For whatever reason, I was shut out completely at Langley and deservedly so. I never felt comfortable on the bike Sunday. Maybe I rode too hard last week – a hard Tuesday night in the rain, 30 miles on the fixed gear Thursday, a Saturday morning spin that became a tough slog because of stiff winds. Come Sunday the legs felt dead in the races, but I didn’t know that when I signed in.
Feeling ambitious, I registered for the Cat 4 race at 10am, the 40+ race at 11am, followed by the novice track race at noon. So I was committed to racing three races back-to-back-to-back with just 10 minutes in between each.
The Cat 4 race started well. I had little problem sitting in. Jimmy D and I tried a little counterattack at one point mid-race building as much as a third of a lap lead. But soon after Cory Scott bridged up to us, the group did too. A while later, they called out a $100 prime, which I’d been planning to go for; however, I jumped a little slowly and had to make up about five bike lengths on three guys who jumped first. By the time we came around to the home stretch, I’d made it up to their wheels, but couldn’t close the rest of the way. Then I made mistake No. 2. I hadn’t realized there were only five laps to go and dropped back too far to recover and got boxed in during the final laps. I was still toward the back entering the final lap and wasn’t strong enough to move all the way up to the front when the group is rolling over 30mph. Realizing I couldn’t, I sort of sat up in the final turn not seeing much point in sprinting for 15th place and rolled across in 23rd.
I kept rolling around the 0.4-mile track, so my legs would stay loose. The family arrived and it was cool to see and hear the girls yelling for me. I stopped at my cooler in the infield for a hit of gel and a bottle change before lining up with the 40+ field. It was fun to be racing with Bill, Tim (pictured above with me), Greco and Musante, who’d also done the 4 race with me. This race was very different than the 4s. Whereas the speed in the 4s was consistently fast (we averaged 26.6mph on my computer), the speed yo-yo’d in the 40+. One minute we’d be rolling along at 22 or 23mph, then someone would attack and everyone would be going 30+ and I’d be scrambling to close a gap. It was like sprinting over and over again. I felt like a much sloppier bike handler too during this race because I was tired. I did manage to set up a breakaway for Tim than turned into the winning move as a group of 8 or so got away and lapped the field. I tried to stay on Tim’s wheel in the closing laps to keep others off it, but lost it with two laps to go, then blew a gasket with one to go. I had nothing in the tank for the final jump and just rolled across second-to-last in the group.
Needless to say the 10-lap novice track race was a disaster. My legs felt like lead. I tried to stay near the front of the group, but all I could do was tempo. To abuse a cliche, I had no more matchsticks to burn, and when the big jump came in the final lap all I could was pedal squares, finishing dead last. I ran a 54×16 set-up and wonder what others were pushing.
Between the warm-up and all the races I got in about 50 miles on the bike, much of it at race speed, so maybe some good will come of it. It will be a while before I do back-to-back races again. That was hard. Still a bad day on the bike is a good one.
The rest of the day was very nice. Ellie had a U-10 select soccer game in Virginia Beach. She scored her team’s lone goal off a beautiful corner kick from one of her teammates. Unfortunately the other team tied it up later in the game after some miscommunication between our goalie and her defenders. But it was fun to watch the girls who are still learning to play together.
Then we headed over to Crazy and Brenna’s for a Tripower cookout. It was a nice way to cap the day and the kids had a lot of fun running around with each other.