Team Tripower – my team – put on another great race for the Virginia Senior Championship Crit in Saturday’s searing heat at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex, otherwise known as the Scorchplex when the mercury rises. And rise it did. Saturday’s 101 degree broke a record in Norfolk and the thermometer at the race course easily hit 98.
This photo from BJ about sums up my race:
It was a dog of a day and I dogged the race, finishing third from last, due mostly to having been in a two-man breakaway from 8 laps to go until we were caught as the bell lap began. It was so hot my heart rate was through the roof for much of the race. Early on, as I rode near the front, it pounded out 180 beats per minute. I dropped back to sit in a bit and it took almost 10 minutes to settle down to a more reasonable 150 beats for the pace being set. As the race progressed, I slowly worked my way back to the front, glued to the wheel of my teammate John. He gives good draft.
The officials finally posted the laps to go at nine just as I moved back into the front six or so riders. As we rolled around that lap, a rider from Evolution started creeping off the front as one of his teammates and two riders from another Northern Virginia team soft-pedaled at the front. As we came around, the guy was suddenly 100 meters up the road and no one was doing anything, so I jumped to bridge. It took me too long to get across, almost a whole lap, but once I did we had about a 10 second lead. He and I switched pulls at 25-26mph, but I just didn’t have a lot in my legs, so he did more work. Every now and then the group would surge, but we stayed ahead and I even started to feel hopeful. Wrong. On the second to last lap the pace behind us went up and we were caught as we crossed the start/finish for the bell lap. I tried to latch on, but my heart maxed out at 195 beats per minute and I was done.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If it had worked…
It worked for Jerry, who powered off the front of the Cat 5 field and solo’d for victory. It worked for Sally and Annette who lead a four-woman break that lapped the ladies’ field before Silly crushed them all with her whithering sprint. It worked for Tim who launched a solo chase in the masters race than scored him a great 2nd place. And it worked for Bender, who muscled a five-man breakaway in the Cat 3 and dusted them with his scorching sprint. And it might have worked for Crazy, if he hadn’t eaten too late and puked during his six-man break and then crossed wheels with someone and crashed. Still he finished solid 7th.
All in all, it was a good day for Tripower; to be cornballish, we brought the heat.