Thursday, April 30, 2009

Race Report: Tuesday Night at SRP

Damn you, Gabe Varela.

It’s been a while since someone flat out rode me off of their wheel, but that’s exactly what you did Tuesday night, you little f*cker.

A decade (or more) ago I was the one with the capacity to torture the guys with families, big jobs and a propensity for malted beverages and prosciutto. But no excuses, that effort uphill into the crosswind just about killed me. 30 miles an hour. Are you kidding me?

I knew you were going to attack when you did and I was right on your wheel. I knew the attack would stick. And I knew that if I didn’t go with it I’d spend the rest of the race chasing and racing for fourth place. Again. Unfortunately knowing that I need to go with an attack and staying with a break during the hardest part—as it’s forming—are two very different things.

This week’s Tuesday Night Extravaganza of Suffering was held at Spokane Raceway Park. The weather was less than pleasant: 45 degrees with a steady 30 mph wind. Intermittent sprinkles made it even more enjoyable. What’s sad is that these are typically good conditions for me. And unlike last week, I showed up on time and got in a decent warm up, so had fewer excuses than usual.

I’d love to make some excuses though. Let’s see, did I get blown off the front end of the break because my bike is two pounds heavier than some? No. Was it because I rode my ancient training wheels? No. What if I had a different bend to my handlebars? Negative, ghost rider. Some guys wore skinsuits in 45 degree weather. Would a skinsuit’s aeroness have helped? Absolutely not.

No, my problem was simple. The strongest riders did well tonight, and I’m clearly not a member of that club right now.

The race was flat out attrition. After the first two-and-a-half mile lap there was a lead group of 12. After two laps there was a break of three (plus me getting dropped from it), with a chase group of 10. A lap later the break was 20 seconds up the road, where it would stay for the rest of the race, with eight chasers. At the finish I was tired, distracted and didn’t have my heart or head in the game.

I rolled over the line fourth in the sprint that wasn’t really a sprint to take seventh place. This sounds better than it was. Mostly I was sprinting to get my bike into my car and turn on the heater.

So kudos, Gabe. You were the strongest man out there Tuesday, and you’ve completely demoralized me.

I either need to start training consistently or take up golf. Bike racing is hard.

And to Rider 2, who stayed at home instead of showing up to race, I hope you made progress on that needlepoint project you're behind on. Or was it a quilt?

Blogger's note: Ordinarily calling someone a f*cker is grounds for serious offense. In this case though it's meant with total respect. No offense either to Rider 2. He's such a nice guy and generally undeserving of being called out. But still ... Finally, to other riders out there I don't plan to recount every time someone tries to ride me off of their wheel, so please don't make it a point to try to do this to me with the hopes of becoming a legend to the readers of this fair blog. 

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