Monday, May 25, 2009

Nearly French

Nothing like a race to improve a day! I am understanding, and appreciating, the early mornings here for racing. At first, coming from a land where Senior's race early afternoon, I was unimpressed with the 8-9am start times. Now, I am realizing that racing at 1pm here in the mountains would probably kill you. By 8:30 am yesterday, I was quite warm on the start line in simply shorts and and jersey. By the time I was home, I tried to pick up a white plate from our table outside and nearly burned my hand. It had been in the sun for about 10 minutes apparently. Who needs an oven? But back to the race. A rolling race I was told, about 100km (no one ever knows an exact distance). A race of tactics. Either way I felt good. The one climb was about 1.5km to 500m, again depending on who you asked. Side note, the climb was about 3km and we did it 3 times. Plus the "other" climb in the random extra loop. More on that soon. Rode aggressively and was very happy. Bridged up to a small break on the first lap up the climb with my team mate Ed. Misjudged to the length of the climb (damn wrong info) and nearly blew myself, but suffered on. By the descent our group had grown to about 20+ with little groups scampering across. Too many to work. Stayed at the front and set tempo the next time up the climb cresting 2nd to launch Ed in a solo bid for freedom. Not my ideal move, but he wanted a dig. Stayed at the front again and Ed was still on his own out front the last time over the climb. Saw 8km to go. Sprint time. Side note, that was supposed to show 25km to go. 8km was for after the next random new loop. I really wanted to sprint and was felling strong and motivated. Suddenly a sharp right hander and then a wall. Attacks and a lead group forms. Shit, big ring up the wall and up to the leaders. The wall keeps going. And going. Little ring, boom. Where did this climb come from I wonder, drifting backwards. Into a small chase group now, recovering a bit before setting back to the chase. I got over simply based on the fact that I was certain (for about 5-6km of climbing) that the climb was ending just around the next bend. On the descent into town, a few more got onto our group and we all pedaled through holding the pace high in the chase. Coming into 2km to go, I positioned myself well. Suddenly traffic. Downhill run-in to the finish, with on-coming traffic (move up to 4th wheel), into a 180 degree turn around a turning circle (which I power slid through as the volunteer "forgot" to tell us to keep turning), into an uphill 300m sprint for the line. I got 2nd in the sprint. About 15th overall. Oh, Ed got caught on the final climb then dropped his chain. Poor guy. I had some stomach cramps that nearly crippled me on the way home and then spent the afternoon realzing in the usual manner. Race a cool downtown crit Thursday, then off to Tour des Vallees Saturday-Monday. Boooya.

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