I approached the weekend given the weather forecast with complaints and talk of being risk averse. Lately I’ve been trying to make better decisions given responsibilities I have or whatever should be focused on rather than going around in circles at 30 mph in a down pour on one inch of rubber. After much noise, I decide to race with the Data boys and indulge in some early season racing; rain, responsibilities, or not.
Bicycles Plus E3 Winter Criterium – Saturday February 8th, 2014
After riding up to Trailhead Coffee with the boss-man Nate Dunn I changed into a dry kit at Blue Ravine ten minutes before the race. Soaked when the whistle blows minutes later, let’s see who wants to race in the rain. I think I calmly took about half a lap of getting blasted in the face by rooster tails before deciding I would attack…the conditions were possessing me but my legs were telling me to chill the F out. Must have been about three or four attempts to get away then Mr. Garrett Marking put in a savvy little dig just before the speed zone (quick tail wind section on the backside) and I zipped up to him and figured we could give it a go, why not, who cares if we are only ten minutes into the race? From this point on highlights include; a beast-mode solo bridge by Jonathan Christensen, a Davis guy coming across with another, a prime (yeaaaah what’s up, you like that Gumby sprint? …they let me go basically), and later a sixth guy solo bridge (I think) who matched the “another” rider team. While Garret, Jonathan, Davis guy, and I tried to keep the pace smooth, the “anothers” were trying to figure out how to punch tickets and occasionally take a hero pull…my bitterness stems from the fact that they won the race when the sixth man unleashed the beast from the final corner and smoked everybody after mostly taking a nap and acting like his solo bridge turned his blood to lead…yawn. So I guess that was the finale, I hit the final corner second or third maybe after sketchily taking an inside line and trying to hide out from there to bust out my sprint…yawn x infinity…I was passed by all but one of my break-mates for 5th. Moral of the story, when the follow car slots in behind the break…you are gone…attack the break.
Cherry Pie – Sunday February 9th, 2014
Sunday weather equals a repeat of Saturday, downpour. Maybe it was a few degrees warmer but the wind was stronger and there is some elevation on this course so I was more apprehensive given the bot dots, paint, and a couple potholes hiding in puddles. I took a similar approach today and went solo after a lap or two, wasn’t surprised when Jonathan Christensen appeared on my wheel and came right over the top reminding me that “we’ve gotta drill it for the first five minutes to make this stick”… as I muttered some response about being solo for a few minutes already like an old man with no teeth (or maybe it was only 30 seconds), but I agreed, let’s go. We stayed out front for a lap or so then a third joined us, our break maintaining a marginal gap. Race memory loss kicks in here or this is the point I start making mistakes and don’t want to write about them….except for the big mistake a few laps later while descending from the 180 I decided not to follow these youngsters wide then rip three sections of paint and take my own old man line through the downhill corner; something about work on Monday, wanting to finish my tax return, and drink a beer when I got home was rattling around in my head as I fall back. A moment of encouragement when Gabe Muelter and my teammate Shim-dawg (Andrew Shimizu) joined me in no-man’s land was quickly deflated when I didn’t help get Andrew across. Back to the pack to resume the wet sand blasting to the eyes and mouth from the remaining 15 or so guys. I attacked and couple times mostly from the tailwind turbo on the backside (why don’t guys rip every ounce of tailwind?) and lot’s of puckering on the corners. Congrats to Jonathan and his break mate for sealing the deal; a savage, technical, and inspirational ride (again). I noodled in at the back of the remaining chase.
Two soggy races, I just finished my taxes (I wonder if my break mates file tax returns?), and now I’m moving onto that beer or two…or five. A Monkey Knife Fight from Rubicon and a 90 minute Dog Fish. Highlight of the weekend other than riding and hanging out with the Data crew was winning dry socks at the BP Winter Crit. Racing in the rain is fun, especially when you find yourself up the road with guys willing to ride hard, someone please remind me next time I’m complaining.