Saturday, August 29, 2009

State RR

After feeling good on tuesday and being shamed into going by Derek I headed up to do the State RR today at Fork Shoals. They changed the course from an earlier race we did there this year and added a pretty tough small ring climb and the approach to the finish was more uphill. A nice course.

My goal was survival...and not to do anything stupid like get into a break or to ever be on the front. I've done about 6 rides this month (and 6 weeks since quitting for the season) so my experiment was if I could hang with my diminished fitness. After the tnwc I did zero rides to get ready for this race, my CTL is sub 40 and TSB is ridiculous.

Eric Christopherson attacked from the word "G...." and took Scott Minor with him. They instantly had over a minute. This pretty much shot my plans to hell as I worked my way up on the first lap--Jay said "this is a disaster" so I went to the front and put in one big effort. I led up the big climb and figured if we meandered up it then Eric C would add minutes so I just went as hard as I could go (which wasn't really that fast). Soon after that Jay got away with 2 others and bridged the 2+ minutes to the leaders and ended up getting 2nd. Incredible effort on his part...will be some good reading over at his blog. Ken O did some good chasing too.

Once Jay was gone the group shut down. I rode near the front and covered pretty much all the moves. I didn't do any real blocking as we had lots of guys from Columbia there and I didn't want to be a jerk. If Tom Sunday or Brian or Ben or Derek would attack I'd let them go.

At the start of lap 3 (of 4) a guy put in a huge attack and I went across to him with another guy. They were pretty strong and I told them that I had a teammate up the road but that I'd work on the last lap if they could keep the gap. They were cool with that. Crusty says it's better to give guys a carrot so they keep riding. The funny thing was 30 seconds after saying this I looked back, reassessed the gap and said to the guys "I've changed my mind, Let's Go!" And I hit the front and put in a some big pulls. It all eventually came back together for the last lap.

On the last lap I was sag climbing all the hills...It was easy to get to the front then I would just drift back and climb at my own tempo ending up near the back. Then repeat. With 3-4 miles to go there was an acceleration and both of my legs seized up...massive cramps and I abruptly lost contact with the group. I was hurting and was popped, gone, adios. Luckily the group kindof sat up right at that time and I managed to claw my way back on. A few minutes of easy riding and lots of stretching and contortions helped a lot. On the last climb I was sitting delicately ON the back and stayed there till the turn at 1k to go. It was now or never so I started to move up, looked for Derek's wheel, found it, lost it, then latched onto Lang and he gave me a beautiful smooth ride to the line. I finished 10th 40+.

It was really a fun race and I'm glad I did it. Now I'm really done for the year...promise.