Sunday, March 19, 2006

Banana Belt #3 3/19

Preview: 6 laps of a rolling 11-mile course, done on dry pavement with a few patches of ice, bathed in sunlight but still freezing cold. About 55ish starters.

Synopsis: feeling my worst, getting my best.

Pre-race: I couldn’t eat last night. Weirdest thing. Me, Mark, not wanting to eat. Well, anyways, I forced it down. Gotta eat fat to burn fat. Still, this morning, after my lamest sleeping performance in months, I had no appetite, and had this burpy acidic feeling in my gut that made just being awake nearly unbearable. I sacked up, ate a bagel and a Mojo bar, had like 4 pints of EmergenC and about 20 ounces of coffee while I drove alone out to the race. Nobody else from my team was there. Not a single other cat 3 or women’s cat 4 (the morning races). It was a lonely and miserable morning.

The race: the 3’s hauled ass today. Well, anyways, about 25 of us did. The others were out the back, pronto. At one point I thought I was riding near-ish the front, pointed to a pothole and yelled, “hole”, and then laughed with the guy next to me when we realized we were at the end of the line. It was a brisk pace. All day there were attacks, breakaways and catches. I helped for a while with the bridging of gaps, but stopped on the 4th lap when the word “dropped” started echoing in my head. I was hurting. I used the elastic today for the first time this year. It held, and I snapped back on. The stupidest thing: I was hungry. Feeling hungry in a 66 mile RR is a sure sign that your preparation sucked. I kept turning them over one stroke at a time and was glad to find myself still in it on the last lap. There weren’t many of us left.

10 miles to go, yet another group goes. Two, shortly joined by two more. They just hang there at 20 seconds. By 5 to go, it really looks like they’re toasted, but two U of O riders jump to join them. If the group were making any time at all, we would have been scared. A guy from Broadmark even commented to me sarcastically, “Great idea. Bridge to a fried breakaway.” For one of them, tho, it turned out to be a great idea. Two miles to go and they’re still right there, and it’s not because of any laziness on our part. We were cooking. But the sprint was coming (really cooking), and we knew we’d get ‘em. A mile to go, we’re on our way up the last climb. I am bewildered to find that I’ve got the legs to go from the back to the front of the chasing pack up the ascent. I guess everyone else was tired, too. At the top, I felt like I could reach out and touch the break. Down the descent, we paceline too fast for them and they’re caught. Ehhhksellent. I settle in to start defending possession of my spot right near the rotating front. I know that my best bet is to be the first one over the roller that crests 200 meters from the finish (stay out of traffic, Marko!). We hit the bridge, which was nice and dry this week, and I slingshot off my wheel and go. I’m pleased to see that I’m going the fastest. I am really, really disappointed to see, for the first time, the guy 50 meters off the front of my wheel: an escapee of the escape group. I hadn’t counted ‘em when we caught ‘em. I did not know he was there. Shitters. We were all sprinting for second. Oh well. I crested the top first (in the bunch) and saw the finish line. Right then a guy comes off my wheel and around me. My afterburners fire and I’m on his wheel. Another guy comes around on the other side. I’m losing. I fire again to try to get around. I’m geared out: in my 53-12 turning over a standing 100 rpm. Come on, legspeed! I can’t do it. It was everything I could muster and I only gained about half a bike length. The two guys beside me threw bikes for second and I sat up for fourth.

The silver lining: I am totally happy to have done that well whilst feeling so bad. Also, for once I don’t have a tactical mistake haunting me for the rest of the day, preventing me from falling asleep at night. That guy that won made a sweet move, and he deserves the win. I wish we had pulled him back, but I certainly don’t feel personally responsible for it (especially as the sole rep of my team). I gave everything I had. I wish it had been enough, of course, but it definitely sits better with me to feel weak than to feel stupid.

4 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

It sounds like more than just silver lining. Good job. I'm glad you finished that string of races off with something positive. The Eeyore blog was beginning to become boring.

6:40 PM  
Blogger darrenleva said...

Mark,

Sick riding...you're going to be a 2 by the end of the summer. Love to hear that you're rolling the competition up and smoking em, just like in the mont'.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Sorry buddy, sounds like my shrink stuff got in your head and kept you up all night. We've got some drugs (read legal prescription UCI) to help with the sleep and I've got some powerbars to keep you rockin'.

Its early season, you're just dialin' it in.

4:51 PM  
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