gapped his two guys and bridged to his team mate. Check mate. Totally text book, but you have to be strong as hell to make that stuff work.
Reduced work craziness mean big training week for this guy.