The course was a 17.5 mile loop which we would do twice with a 3.5 mile gravel section.
I'm not going to sugar coat it.
I was terrible.
I mean one of the most mentally difficult races I've done in a long time.
I had preregistered for the race a few days ahead. Which I'm really glad that I did. Because once Thomas and myself got to the venue we discovered that registration for the Cat. 4/5 race was full. Which made me feel lucky, while simultaneously making me feel shitty for poor Thomas who hadn't registered early. I had offered to take his stuff if he wanted to ride home. But he declined and promptly went and volunteered to be bottle bitch for some of our Cat. 1/2 teammates (Cuz Thomas rocks like that.) who were racing a gnarly 87 miles. No bueno...
Once the Cat. 4/5 race started I was one of the first guys into the gravel (Score 1 point.). I knew that the race would shatter like a teenage girls heart when she discovered that all Joey really wanted to do was to feel her up. So I did my best to be there when it happened and I saw the winning break start to form (Score another point.) I even tried to bridge the gap. But I couldn't do it (Minus a point and a boo!.).
I stayed with the second group for a while trying to regain my composure. Although I wasn't doing the best job of that. The front of the group once again took off like a scorched cat when we reached the gravel for the second time. Bottom line was I got detached and couldn't get back on. (Minus another point.) Meh...
Couple that with a severely cramping left butt cheek and I was getting pretty grumpy about the whole thing. In fact, it's the first time in a long while that I truly considered quiting a race. I hurt enough and I imploded quickly enough that the seeds of doubt had firmly planted themselves in my mind. I kept thinking, "Screw this. I'll just ride in and call it good."
So I eased up on the pedals and watched the group fade away. Of course as soon as I did that I started to feel ashamed of myself. I'd payed my money. I didn't really want to pull the plug and let some other weekend hack claim my little piece of glory! So I decided I'd keep trying to ride within myself as best I could and recover.
After a few miles the cramp in my ass started to feel a little better. The beautiful day and scenery became a little more apparent to me. Instead of tunnel vision and little swirling black spots. I was generally feeling better about the whole debacle at that point. Unfortunately by then at least a dozen other racers had passed me. But I doubt my brain was in the correct place to hang with them anyway. I kept plugging away in my own little world when I noticed a noise coming from behind me. Somewhere in those last few miles I had developed a tail.
My tail's name was Dan. After a little while he came around to take a pull. And we kept the rotation going pretty well for the remainder of the race. He executed a half hearted sprint away from me at the finish line. Which bugged me a little. I mean, why is he sprinting for a solid bottom 25% finishing place!? But I guess there have been times when I did the same. Oh well.
So that's the un-inspired race report. But it did give me a few things to think about. And these aren't excuses... Really.
The first is that I still need to lose some weight. Not that that is any kind of big shocker. I think just about any cyclist when asked. Will say they need to drop a few pounds (Except maybe Mr. C.). But I'm still about 5 pounds behind where I should be for this time of year. It's really amazing what a difference 5 extra pounds makes. It's the difference in bridging the gap or not (Literally). Or hanging on to the back of the group for dear life or not (Also, literally.).
The second thing is that I had been sick for three weeks and really only had one week back on the bike before the race. So I guess I was hoping that my "well rested" legs would have enough poop in them to get the job done. Obviously not. There really wasn't a whole lot I could have done to speed up the healing process (Other than not getting sick at all.). That cold really kicked my ass. I had just finished the antibiotics the Monday before the race. So maybe that had a little something to do with it too. All I know is that after the race I hacked something up that could best be described as what your dog would puke up after eating grass (Minus the grass part.). Yum.
But all that aside. I feel like this was a good wake up call. I've got some work to do, and work I shall.
There has been a ton of stuff happening in the cycling world lately. Both locally and on the international scene that I would like to talk about. So hopefully I'll get my butt in gear and write about them.
Tomorrow I want to talk about a couple of things I did to get my machine prepared for the Piece of Cake. Things that I think helped me not have a mechanical out there (And there were a lot of people that did.).
Thanks for reading.
Rubber side down,