If you were there, and you saw this, and it didn't make you just plain happy to be a cycler, you are pretty much dead from the shoelaces north. Congrats, big man, that was an awesome show you put on.
Of course some other guys went and wrastled the old bull by the horns, too.
The geriatrics even got their piece of the action.
No matter what, I love Reston. A top female cyclist described the course to me as like being on a roller coaster. Of course there aren't many roller coasters for which you pay for the ride in blood and guts, but that makes the ride even better. Lots of people are intimidated by the course and its many turns (turn five in particular), but to me the course has such a strong say in what goes on that it's very safe. I watched the better part of five races and rode in one yesterday, and sure some people fell down, but it's just not a white knuckle ride.
That's not to say that the race isn't a bitch on wheels, because it is. I can't think of too many races where a 90 rider field becomes a 40 rider field within the first 5k. In the 3 race, we had one mission - Greg's pants. He needed to be top 9 to overtake the straw man (now Cat 2) leader, and put points on a bunch of guys who were in the frame. To this end, I bailed on doubling up with the Masters race, since with a blazing hot day on tap and no gap between races, the Masters race was likely to leave me tapped for the more important (to us) 3 event. I'd also be forced to make my way through the race with treachery and grit since the whole series of "go wicked balls hard for a while, then take a second or two off, then go wicked balls hard again - 3 sets of 10" workouts have been missing from my repertoire leading up to this event. Nonetheless, I came with unrealistic expectations about what I'd be able to contribute to our effort.
Our team brings numbers to the events lately. We're in a golden part of the season right now - enthusiasm has bred results, which reinforce enthusiasm, which brings more results, and so on. Everyone on the team wants to be a part of it, and when the post race chat goes out, we all want to be the guy who made the difference. So with all of the racing that we've been doing together lately, we've gotten good at identifying a top line goal and then figuring out the details on the track.
The top line goal was to help Greg get his best result. The other big "to watch for" point was not to let any early breaks go without us in them. If there were going to be whipping boys off the front providing their teams some relative rest and relaxation (take that, Elmer Fudd), we wanted one in among them. About 4 laps in, I was maybe 10 deep and there weren't any of my jerseys in front of me. The surge was petering out, so I scammed up the gutter on the homestretch, got to the front and put it out there for a couple of laps. Wes Schempf and Dan Drumwright were the guys I remember being around most often. One lap, I went through the finish stretch in the 14, turning the thing OVER, and was seeing little birdies and stars flying around my head through turn one. I thought MAYBE the three of us would snap the band a bit if we were trucking around like that but no dice. I stayed on it down the back stretch and stayed up front for a few more laps, but then I needed to get out of the kitchen for a bit. Mike asked me if I was having a mechanical when he went by. Uggh.
Normally, I'd bounce back after a couple of laps riding the pine, but nothing doing. I was surfing wheels in the back, insulated well enough that I never really had to jump any gaps or anything, but I just didn't have that extra one minute blast to spare to get myself back up to the front. Fortunately, Mike, Gus, Aric, and Kyle did, and Greg wasn't leaving anything to chance, either. The rest of my race became pretty much a really fun bike ride and good training. From what I hear, the finale was exciting as hell, with Dan D recovering in ways I couldn't have imagined yesterday to lead the thing out. Greg came around him up the homestretch and was in with a shout, but an insanely on form Brig came around for yet another win. Dude's got game. But mission fully accomplished on our goal.
One thing that's been hard not to notice has been that the women's novice races have been really legit lately. It seems like a lot of women are training hard and getting after it in the races. Teams like Syn-Fit, Coppi, NCVC and Artemis are clearly taking things seriously, and approaching races with fitness and intent to execute a plan. I hadn't paid much attention to this end of things before, but with good reason to watch this stuff more closely now, I'll say I'm definitely impressed with the trend.
Beyond all that, the ride that Nick put out there was just fun to watch. We were screaming ourselves hoarse, hoping that he'd be able to hang on for the reward he deserved.
Another awesome day at Reston. Thanks, Evo.