Monday, June 05, 2006

Mt. Hood Cycling Classic ‘06

This was my last 3’s race, and I ironically didn’t have any shot whatsoever of competing in the GC. Every stage requires riders to climb and climb. I’ll keep it short. It was disappointing. I’ve done Hood now and will never have to do it again.

Stage 1: Circuit race.
We went down for 8 miles, then up for 8 miles… three times. I hoped to somehow keep contact with the group up these long, gradual climbs. Worst case, I wanted to make it to the last climb with the group and not lose too much time as they raced off to the top of it. Instead, I drifted up the first climb, and bridged back on the descent (now THAT I can do). Then I drifted off again up the second climb, but drifted too far and couldn’t catch back up by the bottom of the descent. Dropped. Lost 13 minutes.

Stage 2: Time trial
I was 13 minutes down, expected to lose another 30-40 minutes on the last day, and had the crit to race later this day. You think I gave a running, jumping, flying f*ck about the time trial?

Stage 3: Criterium
There were two reasons for me to go to Hood: 1) to, whenever I had the welcomed opportunity, help my teammates that were still fighting out the GC, and 2) win the crit. Seriously. It was a great course for my strengths and I was racing against a bunch of guys that could out-climb me. Second place would not suffice. I raced like a pirate. My position mattered, and nothing else. I bumped, I pushed, I cut off and I risked life and limb on countless occasions. And with one to go I had my whole plan of attack laid out, and was right where I needed to be in order to implement it. Then one of the guys in front of me pumped his fist in victory and sat up. The race was over. The counter had said 2 to go last time around, and only EVERYONE else around me had been able to hear the announcer say ‘one to go’. I discovered a new tactical weakness: my damaged hearing. I haven’t been that pissed since I was 14 years old. I almost went home and sold my bikes. Nights kept awake by my lingering rage: two and counting.

Stage 4: Road Race
I had a nice, mostly-solitary training ride on a beautiful 70-mile stretch of mountain road. Then I had some beers and the greasiest chicken breast I’ve ever made the poor decision of eating.

Mt. Hood Cycling Classic: never again.

3 Comments:

Anonymous michelle said...

mark-
sorry to hear about your disapountments with the race. You guy all inspire me just by showing up. Even without being imjured I'm way to weak to even try Mt. Hood. Nikki told me of the pain endured last year and your race confirms that even trying to finish is an accomplishment. If its any consolance, some crits could be more dissapoinying...like when you fly over your handle bars, break you collar bone, and spend the next two weeks accrueing enough in medical bills to buy an entire fleet of new dream bikes. ;)
Michelle

2:13 PM  
Blogger Mark Blackwelder said...

thanks Michelle. yeah, the crash possibility is THE ONE reason I was pissed. I made decision after decision to put myself at HIGH risk, only to squander my survival in a boneheaded oversight. it's the very reason that nobody could ever get that PISSED about a time trial. it's not the effort I'm mad about having wasted. I hope you're getting better in a hurry.m

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Quenton said...

Gotta give you props for even racing it man. Even showing up at the line, and finishing several stages is an accomplishment.

10:15 AM  

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