GMSR 2012, stage 3: flatted on enormous pothole
GMSR 2013, stage 3: flatted on enormous pothole
KSR 2014, stage 2: flatted on enormous pothole
The secretly toughest part of Killington is the first KOM on stage 2. It's 5 of the toughest minutes of your life, after which the pace doesn't let up appreciably for another 15 minutes. Yesterday, 4 guys opened a gap nearly instantly at the bottom. The alarm bells were all ringing, so I just got as close to the front as I could and white knuckled it to try and stay with what was rapidly becoming a pretty small selection. Eventually, I was gapped just a bit, and its that horrible 50' to the rider in front, 500' to the rider behind, totally pinned, what are you made of deals. I shifted down, went into the abyss, and passed the test. The file was later to show that this was the hardest I've ever gone for 5 minutes.
Totally banged up but freaking psyched to have made the group I did, I tried to at least get my heart below my eye sockets, and soldiered on. Eventually the effort became aerobic again, and that's fine for me. I took my turns, hated it when guys would charge on kickers but buckled down and stayed attached, and made it to the feed zone. If you make the feed zone, generally you're going to live to fight to the bottom of the mother climb. The best news was that our group had whittled down to like 6 (through droppage and the unfortunate flatting of the race leader) and we'd all but caught the 4 who'd been out ahead. And then at 40+ mph, the guy in front of me did that little shimmy which I didn't have time to replicate and BAM! My legs were instantly covered in Stan's and my weekend was done. Proper kudos to my rim for not exploding.
The wheel truck had stayed behind the main pack, so it took 3.5 minutes to get a change. Weekend over. I wound up catching a few people and being caught by the 1/2 field, which we rolled on the back of for awhile. With the 56 mile solo after after my flat at Quabbin already in this year's register, combined with my general history of untimely flats, the fight had left me. My car was at the bottom of the hill, I went straight to it. That much demoralization, I just can't take it.
The guys I was with went 1 through 9 on the stage.
I had a brief conversation with a teammate of the GC leader, who thought it was probably lame that we hadnt waited for him to get a wheel. We were going WAY TOO FAST to even really realize it when it happened, and with the break up the road and the truck behind the pack, 3' behind us, it would have handed the GC to the break and erased the work my group had done. He seemed to understand, but when there's no team car to get flats undone within .0 seconds, such niceties are impracticable.