Monday, 25 June 2012


Reston. Easily one of the most anticipated races around here. I'd never done the double before, but tried it yesterday. For the first race, the goal was to set me up for a good crack at the sprint. For the second, we'd try to set Kyle up.

The first race, the masters B, mostly seemed super mellow to me. I think this is down to a couple of things. First, I was really patient and just uninterested in any shenanigans. Second, my line selection on that course was really good. The only real teeth on display were the truck and dumpsters on the outside of turn three - guys doing to "swing wide and dive" move could get pretty close to ending your business in an ugly way. The outside line was SO much faster though, so generally it was just a question of making sure your bars were ahead of the inside guy's, then take the outside line really fast and hope that there was a seam in which to set up for the faster outside lines in turns 4 and 5. The outside line from turn 2, while not inherently faster, set you up to pass about one guy for every turn of the cranks so you often wanted to take that. It was hard to switch outside to outside between 2 and 3 so when I took the scam at turn 2, I generally just accepted that I'd give back a couple in turn 3, then look to get them back between 3 and 5. It's possible on that course to gain wheels without expending ANY effort, which is important and came to haunt me later in the masters b.

One thing that I like when I'm trying to set someone up is for the person behind to voice guide me. Mike had shown in winning a big prime that he was riding just awesomely, so when he and I hooked up with 2 to go I was psyched. He took some ninja lines to get us up front, and I'd made a big commitment to just turning off the brain and following him (not really but close to it). We sliced and diced and wound up on the front earlier than would be ideal, heading into turn 3 during the second to last lap. This is where I started to get impatient. By turn 7, I was asking for more throttle, and by the homestretch to get the bell I said "pin it." This was way too early.

Through turn 1, we were hauling, and I dropped down to the 13, whereupon my chain went over the big ring with me second wheel. Quicker than I could imagine, I got it back on the little ring, managed to spin my legs like a blender and latch back onto Mike, then get back in the big ring. Unfortunately, I shot a big match doing that. Then, my recent impatience came home to roost, as Mike was totally done and released me before turn 3. I went through 3, 4, and 5 like a madman, but could tell by 6 that it was turning pear shaped since I had been hearing nothing but freewheels behind while I was turning some ungodly amount of watts. Up to turn 7, guys started to roll past, and up to the finish I just tried to stem the bleeding. Disappointed to screw up a carpet ride like that, but having never been in that spot, I have to learn.

So, why did my chain come off? I think I learned the answer in the second race. Things were going great, all happy and smiley. Then, through turn 5 I felt a tap on my rear wheel and then a "clank" and the chain was off. I thought someone had just hit my derailleur with his wheel. Got out of the way, skidded to a tripod stop, got the chain back on and was allowed a free lap. Got back into the race, noticed that my drivetrain felt funny, and noticed that my chain wasn't engaged in the bottom jockey wheel. Hmmm. Something stupid this way comes, I unclipped and kicked the chain back onto the jockey wheel. It worked and I told myself "just don't shift and it'll be fine." Got back to the front, and spent a lap single speeding it in around 4th wheel but my chain bounced back out of the jockey wheel during that lap. On the homestretch, I tried to go with a move just to cover it but discovered that train "a" was leaving the station at a rate the train "d" could not match with the one available and not very functional gear, so I then did what I could to help the pack not let the move get to out of sight. I set myself up to be on the inside of turn 2 and then made my way to the extreme inside, put my hand up and threw the DNF flag. When I looked, I discovered that the inner plate of the jockey wheels was cracked, rendering the bottom guide useless.

I then recalled getting hit really hard by a front wheel in the rear derailleur during the Washington County road race, and so I assume it got compromised during that incident and was looking for any excuse to blow. So, new rear derailleur. Great.

Did anyone notice how psycho fast the 1/2/3 race was, and that Steven Gordon was riding on a cross bike? The guy was riding AWESOME, was definitely as much help to Keck's win as anyone, on one of the most technical crit courses of the year, and he was doing it on a cross bike. Much respect. Good is good.

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