Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sweet and Sour

The Blue Sky Velo group put on an excellent event today out at the Xilinx campus, a long fast course with a nice mix of pavement, dirt, lot's of barriers, a deep sand pit and enough technical sections to keep it pretty interesting. I was coming into this race a bit tentative, my hip's been feeling better but I hadn't tested it at race pace, in addition, my points standings have been sliding because of missing last weeks events, and the Frisco races, so I had to say goodbye to my sweet start spot. I had managed a top ten finish at the Pikes Peak Velo race which entitled me to my first ever call up to the front row at the kickoff to the Boulder Series. That experience is identical to that first time you've flown business or first class...once you've been there, there's no going back to the cattle car section..In the past I've tended to be perfectly happy starting at the back....allows me to start the race at my speed ( slow ) but this year I've tried to abandon this practice and get up there to avoid what happened today. We had a decent size field, probably eighty guys and I was about 5 rows back from the line, right in the middle. A super high speed pavement start for about 200 meters then directly onto dirt with a chicane....immediate bottleneck, heaps of dust, I see riders off to the side picking up their bikes and dragging their carcass' off course.

Looking ahead, I had my work cut out for me, slowly and methodically I try to move up through the field, then about halfway through lap #2 , the rider in front of me, does a quick brake check. I immediately get on the stoppers to avoid a pileup and I feel the rider behind me hit my rear wheel. We descend onto pavement and my chain is stuck in my 11T cog, I'm rolling along frantically flailing at my paddle shifter looking for an easier gear..nothing. I look closer and realize that when the rider hit me, his tire pushed my derailleur cage up the cassette taking tension off the shift cable. The cable housing came out of the stop and that's what caused the immediate downshift. Huge amount of relief as initially I thought this race was over.I pull over and hop off, my oxygen deprived brain isn't completely putting a solution into place as fast my hands. I'm really trying hard not to count how many places I'm losing. I take a couple of deep breaths, stick the housing back into the stop and jump back on. I'm basically frothing at the mouth because of the adrenaline surge. Within another lap and half I connect back to the group where I ran into trouble and keep pushing from there. I'm so spun I never remembered to look at the laps remaining nor do I hear the " one to go" bell. All of a sudden we're finished..too bad because I had a couple more good strong laps in me.

End of the day in 33rd place. I can't be upset about that. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I was able to complete the was a beautiful day, I felt really smooth through all the barriers. Good fun. Post race activities included an exchange of a donation for the Valmont Bike Park for a couple of brats ( a wicked good deal ) watching Pete Webber ( former Mainer and all around good guy ) absolutely crush the 35+ Open's more sandbagging...I think there's a spot for you in the senior Opens.
If I find some photo's I'll post them here.

Thanks for reading!

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