Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Walkersville and Tyson's Corner

Walkersville

On Saturday, for Walkersville, skies were clear but winds gusted up the 30 mph. In a crosswind, it's better to be beside a wheel than behind it. Winds meant no hiding; this would be a race of truth.

A race of truth is not what I wanted. From October '08 till March '09, I road 12 miles a week on my fixed gear--to and from work. That was it. In March, I averaged about 4 hours a week on a bike. I wasn't ready to test my fitness in the wind. I wanted to hide behind people with large asses and hope for a lucky break.

I didn't take a single pull all day--first race I haven't. There were many attacks, including one by a teammate with two laps to go; that's when the pack shatter, in the crosswind on the uphill section of road where the finish was. The strategy for the last lap was to pick the leeward side and stick to it. I'd given up position on some earlier laps and couldn't believe the extra effort it required to ride into the wind.

With one uphill mile to go, I jumped to get leeward position on the finishing uphill stretch. Strangely, the riders ahead of me moved to the windward side, so I was completely sheltered. Thanks to my teammates, Sam and Brownie, directly ahead of me, I had both shelter from the wind and a leadout.

Maybe that's why, with 150 meters to go, I felt great. The problem was the crowd of riders in front of me and moving up the sides. I waited for a gap, jumped with 100 to go, and nearly did the bike throw thing. Good enough for 7th overall and 2nd in the bunch sprint.

This photo is of the bunch sprint finish. The Bike Doctor rider on the inside edged me out. Looks like I'm still sprinting.

I did much better than I'd expected at Walkersville, getting a few points and sprinting well. I went home confused and not really sure what to expect for tomorrow's race.

Tyson's Corner Circuit Race
Seven minutes into the race, which is a gentle loop with plenty of room, a rider hit the curb and was seriously injured. I was behind the accident, but not really threatened.

For twenty minutes the race was neutralized, so when we got racing again, we only had thirty minutes. Needles to say, the pace was high.

Bike Rack attacked repeatedly, with Tim R launching a painful attack with about five to go. We'd wanted to try a two-man attack, but I was boxed in about 20 back, and even if I had been free, I don't know if I'd been able to go with him. I just wasn't feeling it.

So I went to the front and pulled for a bit with three to go. I covered some half-hearted attacks and then fell back on the hill. I went from first to last in half a lap. With one to go, the pace quickening, I saw Tim B and shouted for him to get on my wheel. I tried towing him on the backstretch, but couldn't really get much going; Rugg was at the front pulling at about 45mph. And in any case, I looked back and saw that Brown had fallen off my wheel, maybe because he saw that I was gassed and wouldn't be his Hincapie today.

Maybe it was a good thing that I was popped. I big crash, again in front of me, on the uphill finish took down Matt Braughler, a great guy and strong rider. Really unfortunate.

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