Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mt. Tabor #5 7/5/6

I prepared so poorly for this race. I didn’t ride at all the day before, drank a bunch of beer, played Trivial Pursuit and under-ate at a BBQ… then slept poorly with bad dreams and a high BAC. I moped around all day, ate too little and too early for an 8pm race, then showed up at Tabor sluggish and detached. Then I got 2nd. The ribbing I got from the Pink and Black crew may, indeed, have some truth to it: when I show up and say I feel like crap—look out!

The race itself was nothing special, except that all the breakaways (including the couple that I got in) just couldn’t get away… totally un-Tabor-like. Sampson, Cameron, Ollerenshaw and Tonkin all instigated breaks that didn’t even last a lap. The pack just wouldn’t be left behind. So, it stayed together, and the sprint would be for 1st instead of the usual 4th. On the last lap, I crested the hill almost last, drilled it down the hill, coasted through most of the pack across the dam, and then started a flat-out sprint at the gate. Just in case I had started to forget who I was and what I was doing there, Molly (on her way to a 7th… Up Velo!) shouted, “Go, Mark, GO!”, and I thought it sounded like a good idea. When I glanced up, I could see that Ollerenshaw had already gapped us all and wouldn’t be caught, no way, no how. So, I decided that the best strategy was to try to get him anyways, and at least I’d be going my fastest. With my imaginary Leia looking over my shoulder, I pulled the cheesy little lever to find that Artoo had miraculously repaired the hyperdrive just in the nick of time. The engine didn’t make the wha-whum-whummm sound… the stars turned to radial white streaks and I was gone. But of course Doug was out of reach. 2nd place.

The oxygen deficit that I was in was simply unreal. I got to the grass to try to avoid fainting and crashing my Lapierre, fell down and wasn’t quite right in the head for at least 30 minutes after the race. I felt like I had a concussion. So weird. It wasn’t like other experiences after long-ass races that had just drained me completely (like WVC stage 4 or the UCB road race). This was different. I was fine at the bottom of the hill, and completely wrecked at the top.

The unfailing support that I had been receiving from my teams all night (both Veloshop and Claremont Colleges were in the house) continued through my post-sprint daze and perhaps kept me conscious. The benefits of a cheering section cannot be overstated. It’s such a pick-up to hear your name shouted every time you toil by! Thank you. And yes, Savoie, you are the loudest.


Anonymous Michelle said...

I was wondering if you heard me. ;)

8:07 PM  
Anonymous the one said...

Next time I see you race I'll do the Ricola commercial. That shit can't be topped.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Mark Blackwelder said...

reeee cohh laaaa.
I can hear it now.

1:28 AM  

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