As with last year, this road season ended with the Tour de Fair Haven, a lovely race in NJ. It's good to get credit for an inlaw visit when you go to a bike race. This year's event was bigger than last year's, with some silly prize money on offer. The masters field was stacked with powerful teams.
One of the biggest things I have to work on is getting psyched up at the start. I always have this extended moment of "aw jeez, why'd I even come to this race, I'm just going to get beat up," and it often turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not good. I had the same feelings yesterday but fought back, even as they were calling up former pros and national champs. The worst and most immediate effect of my pre-race malaise was realized was when I was in the back third off the line. Uggh. Well, I pulled up my big boy pants and started dealing. My goal was to get to the front 12 slots by the time the early break went. Fail, but mostly because I was so far back and the break went early. Next goal was to get and stay in the front for when that break got caught, and be in the counter.
I'll give myself credit for doing a good job of moving up, by taking it just like a group ride. The pace was really high (we were going 30 as often as not) which made getting a lane to move up super easy. Going fast enough was the hard part. I had to do it in stages, grab a buch of spots, slot in, take 2 breaths, and then at it again.
The 2 guys out front got much closer despite having lots of team mates in the field, but then a guy shot off for a bridge. Hmmm. How was this going to work itself out? One guy from a team in the break looked VERY itchy to go, so I moved into position behind him. Everything looked pretty neat when we approached the turn onto the straight where he'd definitely go. And I hit a pothole so hard it nearly knocked my teeth loose. I was really surprised I hadn't flatted. Only a couple of seconds later I learned that I had. Merde.
When the field came back down the straight at the end of that lap, homie whose wheel I had marked was around 2/3 of the way across. Eventually, another of their dudes bridged. Homie won. At least I had it picked out right. Some Adler racing guy in a track helmet wins beast of the day in a landslide. Dude was MONSTER.
That's the way these things always go I guess. Even with the flat, I learned much in this race. It was by far the fastest race I've been in where I was able to slow it down and actually build and set about executing a plan. I also got better at cornering in crowds, which has been a weak point this year. Cornering on my own is a strength, but in crowds I got tentative and was too much on the breaks. Energy wasted. No more. Sweet.
After my race, watched a great women's race and then hung with Jay's family (absolutely awesome people) while watching Jay and Chuck roll the P-1-2 race. They looked solid as hell the whole time, but we had to get back to family before it was over.
So now the off season. Lots to work on, but coming from a good spot. The simple goals for next year are to win a masters race and win a sport class mtb race. Achieving them will be as much a mental victory as a physical one.
My carbon clinchers are for sale. You see, I won't be needing them anymore. Rear is a Reynolds Attack, front is a Cane Creek Aros. Same rims, different hubs. 20h front, 24h rear, 46mm deep. In very good shape, I haven't used them really very much since I got them. The set weighs around 1600g. $450 the pair for readers. Email at dkri7358 on the google mail for details, pics, whatever.