Monday, October 29, 2007

Livin like a pro

Racing like an amateur.

I think that sums up my foray into racing under the big top so to speak. After a 27th finish on day one I was hoping for a better line-up, you know, maybe one based on performance. Unfortunately things didn’t work out that way. While I had a second to last row line-up on day one with number 51, day two gave me number 55 and put me in the last row. The day’s course had been changed some, they took out the 180 turn before the barriers, and the long straight aways. These were replaced with more sweeping turns on rough grass. The other turns that were slick the day before and had me riding more tentative had gotten tackier overnight so you could really rail those corners. The only part that seemed harder was the sand. It had turned wet and heavy, but only one pit was really that long or deep.

I was feeling good about the day, despite my start number. I just dropped all expectations and only focused on having a strong race. Sitting in the last row for the start, I remembered reading, or being told, about a Belgian rider who, when stuck in the back at a start, would actually move about 5 yards behind everyone else, like a full back in football, and when the gun went off, would get the momentum going and just surge into the gaps of the pack in front of him, just like a full back looking for holes in the line of scrimmage. I thought I’d try it out, and it worked pretty well, right away I was past 10-15 guys, and had more momentum than most of the other riders. So far so good, but not for long. Into the second turn, some yahoo in front of me got all tangled in the tape and crashed. I had to stop dismount and remount to get around/over him. That cost me most of what I had gained. Ughh. From there all I could do was attack. I was feeling good and really moving up. By the second lap I was up to 28th. With a group of six or so a ways in front of me. I slowly worked my way up to 22nd, and as I came through with one lap to go a group of four had worked their way up to me. Here I was with 4 guys all racing for 22nd. One guy slipped around me, and went right past him. I was trying to lay it down as best I could to break up this group as I didn’t think I could hold off a finish line sprint. While really pushing it with less than a half a lap to go, my front wheel slipped out on a turn, the guy behind me ran over my rear wheel, and as I reached down for my bike, the next guy hit it and knocked it 5 feet away from me. I grabbed and jumped on, but my rear wheel wasn’t spinning. My brake pad had been jammed below the rim. I had to stop and pull it out. Then get going again. All this took only 5 seconds or so, but enough to leave me too far behind those guys and left in 26th place. One better than the day before. Aside from the final place, I feel like I had a lot better race than Saturday, and looking at the results, I was a minute closer to the race winner, but still 3 minutes behind.

Gotta go catch a plane.

livin like a pro……