Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Manuevers and Impending Doom Around The Corner

Ah spring racing. Spring and summer racing are two entirely different creatures to me. Even after a winter of good training, everything before June seems to turn into an ordeal in some way or another. I have serious problems with Peice of Cake. The race. Lemmesplain.

First off, it was damn cold. 3 weeks of the best spring weather this region has ever had collapsed by Saturday and we crawled out of the team van in gale-force winds and 40 degree air. Everyone made a big show of how much clothing they were wearing, whined about the weather and talked about how we were probably going to get dropped. Dark predictions for what would become a dark day..

MAYBE 5 miles in I ran into the first Manuever Of The Day. Actually, it ran into me. So we swing around an easy right hander onto a major highway and I'm on the inside, cruising next to the gutter, nicely hidden from the crosswinds when WHAM some hubbard comes careening in from the other side of the road and slams me into the ditch. As I'm looking at the 5 foot drop I'm about to take into the ditch, I can't help but think "WHAT THE F*%! was THAT?" Really. Not sure how he managed that one unless he wasn't paying attention and didn't see the guy dressed entirely in day-glo orange sitting right were he wanted to be. Anyway. Cut to me as my front wheel digs into the gravel and it's DEEP gravel so I'm about to flip over the bars, but in some freak occurance my rear wheel just stays airborne and I roll on my front wheel only, inches away from the big ugly drop untill I come to a cursing halt. Brian drops back and hammers full throttle back to the group with yours truly in tow. I didn't get a good look at the guy who punted me, too bad because I was really itching to say hi.

Anyway, the winning break goes in the first lap as it always does, and I'm not in it. Here's where things start to get ugly. The little green beer dudes have a guy in the break (coincidentally, someone I complained about extensively last week...) so they're not doing squat. That's cool, I can dig that but then as a small group of us start chasing, a couple of these dorks decide to fly around us and sit up. We go around and they come hauling around into the wind, get in front of us and stop pedalling. This pisses me off. If your dude is in the break, go sit in the back, don't race like a bunch of cat. 4's and "block" me. After a while I got tired of A: being one of 3 people chasing in a 50 rider bunch (come on, you don't all have guys up there...) and B: The beginner guerrilla tactics of these dorks, so I go stew in the very back of the field.

This turns out to be a good decision for once, because right in the middle, just where I would usually hang out, the group detonates in tangled limbs and bike parts all over the road. Maybe 10 people or so end up in this fracas, but fortunately I saw it coming in slow-motion, so I roll around. Later I find that Curryboy pulled the second Manuever Of The Day. One of those "putting a wrapper in the back pocket while wheel overlaps" deals. Tough breaks, Curry In a Hurry loses a bunch of skin and might or might not have broken his hand (won't go get it x-rayed) but seems okay aside from that. The crash also significantly reduced the number of green dudes in the field. Bummer they had to go out that way.

So long story short, the winds continue blowing at about a thousand miles an hour across this flat, square course, so I drop the hammer in the crosswinds with one other guy and we split the field a few times and the group gets broken down from 40 post-crash to about 12. Bonus.

I pay for it later, as I feel impending doom in the form of massive quad cramps coming on 3 laps from the finish line. Damn the man. This continues for the rest of the race, eventually developing into muscle sieze every time out of the saddle. 200m from the line I deeply regret my earlier efforts and 50m from the line, within sight of winning the group sprint both legs go into full catastrophic lock and my feet stop going around. This is the kind of cramp that feels like someone simultaneously slices all the tendons connecting your quads to your knees AND shoves baseball bats in your spokes. Two days later I can still feel it. Damn. DT

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