So, two weeks ago I embarked on my first pro one/two road race. I took the proper preparations, packed my pockets full of food, filled my bottles and talked to my legs. I treat my legs like a deer and her baby Bambi, I nurture them, test them, and keep them smooth and soft! My day was going pretty well, besides the very early morning wake-up, it was going especially well when I did not see Rand Miller pre-registered for Pine Flat. It was almost disappointing though, Rand is a breakaway guy, I'm a breakaway guy, although I am not sure I can tuck low enough to get a draft off of him. My teammates Marcus and Matt were there, having teammates is always a "pro" on your race day "Pro's and Con's" list. We started the race.
We start with an immediate uphill, not enough to flick riders, but enough to get your legs cooking. I start to notice faces, I see a lot of winners. The first part was very slow, like group-ride pace and I'm thinking, "Hey, this is nice, these races are EASY". Then the attacks came, it felt like Chris Phipps was punching me in the face with his power. Then I decide, "I'm just gonna lay low see what goes on, and not attack". We're about two-thirds way through the race and Matt and Marcus are attacking, doing my job, I see a guy slip off the front. I ask the legs "How you doin?" Before they even got a chance to reply I was shooting off the front with a Dolce Vita rider, who eventually won the race. We establish a gap the guy that attacked is now gone, it's just us. We are both thinking the same thing, "WHAT ARE WE DOING?!" We gave a Lance stare at each other and knew what we were both gonna do, we are gonna try and make this breakaway work, remember we still have 1.5 hours to the finish. This was just a totally stupid move, having so far to go to finish, but we are cyclists, I think we all have a hint of ADHD, I think we are all a strange life form who lives for pain, we are the the mad scientists of the sports world. In this break we are moving! We could not see the field anywhere, not on the straightaways, not ANYWHERE. I'm getting all excited, hoping they forgot about us, which would have been really nice. We get to the final climb, a dense cloud covers the road, impairing everyone's vision, my breakaway companion slips away in to the white sheet of cloud that lay in front of me. My legs are talking to me, screaming at me, furious at me, I shut them up as I went my fastest up a local climb. I descend alone, hoping the remnants of the main field are far behind, I zip down this hill, knowing every turn, every crack every pot hole. At this point in the race I am seeing things, starting to lose my mind. I am about one kilometer from the finish, Chris Phipps passes me. BAM. His leg power seemed to throw another punch, putting me on the floor, almost down for the count. I'm not gonna give up that easy, I go, losing all composure, rocking my bike like a mad man. Another group passes me, BAM another hit, Marcus passes me, BAM another hit and one more guy passes me, I dodge the blow because I am heaving on my top tube. I roll across the finish line, going about two miles per hour. I get to the edge of the road, stumbling over my bike, to fall down in the softest grass I have ever laid in. (or I was so done, anything felt good at that time) I finish 10th. Ouch, not so much of a group ride pace!
Picture above: I believe my face explains how I was feeling.