Monday, November 05, 2007

So close

Sunday was a trip to the quarry in Barton for a bike race. I know, a quarry doesn’t sound like much of a place for a bike race, and to be honest I am not sure if it is, but I’m just a passenger on this Crusade; it’s not my place to make these decisions.

Leading up to the race, I had planned on just simply going balls out and try to kill it, inflict some self suffering, and if I was lucky, cause some pain and suffering on anyone who wanted to play along. Sitting at my desk today, I can say I certainly caused my self to suffer, hopefully some others are feeling as miserable as a result.

Barton was a totally different race this year, Being in a gravel pit it featured a lot of …..gravel. Shocking I know. It also had some pavement, some dirt, some gravel covered pavement and some gravel covered dirt. Even with all the dry weather, they managed to find a couple spots of mud for us, nice guys. Threw in two lung searing run-ups and some gravelly corners sprinkled on top. Overall it was a flat course. And it was a fast course. I had a call-up to the second row, as I had dropped to 11th overall after missing last week’s race. I still got a good start and was up near the front going into the first corner. By the time we came around at the end of the first lap I had moved to the front with a mind on driving the pace. We had a group of about 11 off the front, and I was anxious to whittle this down. I knew that being in front for so long was not a smart race tactic, I even remember thinking to myself that I was just being a chump for the strong guys behind me. But I don't think that sitting in a paceline and letting others do the work is going to make you a stronger racer, so I kept trying to go to the front, at least for the first three laps. I eventually had to drop back in the line for a bit to recover. At the start of the fifth lap or so I started moving back up until I dropped my chain on the run-up. Not only did I drop my chain, but I got it wrapped around my crank arm and jammed in between the chain rings. I can’t figure out how that happened. I think it may have been sabotage while running up the hill….ok maybe not. No matter, I was forced to stop, get on the ground, and wrestle with my chain for what felt like an eternity, but in reality was probably 20-30 seconds, if that. We must have had a significant gap on the rest of the field as no one really got past me, just a few stragglers. I got going again and passed those guys up. I was obsessed and gave all I had to try to catch back up, but working alone was just too much and after a couple laps I could tell I wasn’t gaining on the front. I was able to grab on to some of the A men riders as they came by, and that helped me some, I even got within sight of a couple guys who eventually fell off the front pack, but that was in the last lap, too late to catch them. In the end I was lucky to finish 9th. Partly due to a couple guys in the front DNFing (Did Not Finsish).

I like I was so close to a good finish, but crappy luck, or poor skill, took it away again. I was hoping for a better finish from the day. The 9th place was enough to move me back into the top ten overall, but since I will miss the double points race, I will need a strong finish next week to secure my goal of a top 10 overall. I know I can do better. I just need to prove it.

On the bright side, or should I say, dark side, it looks like there is some rain in the forecast later in the week. Could be a muddy Estacada race.

Edited to change my finish from 8th to 9th, John McCaffrey finished 5th he did not DNF as first reported, nice race John.