Saturday, June 18, 2011

Where's The Podium? #12: ToWC Day 1

I can say that I have not been happier to have been dropped in a road race than today. There are a few reasons why, my friends.
1. It was on my own terms - I dropped myself.
2. It was to help out a teammate - like a good teammate should (hopes to).
3. I didn't drop the hammer until the end - sacrificive effort. (yes, I just made up that word)

Let me be frank, however. The prologue that opened up the legs this morning five-before-10:00 for me was a somewhat race-shattering effort for me. Finishing in 50th and well over a minute back on GC had me a bit wary as to how I might attempt to stack up against the rest of the field in a 37 mile race.

The course was a roller-fanatic's dream. Six laps of kicks and recovery repeats just about summed up this race for me.

Having the yellow/center line rule is surely a necessary race rule. However, allowing for no advancement or even bobbing over that opposing traffic barrier kept the road race peloton fairly stable and me stuck in the back 50% of the pack for the entire race until the finish.

That being said, with six laps of this course to be had, everyone could find where ground could be made up one side of the other and where risks could be taken and consequent places to the front.

Each lap ticking away had not only my confidence trickling upward for my ability in the race, but also my sense of urgency to be up at or at least near the front for my teammate, Andrew Shelby.

The bell lap is wring and my calves are beginning to cramp. I had felt their them tensing up with each preceding lap. Fighting those cramps was that aforementioned increasing sense of urgency to now be at the front for my teammate. I found a pair of racers surging to the front through turns and downhills as the group slowed and swelled during uphill efforts. Latching onto the wheel of that surge had me take risks and gain valuable positions with minimized effort. Though I had been no closer than here wheels behind Andrew's mid-pack positioning throughout the race, with some purposeful positioning I was finally on his wheel and able to let him know I was moving around him right before the final steep rollers. It was exactly then that I was able to finally use my "protected," yet ever-cramping legs on the front.

I drilled it as best I could. I lead over the 4th to last climb and into the 3rd. It was there that I popped and thought I would be quickly overtaken. The pace simply slowed with me and others on the front and it was not until the 2nd to last kicker that I was quickly overtaken. My legs were in full cramp and I simply wanted them to survive. Upon my purposeful droppage, I saw Andrew well positioned near the front. This told me that my effort was not in vain and that it was now in Andrew's hand to make an effort to the finish line.  I was able to catch the uphill finish though the racers sprinting the uphill looked rather like spots of vibrating color from my vantage point.
Spike in heart rate is where I drilled the front at the end. Boom.
I finished the road race 37th, moving up 13 spots to 37th place on GC. I'll take it. My job was to work as a teammate and I did that as best I could.

My work isn't done, however. Tomorrow is day 2 of this omnium Tour of Washington County. There is a time trial in the morning and a criterium in the afternoon. I know my efforts as a teammate will be better served in the criterium, but anything can happen and the times could be tight for Andrew and his GC contention.

Thanks for reading. I will update in more depth when I have my computer in front of me.

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