Sunday, July 24, 2011
This years race seamed to start a little slower than usual, because of the down canyon headwind. It was really easy to sit in but when you went to the front it was really fucking hard. No one wanted to work, not surprising, but frustrating. I've been asked this before and my response is always the same. Question: "why are we going so slow?" response: "get your ass on the front and find out!" I know my willingness to work has fucked me, but I also want to race in a certain way. In my mind how you do something is more important than the outcome. Have some panache, have a little style and go down swinging.(i'll save the rest of this diatribe for another time)
At the hard left turn between 6&7 miles when the course kicks up, I attacked. The field blew up instantly and a lead group of 10 riders was formed. This was my plan from the start. I was to attack fairly early, make the race selective and thin the herd over rest the course. Our breakaway group stayed together and were working somewhat well together, a few were sitting in but they looked as if they weren’t going to be around long. I was at near the back at the feed station near Echo Lake and had slow down to get a bottle the guys on the front attacked. I threw it in the big ring and sprinted to catch back on, I actually had to brake going uphill around the corner right after the ranger station. The group was now 5: me, two guys from CP racing, Cody from Velo-one racing (who I thought would win) and a guy named Gary who I didn’t know. Cody and Gary(who looked like he was suffering) just drilled it right after I had got back on so I had to slowly ramp it back up, one of the guys from CP popped and the other was on my wheel. He tried to talk me into waiting for his team-mate but I wasn’t having it. “I like you guys but I don’t trust you.” I continued to lift the pace riding away from the remnants of our breakaway group. I kept the leaders in site at about a 30-40 sec gap.
After tree line I could see the gap was coming down at least to Cody, I had problems picking Gary out of the field fodder from the other groups(dammed Grey kit). When I caught Cody with less than ten miles to go I was starting to cramp, but I respect a man of his talents so I put in a bit of an effort, he held on for a minute but he popped off right after my next little serge.
I kept thinking I saw Gary up the road but when I would catch that rider it wouldn’t be him. So I kept pushing on. The wind was making the top interesting in the switch backs, block head to beautiful tailwind. With about a mile to go my legs were cramping horribly, at 1 KM to go I had to stand just to keep turning them over. I stood most of the way near the end. Not dancing on the peddles more like pulling my feet out of deep mud. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty to witness. I did everything I could to maintain my pace, I just kept telling myself not to slow down. The dialog in my head was nothing but venom spiked anger directed at yours truly (Hypoxia and lactic acid are a cocktail not suited for everyone's pallet.). I crossed the line in 2nd. A couple of minutes later 3rd place rolled in looking about like I felt. I love the climb, I love the race, but I am surprised how decimated It leaves you. 24 hours later and I still feel altered.