Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sandy vs. the broomwagon

So apparently our average speed for the first hour and a bit coming into the Oude Kwaremont was 49km/h. That is what Ann has just informed me. This explains a lot. How about I start from the beginning...
Today was a day of firsts, and not good firsts. First time flatting in a race (~20 minutes in), first time flatting a tubular (hit some crevasse in the road so hard it buckled my Ksyrium rim), first wheel change in a race, first time maneuvering through the race caravan (motor paced up to the caravan first, as our car was almost last in line, at 60+km/h) and first time in the broom wagon. Not a fun experience. Did everything right leading up to the race, legs felt good and strong, mind was in the game. Right from the start, I held my spot in the top 20 or so, right where I needed to be to follow attacks as per orders. We were neutral for about 4km, then the fireworks went off and the pack went from 35km/h directly up to 50+. Man, saw guys attacking from the guy left right and center, but nothing could stay. Our pace was just too fast and the wind too much. At least the sun was out for this day of suffering. Realizing that there was no attacks worth going with, and risking blowing myself up by trying to break away, I settled myself into the pack. About 20 minutes into the race, we found ourselves strung out single file rolling along next to a canal when WHAM! I heard my front tire bottom out on my rim as I hit some kind of crevasse in the road. I quickly looked down, wheel looked basically true, not flat. Kept riding. A few minutes later I thought my bike was handling a little funny as it was sliding around on the road, a little disconcerting at 50km/h. Checked down again, sure enough, flat as a pancake. Put my hand up to signal to everyone around my and the commissar's car that I had a front flat. Radioed Heert (our DS for the day) that I needed a wheel change. Unfortunately our car was about 20th in line so I kept rolling and waited until I heard his voice telling me that he wa 20m behind, pulled my wheel out, popped in the new one, and got a nice push off to start rolling. Got in behind our team car and Heert tore me back up to the caravan at 60+km/h. Seriously, I kept looking down because I was spinning out my gear, but there was nothing bigger than that 53x11 I was spinning like a junior track rider. Got up to the caravan where I unfortunately panicked a bit (never having ridden a caravan before) and starting wasting too much energy, should have been more patient and moved up when I got better chances. Got within 3 cars 3 times. But I could not close that gap. Yo-yoed back and forth in the caravan for about 50 minutes, or until we hit the base of the Ode Kwaremont when the old broom wagon finally caught up to me. Tossed my bike into the bike wagon, and did the old walk of shame into the broom wagon. Watched the rest of the race from the wagon. Did a nice 3 hour ride after the race pre-dinner.
That was my day, needless to say I am not in the greatest of moods right now. But hey, thats racing. Time to learn from this and get ready for the next race. I hate not finishing, I can now put this in the pain bank and use it when the going gets tough. I'll talk to Bernard soon to get my coming schedule and see what I'll be racing next.

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