Monday, 12 April 2010
A Charming Weekend
Two races this weekend, the Masters at Walkersville and the 3 at Tyson’s. Both are going to go down as learning events. Walkersville was a nice fast race, with lots of people trying to make lots of stuff happen. We went into it thinking that we had good cards to play but not the best cards, so we’d be opportunistic in terms of getting into breaks and commit to anything we got into.
As it turned out, just like every other team except for Kelly and ABRT, we missed the break of the day. There was a period where things were just going absolutely nutty with dudes shooting off like roman candles, and we sincerely tried to be in everything that happened. The four guys who made it off did so at just a great time, when it had been nice and tough for quite a while and they had just a bit of shelter from the crosswind to get themselves together before heading into the headwind. And then, of course, they stuck it.
The dude who wrote that Race Resources thing sure gets an A for the call on the breeze. Dead. Spot. On. But please don’t take my warnings about patience before the sprint that seriously. In a race that averaged around 25mph for 48 miles, we were darn near doing track stands in the last K. Real shocker, the road was totally plugged and some dudes clanged into each other and went down. I had a nice soft landing on top of one of them.
Highlight of the day was when a moto ref screamed out “I like your boots” to my wife, who was playing photographer for the day. I got her those boots for an anniversary present. Of course I didn’t actually pick them out, but still…
Tyson’s was pretty much Tyson’s: the kind of course that I need to get a whole lot smarter about riding. I made one really good move. On 7 to go, I kept going hard enough on the outside of the bottom of the course to get near the front for the turn. Once through the turn, it was really easy to get to the front on the hill. Each prior trip up the hill had been slower than I’d wanted to go. So I start the hill maybe 10th, and then ride a slightly contained but still very natural pace and am even with the front by the start/finish line. Checking left, I see three well placed team mates, and think “boy, this would be a good time to go” and I hit it. Judd came with me. We got close to I think Jesse from R1V and another dude who were already off, but the real impetus was to give team mates a platform for blasting a big counter, which Kyle performed as if on cue. That was good stuff. But getting to the point where I went off the front was probably easier and definitely more productive than riding the stop and go machine back in 30th place like I did far too many times.
My ONE BIG DUMB MOMENT came with just under 4 to go, when I was sitting top 10 across the top of the course and things got REALLY slow. I should have hit it hard right there. Again, my team mates were in effective positions, and if I’d just shot my biggest arrow right then, they would have been able to consolidate good position instead of getting thrown back into the washing machine at the reshuffle when things got started again. Even if I’d only lasted to the start/finish line of that lap, it would have then been three to go and people probably would have kept it fast from there to the finish.
Most of you were done with your weekend of riding when Tyson’s was over. Not me. The wife and I took a lap through some of DC and Montgomery County’s scenic byways at whatever remaining pace I had. We needed to set some benchmarks for her on certain sections that I use to gauge my fitness. The mistake was letting her sit on my wheel to much. As we pulled up to Falls Road on Tuckerman (up to the light where the flag kind of drops on the 10am), she totally punked me. 80 miles of racing in my legs or not, I’d been had. “Um, please tell me that that was at least challenging for you?” “Okay, that was challenging for me.” Apparently I now get to play the home version of “You Got Dropped.”