Saturday, June 26, 2010

The tale of a 3...

It finally happened...I have officially lined up as a 3. I have to be honest, I was a bit nervous the week leading up to this race, after all it was a new group of racers that are faster, and my training for various reasons is not at the level it was last year...

On to the race...My race day ritual, like most racers, is timing based. You know...leave on time to give yourself plenty of time to get ready, eat at a certain time before the race so you don't chuck, and so you're not starving when you line up. This day was no different.

So I get to the venue with the first race going off as I sign up, meaning I have about 45 minutes to get ready. No worries...then I find out that the start of the 3's race will be delayed due to some poor fool throwing his manhood into the meat grinder of marriage!! There's a church on the course that was being used for this man card termination!!'s a good thing this was happening, because with 3 laps to go on the 1st race, I was just getting on my bike to warm up...not good!!! I jump on the course just as the last few 4's are finishing. I roll past the start line to find out the race will indeed be delayed...WOOOOHOOOOOOoooooo!!! I now have time for a warm up!!

The race was supposed to start at started at 7:30. After riding around the course for what felt like an eternity I see riders starting to line up, so I head to the start line. I'm sitting there for about a minute and another rider asked me "did they call us to the line"? I say no we're just greedy!!

As of late I have had issues with hitting my pedal on the first try...about a minute before the race rolls out I say to myself, relax, you know how to do it, you'll hit on the first try. It worked!! The wedding finally rolls out and they say GO!!

I get a great start, I'm sitting about 7th heading into the first turn. We roll through this turn and the screws are immediately worries I'm feeling good. On lap 2 a rider goes on a flier with about a half lap to go, at this point we are rolling through the lower parking lot, the field slows a bit and I maintain my speed and attempt to jump across the gap. I get separation from the field and make it across...woohoooo...that was painful!!

That attack was short lasted about a lap. The field was still fresh...As I have said to some people in the past...If you never try, you never win!!!

About 2 laps later we diving down into turn 1 (which is a technical, 1 lane 90 degree, downhill left with square curbs at the apex and outside exit) and I'm sitting 7th. A rider 3 spots ahead pushes the front and down he goes!! The 2 riders immediately behind him rail inside of this knucklehead, at this point, I can see his carcass will be where I'm headed...OH SH*T!!! So I grab fists full of stoppers, the guy slides across my intended line into the curb, and I crank my bike hard to the right and managed to avoid him and the curb...a hollow this happened the front 4 riders drill it and create a gap.

At this point I'm pissed...Jackass gets up and starts to ride in the direction of the race...I'm ranting aloud at this point and say F**K THIS...I'M TAKING A FREE LAP!!! Captain Road rash hears me and says "we can do that"?!?! I responded with a HELL YEAH and proceed to ride to the officials. Road rash and I get there about the same time, and I tell the official I was caught behind him and had to avoid him or meet certain pain!! They grant us a free lap...

As we sit there, the official asks us if we were with the leaders, I say hell yeah, the field was still solid when he hit the pavement!! He says ok, I'll put you back with the 4 man break when it comes by...SWEEEEET!!!

The break is about to come by and the announcer says "put them in with the field"...So much for a repeat victory...The gap was not very big and had I not been sitting there for an eternity I think I could've jumped across to join the front. As it was, my legs immediately loaded up and I suffered greatly for a lap and a half!!

Back under control, my job at this point was to manage the field because I had a teammate in the break...There was 4 of us flying the Shack colors left in the field and once we were on the same page, we shut down pretty much everything that tried to go from then on!!

The last lap...Due to our efforts at controlling the field, everyone, I felt, was rested...This is gonna be interesting...A little less than half way through the last lap the pace goes straight to the redline!! Up the hill, left, down a short straight, right into a parking lot going at least 30mph at this the end of this parking lot, there's a chicane that sets up into an uphill right.

I'm sitting about 15th going into this turn. I set up for a wide line on the outside...I'm carrying a ton of speed, the riders in front of me grab brakes and dive for the inside line...I think about the stoppers but that's about it...I rail around the outside and my line is going to take me to the curb...I realize this and put total faith in my tires and my bike handling skills and lean a little more...I missed the square curb by couple of inches at the most!! I say out loud...OH YEAH!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T HIT THE CURB!!! I would have bet money I was gonna wad it up and find myself on the ground in the grass, that's how close it was!! At this point I had moved into the top 10...A great move!!!

While I was yelling this, we were climbing, headed to the last turn and the sprint finish. We all start sprinting and in the end my spectacular move and adrenaline fueled comments ran me out of gas about 30 meters short of the line...after all, if you're talking, you're not a potential top 10 turned into 13th...

There you go now you know...No one knows how a race will play out and crashes happen!! All you can do is stay at or near the front and be attentive. Sometimes this is not enough but that's racing...

Overall I felt better than I thought I would, this is encouraging!! The Tour of Lawrence is up next and after this ride I'm pretty sure I will be lining up!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Racing Mother Nature...

The pic was taken about 45 minutes after this ride ended!!

Hmmm...If you are an avid cyclist this dilemma has probably presented itself to you at least once...probably more!! I'm talking about looking at the radar, seeing rain headed your way, and thinking to yourself...That's about an hour away, I can get a quick 20 miler in.

I have taken this dare from Mother Nature numerous times, and for quite a while I had a winning percentage. She can talk trash with the best of 'em and get you out on your bike in the smallest of weather windows...BEEHATCH!!!

Saturday was one of these days. The storms were more than an hour away, so I saddle up for the Saturday ritual which usually nets me 50-60 miles...or roughly 3 hours-ish of ride time.

Fast forward 2 hours...As the group I'm riding with rides north, Mother Nature shows her hand...Aces and 8's...the dead mans hand!! The sky was BLACK!! So we roll into the college where the group ride ends with thunder and lightning all around. I sit there for a few minutes and ponder what to do while I wait on Leadfoot. He rolls in a couple of minutes later and offers me a ride home, but we have to ride to his house...I say HELL YEAH!!!

At this point Mother Nature is poised to deliver THE sucker punch of the season so far!! The wind had been out of the south all morning, now it's out of the northwest and freakin howling!! Fortunately Leadfoot lives east of the college about 5 or 6 the wind was helping!!

We had just finished the hammer portion of the Saturday ride only to follow it up with a race with Mother Nature!!! we take off and start killing it again. We get about a mile up the road I turn and look back and the Mother Nature is right on our wheels...I think she was drafting!! Anyhoo...we proceed to kill it all the way back Leadfoot's house and about a mile out it starts sprinkling, so Leadfoot kicks it up a notch and we get to his house about 5 minutes before she pulled the plug!!