Holy smokescreens it was hot today. That was the big thing.
We'd had a lot of discussions about what to do, strategy, etc. What it all boiled down to was that we had guys with legit GC hopes and guys who were there to jump on their swords, so with that as the context, it was a general case of "ride smart." The general delineation of riding smart hinged on whether you were a sword-faller-on-er or a GC guy. I somehow wound up designated as a GC guy, even though I felt outrageously underprepared and generally not confident about my shot. Just Tuesday, I did the Conte's ride and was pretty sure that I'd get dropped today. Suffice it to say that I was ready to shift roles however the situation demanded.
The first lap came and went and I felt like shite. The second lap came and went and I felt like shite. The third lap came and Greg and Gus were in a really attractive looking move. Mike and Aric slaughtered it into the gap to get me across, but the field sensed the blood and caught us. Knowing how hard it had been to stay on their wheels, I knew that the decision makers in the field would be pretty beat from catching us, so I gave Mike and Aric a "thanks, I'm rolling" and headed back into the gap. The bridge was hard as shit but I made it. It seemed like it was THE selection, but people vegged and it all came back together. One big wasted match. Big.
Shortly after, I asked Greg how he was and got a pretty horrifying response. Greg on a bad day kicks my ass on a good day so I just wanted to keep him to my leeward side and in my draft and keep him in the strike zone since he's young and strong and would come around sooner or later. Hopefully it hooked him up.
As this was happening, Gus was getting into another selection, really he just rode like a fooking toiger today. Mike and I were content to let it get established and see what's up, but then I got a free ride off the field and took it. With Gus up the road, I told the dude (from 540, nice dude, strong) that I wasn't going to do shit until when/if we got clear and then I'd go all in. We got clear, picked up a couple of guys from no man's land and lit out.
The big thing about breaks is that you have to not get totally charged up and go too hard. The guys I was with were wicked psyched, so I tried to keep everyone calm and rotating in the correct direction (there was a bit of wind), which seemed to work. We did well, stayed away from the field, but never quite got to the front break - although we brought it close at one point.
Up the final hill, I stone cold sucked. More than anything else I think I kind of bluffed my way through a real shit pair of legs today. The team was just awesome. Even if our aspirations for having two guys top ten didn't happen, Gus looked flash as hell all day and the work that Mike and Aric did to hook me up was the kind of crap you don't think you're ever going to see happen on Cat 3 teams. I also definitely nutted up and rolled when I would much rather have pulled off the road and jumped into a swimming pool and sucked my thumb for a while. I felt like SHIT all day, full stop.
So now we're in good shape to see what's up in the TT tomorrow. Hopefully I can do some modicum of justice to Mike's faith in me, letting me use his ride. Gus should be fine, he's on a real purple patch right now. We know that Greg is going to throw hatred at the clock, and Nate's really good contre la montre as well. If we don't f it up, we should enter the crit with it all to play for, which is really what it's all about.
AVCC rules at running races.