There are two reasons why I say this. The first is that he and AVC do such a good job with the Tour of Washington County that all of the rest of us promoters will look like absolute pikers in comparison. The second reason comes later.
The road race was windy as get out. Good windsurfing day, I'd guess. The wind hurt more than the hills. I spent a while getting up to the front, actually about half the race. The centerline rule has absolutely hated me this year, and I'm too scrupulous to just go ahead and break it like a lot of guys do. Whether it's that I don't want to get put at the back of I'm just disgustingly ethical I don't know - probably some of both. Anyhow, the heat was getting to everyone and there were a number of gaps that I had to get across when people just folded. Finally for the last three laps I'm at the front doing the right things. At the end of the 5th lap I took a big pull to try and hurt a significant pack that had just chased back on. It got rid of them but it probably did me in. The bill for that came due when I cramped badly, for the first time I can ever remember, the last time up the hill. Left hamstring. Wow, that sucked. I dropped 50 seconds to the winner just on the neutral zone part. Damn, 1:40 of work flushed down the drain. The consolation was that there was an absolute chasm behind me. 3 team mates finished right with the leaders so we were placed well overall.
The TT... I have to work on TTs. Despite having the sperm helmet and some shmancy wheels I scrounged up, I was like 20th in the TT. This was mostly an issue of my not pushing myself hard enough, as when the finish came I had too much left over. Some guys are so good at TTs I just don't understand it.
The crit was really fun. Unfortunately we'd dropped back a few places on GC with the TT, but Bert was still our GC guy so the crit was for him. Drew W absolutely pounded it for the first third of the race. I did my typical crap job of getting off the line so had to work to move up. Once I found my magical line on the downhill right turn, I moved up pretty quickly. The front had been pretty well looked after by our guys, so I rested in the sweet spot for a lap or two and then told myself to move to the front when the pack inevitably slowed after the halfway prime. This I did.
Martin and 222 from Bike Rack (sorry, there are a lot of you guys and I'm dumb, things take me a while) and I were minding the store at the front, keeping that great crit pace where you aren't totally killing yourself but absolutely no one wants to take the front from you. It was fun, and no harder than sitting in the field - no jockeying or closing gaps or whatever. At some point those two guys were kind of dead from leading Tim Brown out for every time bonus, so I just pulled for three laps. Going up the start/finish line Joe kept giving me some props, but one time bagged on me for spinning too light a gear. By the time he'd said it we were around the first turn, so it couldn't have been that light a gear - no one was in any rush to come around, and things were single file behind. We go through the turn and I look back at Martin and quietly say "hey, F&&K YOU, Joe Jefferson." All in good fun.
The greatest part of the whole deal for me through the race was that, for the first time since the accident, I really had my game face on. I wasn't convincing myself that I wasn't scared, I wasn't scared. There was no problem at all, it was just fun. Good fun.
Very conscious of not wanting to get shuffled back right at the end, I kept right up in the top 10 to make sure Bert was where he was supposed to be (he was) and then dragged him up a bunch of spots for the finale. After that, it was just staying right at about 6th or 7th to the final corner when I'd hope Bert was on me, and then throttle it to the finish line. Every time I've had the good dream about a crit finish, it looks exactly like going into the last corner today. Was in the most prime spot, felt awesome, ready to give it an absolute rip. The problem came when the GC leader chundered the last corner and wiped out right in front of me. In .001 seconds, I go from having the time of my life to aiming at this guy who's sliding on the ground, thinking "in 2 seconds I am going to be bleeding, hurt, missing work tomorrow, this ABSOLUTELY SUCKS I DID NOT DO WHAT I JUST DID FOR THE LAST 45 MINUTES JUST FOR THIS SHIT TO HAPPEN!!!! WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT?!?!?!?!?!?!?" Fortunately, I was able to steer for the low part (his wheels), rode over him, and was miraculously still upright. I don't think I unclipped at all, but was definitely at an absolute standstill. So an excellent shot at a high finish, top 10 at least, gets yoinked just like that. Lame. 26th. I could have been drinking a martini all race and gotten the same result. That just blows.
Apart from that, I liked this crit course almost as much as I like the Reston course, and I LOVE the Reston course.
To top it all off, when checking the GC, I see that the guy who crashed had GAINED TIME ON ME in the crit. No sir, not happening. I've been missed in the scores multiple times. Last year at Tyson's I was wildly mis-scored in the two races I did. Whatever, if you aren't solidly in the money, it doesn't matter. This was a different kettle of fish, no way was that going to fly. I went to the officials and they discovered that instead of giving everyone down to me and beyond the same time, they'd input different times for everyone. Clearly they bore no relation to what happened since Johnny Slide Out was still on the ground when I crossed the line. So they re-scored the GC.
I'm still a little miffed that the guy skated on the Levi gift rule and got the same time. As way too few many people realize, bike handling is a part of racing.
While the GC of this race wasn't completely dominated by the TT given the huge splits in the field on Saturday, I still think that running it on time favors the TT experts too much. Whatever, it's a very well run race and whenever they put it on I'll go.
Our team was really good to ride with all weekend and though we didn't finish up as high as we would have liked (none of us is super flash at the TT, which is where we slid down - although I personally moved up one on GC in the TT, but had let the podium get totally out of reach), we did the right think way more often than not. It was really enjoyable.
At the end of that long boring drama, I finished 15th on GC and had 2 slices at the pizza joint at the top of the course. Few things in life have ever tasted so good. Man. Wow.
Sign up for Lost River. Seriously. Now. There are no women registered. That is a joke.