Sunday, April 26, 2009

Davis-Roubaix

Saturday.

5 AM. I woke up to a nightmare about having to get ready and go do a TTT in the middle of a windfarm. Thirty minutes later as I put my poor Tarmac in Rob's trunk, I realized I wasn't dreaming.

So there I was three hours later getting my legs ripped off by my own teammates. I knew from the start I wasn't going to make it so I decided to give a monster pull and then drop off. So much for that, my legs disagreed and I watched them ride away.

Then the other teams began to pass me. At about 8 miles the Davis neo pro train passed me going at least 30. I got back 45 minutes later having been passed by all the As and Bs. Good warmup.

I went back to the pasture (parking area) and grazed for a bit then napped. I wasn't looking forward to the road race. After racing almost every weekend since early January my legs needed a rest.



Road Race.

Around 130 we got rolling with a massive tailwind. My plan was to suck wheels the whole race and maybe come up with something near the end. It also helped that I had been bribed to the tune of 15 goos, 4 bars, and three half-empty bottles of cytomax by Davis to sit in.

I was going along fine, better than anticipated given my morning performance, when all the sudden I saw the gravel looming ahead. I was starting to lose the peloton but figured I could take the gravel faster than them and catch up. I figured wrong. Although I avoided the wreck 100 meters into the gravel section, I also avoided the peloton all together. I ended up working with Niv and Nathaniel from Stanford but they dropped me when we hit the second portion of gravel.

I slowly made my way back to the start/finish. The headwind was strong and I was weak. I looked back periodically to see if I had any company. At about 17 miles, 4 from the start/finish, I stopped and took a leak. Not long after I was passed by a Santa Cruz rider.

I said hey and he didn’t respond so I jumped on his wheel. I tried to stay quiet, maybe he’d forget I was there and not ask me to pull through. As it were, he possessed little understanding of aerodynamics or maybe he just had too much pride to take a pull from me. For whatever reason, he pulled me all the way to the start/finish at which point he said “I quit man.”

“Thanks for the pull,” I replied as I headed out for one more lap. I knew I had no chance of catching the peloton and that I should save my legs for the crit, but the minute that tailwind hit I couldn’t resist.

I flew along at 30 along the flats and then was climbing at 22. I felt like I was on a Ducati until I made a 90 degree turn and the side wind hit me. For the next mile I used the tack and jibe method of going to one side of the road and letting the wind push me at an angle up the road. It works better on water.

As I came to the gravel I saw a UCLA rider from the As race standing on the side of the road. I asked if he was okay and went back to Saturday group ride up Tunnel pace. I had hoped there would be a lot if carnage from my race so maybe I could place just by virtue of finishing. No such luck.

Halfway through the gravel the women’s As came through and I grabbed a wheel. I was happy for a change in the, um, landscape. That lasted all of two seconds when one of the girls yelled “Get out of our race!”

At this point I took a little something out of the J Dub Bender play-er book.
"Ahh, I sorry babygirl, I was jus' tryin' to enjoy the scenery out here wit you fine females. Need a feed?"
"No really, we can get in trouble," seconded a Stanford rider.
Then I took a move out of the J Streebin playbook, co-written by James Bender.
"Speed up then!"
I put my head down and cranked while thinking warm, vengeful thoughts of this year’s Paris-Roubaix.

The next time I look up I'm in a cloud of dust. Up ahead is the Women's A peloton, the officials, and the follow car that just left me for dead. So much for the Boonen stylee.

I finally made it off the gravel without falling off my bike. I came to the turn and there was a girl cheering for me so I jokingly asked them what the gap was. “Very big” they replied.

Eventually I made it back to the start/finish. Along the way I was hoping there were at least 20 fools still racing so I wouldn’t have to do a third lap. There were. After not getting a feed on the first time back I was pretty dehydrated and I needed a whamburger. It was the first race I've quit but I didn’t feel too bad. (See: Vineman 2008).

I moseyed back to the pasture and got out of my chamois.

Big ups to Mr. Holtzinger for the ride back. He wins Cal Cycling’s Father of the Year for all his help with driving this season. He also saved my Tarmac from the horrors of god knows what in Rob’s trunk. (No offense Rob, or Jetta).

Sunday.

Crit wasn’t until 11 so I got plenty of sleep. I conned Jim into driving me up which cost him an extra two hours of B-school homework (See: financial modeling, spendin’ G’s, and bro-ing it up). I navigated and we rolled into Davis around 10 following some Stanford chumps.



I ran over to reg and got my number then headed back to kit up. Then I found out the races were all 40 minutes behind so we grabbed the rollers and I set up near the course.



Start.

I went hard and pulled for a lap or so. The course had a lot of turns so it was nice to be able to set the line. After a while attacks started coming and I moved back a bit. Somewhere along the line I forgot the Golden Rule of Crit Racing: Stay in the top 10 guys or don’t race!

The crash I had seen coming all race finally came with 2 to go. Some Cal Poly kid twisted his front wheel and went straight over the bars. The blood curdling scream gave me a shot of adrenaline as I maneuvered my way through the wreckage. With the shit-eating grin of someone whose collarbone was still intact, I tried to make it up to the group in front of the crash.

I spent the last lap chasing and never quite getting on a wheel. When the sprint came I found out I had also been pulling the whole lap.

Basically I raced really poorly. Yes, the turns were awful and we were fortunate enough to have guys diving into each one of them. However, instead of sitting off the back getting sketched out by the lack of training wheels on some of those guys, I should have just moved up.

That’s bike racing.

Wish I could have ended the collegiate season a bit better but I’ve still got a good four months of racing left.

On the way home Jim drove really fast up Marin so that made it all worth it.

Scroll through quickly and it looks like a moving picture show.










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