"I am not the sexy World Cup Bike racer anymore. I am just Willow. All my life that has never been enough, now it has to be."
Geez'm Willow. Now your making me cry. Trust me, your going through some significant changes right now. You'll come out of this a brighter star than ever. As a matter of fact, just today I learned a little about what you women go through. I wore bib-shorts for the first time and can say without reservation - I don't know how you deal with straps on a regular basis. They're annoying as hell. From now on when you let the puppies loose, I'll do my best not to stare. I won't assume that you're trying to express yourself or cause any unnecessary disruption.
So the race went like this:
Due to the popularity of this race, I knew some heavy hitters were bound to show. That made me no more or less nervous than usual - the benefit of continually being an anxious, obsessive twit.
The day before I did my usual pre-raceday routine: A quick (30 minute) jaunt on the single speed around some trails about a mile from the house. For the first time I brought along a GPS and measured stuff. A couple of the grades go beyond 23%. Who knew. Somehow here in flatlander paradise, I chanced upon some acreage with tres bueno training terrain. The course serves as a good general indicator for how I am going to feel. I cleaned all the hills, but performance wasn't quite all there. After the ride I got in and my right knee didn't feel so hot. Great. I'm feeling so-so and now I've gone and made things worse. I iced the knee and called it a night.
Conditions at the race were close to ideal for racing. Cool & damp. The kind of weather marathon records are made in. I suited up like usual but this time brought along a water bottle stand thingy like them Eeeeleetes use. The plan was to do my two laps then go do another to see how I'd do as an Eeeeeleete.
Screw you Rapture - check out my numbah!!
Waiting at the port-o-john my ass was slapped. I was a little shocked by this. Turns out this is part of being on the same team as Rick.
Staging was nicely executed. The organizers created a kind of clockwise rotation - nothing like last year. Additionally they ran the course in the opposite direction. In theory this may have worked to my benefit. I prefer turning left.
The Vet II group was comprised of at least 30 guys. At the start someone piped up: "Hey everyone, this is going to be a long stretch of double track, no need to go crazy at the start and cause a crash". That sounded reasonable enough to me. Besides, I figured everyone would go easy at the start so's not to burn too much rocket fuel. Let the dopes do all the work -right?? At the signal - my figuring was given the meanest backhand ever. The bastards at the front made off like raped apes. Cripes guys, really!!??
I was in maybe 9th or 10th and the lead group was pulling away. The fellow in front of me wasn't giving chase which furthered complacency on my part. Finally, I made my move and said something like "Them sumbitches are moving - huh??" while passing. Response: Aside from the sound of spinning mechanical stuff - silence. Right... Onward!!
After finally catching back up, the group swung into the singletrack. Sure enough, some folks got hung up on moderately technical terrain, which meant getting off the friggin bike. From now on, I ain't hanging in the back or even mid pack. It screws with your mojo.
The thing about this singletrack was that there were widow-maker roots *everywhere*. One such root caused abrupt disembarkment. I sputtered & cussed while the main group sped away. While getting back on the bike I heard Steve Segenchuck who was following say "You lost your bottle" . Aaaaarrgh...!! I went back got it and continued behind Steve. While following he says: "what are you doing back here??" My clever, quick response: "I DON'T KNOW!!" This section proved to be the most difficult. Zipping through here I hit one tree really hard with my shoulder. Almost the kind of hit you'd administer if say.... your shoulder popped out I thought to myself. That's the third freakin' week I have hit this shoulder. For the record, I was turning right. See the pattern??
At this point riders were thinned out everywhere. Yet again, I had no idea who I was passing & where. I reeled in rider after rider keeping a lookout for Brian Currier. He won last year and can always be relied on to finish near the top. Throughout the whole race I never saw his Claremont Cycle jersey. Turns out he hit a tree and dislocated his shoulder (He's OK - saw him at the finish). I know just the technique for putting that back.. Hit more trees!!
Not what you want to see at a race. There were at least three folks carted out in one of these.
Overall the race included a few climbs, but nothing too tough. There were a few water crossings, a couple of bridges and plenty of doubletrack sections to open things up and pass.
In the end: 1st Vet II and maybe somewhere within the top 5 amongst all the CAT 1's. I totally wimped out and decided against running another lap to compare to the Eeeeleets. I'm such a loser.
Even more shameful, I brought along 750ml of some 9.5% Belgian Blonde Ale one of the sales guys at work gave to me. I planned on drinking it if things worked out. They did. It kind of distracted me from the usual picture laden race report folks have come to depend on. I spent the afternoon hanging with lots of good folks talkin', drankin and eatin'.
Sorry about this. I humbly submit the best I could come up with:
Soooo... About them thar Eeeeleeets.. Looking at my time I would have had my plumbing cleaned by Roto Reuter this time around. Maybe just a couple more CAT 1 races? I dunno. I just like racing.
Check out the definition of Elite:
Elite (occasionally spelled élite) (Latin, eligere - "to elect") refers to an exceptional and/or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence. Depending on the context, this power might be physical, spiritual, intellectual and/or financial. In some isolated cases, outright wattage is applicable.
Next up - either the Big Ring Rumpus or Domnarski Farm. Tough choice here. I haven't done Domnarski and it's closer (technical too - the Rumpus is kind of a dirt crit) but.... They have MONEY at the Rumpus and it's EFTA It's not easy having choices like these.
Possibly before those: The Coyote Hill Classic. I might have family obligations that weekend though..