Sunday, 13 May 2012
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
In previous years, I've gotten pretty psyched up for Poolesville. In return, she has slapped me in the face with flat tires. This year, I registered a long time ago and didn't give the race much thought until yesterday morning. Despite a few good results in mtb races, my legs have felt like living hell lately. I think, and have been told, that I've been over cooking myself. So I took the week basically off. Did an mtb skills ride, one easy spin on the rollers one night when it rained, and then an easy ride with a few form sprints Friday evening. Maybe 4 hours all week. Washed the bike and lubed the chain yesterday morning and away we go. One thing that I had been thinking about the race was the distance. 6 laps for Cat 3 is a LONG Poolesville. I think this was a great move by NCVC. The problem for me was that despite a bunch of riding volume, this would be my longest distance and time on a ride this year. Normally long races are a strength but with no long rides? We'd have to see. I also became convinced that lap 4 was the important one. The most profound thing that happened in the first few laps was I discovered I need all new socks. I'd worn an old pair of NCVC socks as a nod to the host team, and they are average height for my socks. Well, all the cool kids are wearing socks that are so high they look like 70's basketball socks. Brand new and brilliant white. So I'm really behind the curve on that. Apart from that, my team mates rode a few subtle but very good laps and while at times I was frustrated at how not fast we were going, I was serene and patient. Except for the guy who kept nearly banging into everyone but kept touching people and telling them "hold your line". But he played a vital role, someone has to be that guy. By the fourth lap, I was near the front. Paul had come out to play feed zone so I had two fresh bottles. All good. A few guys got away after the hill after the dirt, which is the correct place to go. I started to bridge but there was suddenly much will to stick onto wheels. But the churn had begun. An HPC rider (high white socks and all - they are the style leaders) shot off the left taking Neil from DC Velo. Another HPC went right and I went with him. We rotated until we caught the other two, then killed it up the hill before the feed zone so we could catch the leaders before the flat. Which we did. Wveryone was all in instantly, but it took a lot to get everyone to maximize the 'going fast' while minimizing the 'going hard'. Nessim from ABRT was going hard for everyone else but I think he thought of it as rolling easy. After a lap, it sort of smelled like we had a big gap. I never looked. My lack of giving the race much thought, which included the regrettable nutrition choice of half of a chocolate chip muffin about 4 hours before the race, was causing some concern. So we're allergies, at one point I had to hock one while taking a pull and gave everyone a shower. Sorry, guys. One HPC either cramped or flatted to begin the last lap so now we are six. My left leg is seriously twinging. I skipped a pull to try and stretch it out, which helped. Out of the last dirt, we became 5 as the other HPC died on the post dirt hill. I was just trying to take my pulls and not fully cramp. I figured if I made it to the feed zone with the break I'd at least hang on for 5th and if anyone else died first I'd do better than that. We got to that kicker hill before the feed zone and BAM attacks. I never made a move to respond because by that point my left leg would have seized and I would DNF. I stayed steady and nearly caught back on. Then they went again. We passed the feed zone and I looked back for the first time in over an hour. Used the speedometer as motivation, trying just to stay a bit above 20, and rolled across for 5th and winning back my entry fee. The next guy to finish was still a ways back. Neat. I didn't flat. Hooray tires!! Fun race, fun break, hate the allergies, good team riding, that's pretty much it. Last three weeks have been 3,2,and 5 for me. I don't have any clue what's up with that but I'm enjoying it. I guess it must be the super fast bikes and amazing wheels I use. Oh yeah I used carbon clinchers in a gravel having race which was dumb but as they are currently the only wheels I have, there weren't any alternatives. This no paragraph breaks thing sucks. Please fix it mr blogger.