Today's circuit race in Columbia was a lesson in suffering, and there was plenty to go around and not just mine. This race has a history of being filled with crashes in the lower categories, one main reason I opted for the 1/2/3 race. As history once again repeated itself, several teammates in different races had pretty bad days. In the 30/40 race Ace somehow T-boned a guy who cut in front him, crashing his sweet Pinarello and cracking the frame in half. The worst of the day was one of our new riders who hit the deck really hard at the finish of the 3/4 race. He was transported to the hospital with a possible pelvic fracture and broken collarbone. As I sit here I think about how I've been really lucky in my road racing career to have never hit the deck hard in a race and it's definitely something I'm not trying to experience anytime soon.
The day started out early with the 4/5 race and my buddy who was looking for a little help in his preparation. Gina and I pulled in to the race too late to catch him and give him some last minute advice for the uphill sprint finish. He had a really good race, for his first race he was smart and stayed near the front, not getting caught off the back chasing and wasting energy or sitting on the front pulling the field around fruitlessly. One piece of advice I gave him early on was don't worry about not being fit enough for this race, worry about the muppets around you in the race who don't understand (or care for that matter) whose next to them when they decide to jump around someone. He made it to within 500m of finishing his first race, with relative ease mind you, before one said muppet took him down. Not at all the best finish to your first race and fortunately he was ok, although you couldn't tell by the shattered helmet, just some minor scrapes.
As for me I knew it was going to be a hard day. This was me yesterday dethatching the lawn, yeah I know. Anyway, the dethatcher we rented was a bit more industrial in strength. For an hour I was drug around our yard by what felt more like a rolling jackhammer. My hands are still vibrating.
By the end of the day I was tired from being worked over by a piece of lawn equipment followed by raking up all the dead grass and so sunburned that the thought of getting on my bike to open the legs up was the furthest thing from my mind.
The race started out fast and furious as expected. We were averaging a good 28-29mph for the first couple laps with breaks constantly trying to form and being chased down. About 6 laps into the 18 lap race I realized that no amount of drink was quenching my thirst as all I could do was spit cotton balls.
And no matter how much I tried, I just couldn't stay near the front. Everytime up the climb I would move up, only to end up at the back minutes later. 6 laps later I punched out. I knew it was coming too, we had crested the climb past the start finish and instead of moving up, I was still sucking hind tit near the back and the pack was strung out in one long single file line about 400m long. A surge came and I just couldn't respond. I was on Spencer's wheel when it happened and after the race he said he remembered looking down and he was pushing 400W going 33mph. Yeah, my top end is just not there yet. I can't say it was a relaxing end to a rest week.
Anyway, I hope everyone that went down is ok. I'm going to try and stop by the hospital tomorrow to check on our rider as I'm sure he probably spent the night.