Sunday, 3 June 2012
Learn From The Egg
So Blogger thinks paragraph breaks are totally unnecessary. I strenuously object! You are totally free to not read this because of that. I wouldn't. Sheesh. ---------------------------------- I've always been a bit obstinate (some would have called me a "crappy pants") about the ovalish "crits" we enjoy so many of around here. Then a funny thing happened. I had this string of good results in both road and mountain (more mountain than road) this spring, following on having done better than expected in cross last fall, and all of a sudden doing a bunch of meaningless chest thumping and doomed shows of force off the front seemed pretty silly. I kind of wanted to start figuring out how to do well in these things. So it was with this mindset that I approached our day at Ride Sally Ride. ----------------------------------- First up, master's b race. I can never tell if it's properly "masters" or "master's." Either probably works. Anywho, the race started, we started going fast, then we started going faster, then faster still. The wind made any kind of a break an exercise in fantasy from my perspective, so I did what was needed to do in order to be there to help Mike at the end. Failing a chance to help Mike at the end, I would see what I could do. I was, I believe I used the word "sanguine" in conversation during the race, about breaks. Nate smelled trouble from one of them and twisted the shit out of the throttle to bring that one back. He gets a pretty big annual case of "the spook" which I know is tough for him to crack. He's cracked it for this year. This is good. --------------------------------- With 10 to go, they announced a prime. On the backside, Mike and I were in the strike zone and I asked if he wanted it. Yes, said he. So, BWWWWAAAAMMMMMMMMMPPPPPPP - of the front we went, getting a HUGE gap, me flailing about and gesticulating in a generally sprinting like fashion and putting out quite a large number of the WATTS. When Mike came around, I noticed that we weren't quite as clear as I'd thought, as Andreas had sucked onto us like one of those new fangled suction cup car racks, and he managed to sneak out the prime from Mike. Nonetheless, it was a good exercise. We'd gotten enough of a gap that I coasted while panting for maybe 15 seconds and still crossed the line 4th. We tried to do a similar deal for the end of the race but alas we fucked up. The pace was already so high that instead of trying to persistently move Mike forward and dump him off close to the line, I should have gone all out full gas and gotten him further up sooner, from where he could have just surfed the wave to a higher spot. Positions got determined REAL early in that one. He wound up somewhere top ten, momentum once again carried me across the line ahead of any potential carnage, and for once I finished an egg race thinking "holy shit, that was fun, can we ride it again?" ----------------------- The second race, the 3, was faster. I had an appointment with a mountain bike race of some importance today, so I kind of planned to hold back. We did some good things in the race, and Kyle got in a nice little move that had legs for a surprising time. I must have done an incredibly artful job of helping them stay away because I was accused of being a crappy shifter for selecting a gear in which I couldn't properly accelerate out of a corner. Jeff (?) from HPC who also has a team mate in the break and I had a bit of a chuckle over that one. Well, I kind of botched the end of the race a bit and wound up off the front at the wrong time, late, and Mike wound up doing okay but now we're all heated up over these things. And instead of being crappy pants and saying "I'll never enjoy those freaking things" I took a bunch of notes and am actually looking forward to the next egg! But not if Reston comes first. I love that course. Thanks to WWVC for another great race promotion. --------------------------- Today was the reschedule of the Bike Line Spring XC at Fair Hill in Elkton, MD. I'd placed a few of my chips on this one. After yesterday's shenanigans I was half hoping that it would get postponed again with all the recent rain. No dice, it was on, tired legs and all. With 75 guys pre-registered, none of whole were me, my field was HUGE. The starter said he thought we had 90 in our field. That's THREE TIMES the size of a BIG mtb field. The course just gets hyper crowded when there are that many racers - that's why they put so many categories in mtb races, just so someone, anyone, can maybe kind of half keep track of what's going on. ------------------------------------------- Predictably, the start was HOLY FREAKING SHIT fast, with 90 guys looking for a top 10 spot into the single track. With some crafty staging and a punishing outlay of WATTS, I got one of them. Predictably, there were some guys with more "giddyup" than "rubber side down" (I very recently was one of them) so there were the obligatory fumbles, bobbles and bumbles as we started in through the trail. My big ring has never seen so much action. Every time I went middle ring I'd go straight back down into the 12 or 13 or even 11 so I'd just front shift back to get a better gear. Tearing ass through single speeders and other fields that started ahead of us made for interesting days, but you just couldn't figure out who was who. I knew a Team CF guy was up, and the yellow guy who beat me at Iron Hill, and some others. But they passed some other field guys in an open zone when I was just a nip too far back to make it so they got some distance, then when I got around the guys they'd passed they were back in a crowd, I had no idea. I thought I was riding in 7th. Which if I'd been doing before this year I would have been happy about but thinking I was in 7th was pissing me off. Going through the S/F to finish lap 1 of two, I figured I was still 7th, with an outside of 5th to the good and 10th to the bad. The next lap was also fast, but it was also more crowded. Blockages left and right. ------------------------------- I got past a cluster of single speeders at one clearing when a geared guy came by me going MAD FAST. He wore a Caffeinated Cyclist jersey. He gapped me badly. I don't know exactly how the math of the asphyxiating works, but somehow I thought all of a sudden that he was probably in my field and I must now be 7th. Mensa, huh? Then all of a sudden it was time to stand up and make sprinterly gestures and go through the finish line. A guy I know saw me after and asked me how I'd done, and I was all "I think seventh" and he was all "no way, I think you got fifth" and I was all "nope." But then it came time to tell the wife how I'd done and of course I used his math and told here I thought fifth. Well, fourth. After lap 1 I was in third, coffee guy pantsed me for third. Instead of getting a gigantic can of HEED I got rasta colored Salsa socks. WIN! ---------------------------------------- I had no idea that this race was the big deal that it is. It's a REALLY well run race, Bike Line has their promotional shit together. But this is like a Poolesville/Reston/Whathaveyou of the dirty world. I didn't know. Makes me look a little stupid for having done two hard races the day before but whaddayagonnado? I guess hooray for getting fourth under the circumstances. But now I'm going to do another race before I upgrade because while I don't want to be a sandbagger (and I know guys play games with that and stuff), I do think it's dumb to go up without having won a race. I've sniffed the crotch of victory of every race this year, but have not as yet closed the deal. This is a deal that one should close. I give myself two races. Coffee is for closers.