Crazy week. Wednesday night I had to call in to see if I needed to go in to jury duty on Thursday. I always get the letter but have never had to go. That string is now broken. And now I’m 1 for 1 on getting picked for the jury, too. Funny, because you always hear people saying how to avoid being on a jury. Well, I had zero opportunity to influence the outcome except perhaps by looking differently than I do. VERY VERY long story short, that experience ended on Friday evening at around 7, after we had rendered a guilty verdict. It was an experience I’m glad to have had, and one that I hope not to have again for a long time.
Hustled home to get a few minutes on the trainer for an opener workout and prep some November stuff for Saturday, build a wheel, and then dinner and bed.
The missus raced the early race so we got to Black Hills a little after 9, and it was butt cold. Apart from that, what a great facility and course. Huge kudos to Bike Doctor and Robb H for getting that whole deal together. That might actually be the perfect course anywhere to have the first race of the year (I know that for a lot of people it wasn’t the first race but probably for most it was). One funny note is that the trial I sat for was all about an incident that had happened at the Montgomery County Corrections Facility. Said facility is all of about a mile from Black Hills, and we passed it on the way in. Weird. Only issue with the whole day was that there were 36 or 37 parking lots so coordinating wheel deliveries turned out to be less fantastic than I’d planned.
I’d only gotten in to the master’s race because we thought we weren’t going to be able to make it to this race (and I didn’t sack up for the master’s/1-2-3 double up). This season started out precisely like last year, with a guy whose first name started with “Jo-“ stone cold riding away from my field. A bit depressing, that. Having not raced since August and having been on maybe three group rides (probably fewer) since then, it was going to take a few minutes to get my feet back under me. Unfortunately I didn’t have those few minutes available, and wound up further back than I’d have liked. The speed was pretty darn high, and moving around/up wasn’t coming easy to me for a while. After a few laps I got my act together and got where I wanted to be, only to see a good looking break form about 4 or 5 seconds up the road. I bridged across after using the hill to get to the front, and made it there just at the first left hand turn, but as I was wheezing and trying to recover, the break fell apart and was soon caught. As we went up the finish hill that lap, I went first up the hill and gave it a ton of gas, really hoping to cause a split or draw some people with me. I drew a lot of people with me. Everybody, in fact. Shortly after that, the REAL break (ignoring Josh who was getting ever closer to lapping us) went up the road and I missed out. It was the right mix of guys with team mates at the front of the field, and by the time I had any chance to respond they were too far for me to bridge to. I’d also proven to be lacking in the kind of snap that allows one to reliably do such things as avoid dragging everyone along for the ride.
The race stayed fast, quite fast, for the next several laps, and I started to hear a whole lot of gasping and wheezing. Figuring that this was as good a chance as I’d get to form “chase 2,” I once again put what I had into the hill, to the same unfortunate result as the prior time. Uggh. What are these guys eating for breakfast? I finished in the main field. But what a great race all around. For a frame of reference, my normalized power for the 56 or so minutes of the race was over 4.4 watts/kg. That involved several very hard but very fruitless efforts, so it’s certainly higher than what was absolutely necessito in the race, but it speaks to a pretty darn hard race. And there was a guy who came pretty darn close to lapping that race. WTF?
The team rode the bejesus out of the 3-4 race and came away with a win and a couple of other high finishes. I’ve spoken frequently of Paul’s freakish abilities, and he didn’t disappoint in displaying them on Saturday. Fortunately I will be racing with team mates next weekend, including Paul. That is going to be a fun time.
Saturday night was a friend’s birthday. Total debauchery. Played one of the few hall passes I’ll give myself before Killington, and well played it was. I was actually very excited to get back on the wagon yesterday. “F—K THE GREEN KNIGHT!”
Charming ride yesterday afternoon.