Monday, June 29, 2009

Poole[-ing up with tears]sville Pontifications

About six miles into the Cat 4 race I was feeling dandy.

Before the race the Viking had led us in our wassailing and our "thing." In 12th Century Norse, with grunts, and with his axe blade in the dirt, he had set forth our warplan: I was to stay out of the wind, and the team was to work for me. I obeyed, for today he was our lovsigemann.

So when my front tire suddenly felt wobbly and I heard the "thump, thump, thump," I was disappointed. In the chase car was Coppi's Tom Blonkowski and NCVC junior Chris Abbey. Seeing them and talking a bit with them made me feel a little better. To be clear, I wasn't happy they'd flatted, just nice to share misfortune with some decent guys.

We mulled around while the mechanic fixed our tires, then I headed back out to the feed zone, where I hung out with Michelle, then Jonathon, who dropped out of the crazy-hard 50+ race.

Jonathon Lyons: Chas doubts this man is 50+

When I saw the God of Thunder establish a break on lap two, along with Coppi's Nathan Miller and two other riders, I knew it was over. Wandering back to the finish line and witnessing the Freckled Fury lay down some flames in the final 200m (while his seatbelt was firmly fastened) was a mere formality.

The God of Thunder nonchalantly raising his mighty fist

It then occurred to me that I could join the 3/4 race. I did not foresee that it would be a "wrestle-a-bear-whose-paws-had-been-dipped-in-lemon-juice" event, reaching all the way to the "Hurts Worst" face on the Wong face pain scale:

Things started off quick, but not too unmanageable in the 3/4 race. I got caught behind the inevitable crash on the first turn into the gravel, chased and caught back on. I saw Rugg and Rob Sheffield get caught up behind it, and thought their day was done. I have no idea what was happpening at the front. Check Greg's blog for that kind of stuff.

By lap three, I saw Ryan (the Evo guy who has an electric assist hidden in his bottom bracket) go off the front. I was near the front and saw the pace slacken a little, so I thought, "second race with Cat 3s...what the hell..." and jumped on the front end:
picture by ?

Turned out to be a sketchy move. Rugg had just managed to get back on, and my pulling put him on Rugg's edge. Or so he says.

Got caught behind a crash on lap 4, I believe, and then again on the last lap, and chasing to catch back on was tough. I believe I was the last man back in both cases.

As for the finish, I felt like I had nothing left. I soft-pedalled to the line.

I know that as you progress in cycling you're supposed to downplay pain more and more. But damnit, that hurt. My fingers--and I'm not making this up--would not stop cramping, even the next morning. My right inner hamstring continued cramping up until I went to bed.

Tomorrow: Ringer the Lion-Hearted, English Tom and Gianbattista Baronchelli (or someone with a similar pedigree), and how I saved Lance Lacy's life (or least helped him with a leg cramp).


qualia said...

Martin's finish reminded me of Stegmans leading out Boonen, when Boonen couldn't come around.

Everyone stayed single file and Martin just rode off the front. Impressive stuff.

Sam said...


For the however many miles you took up the chase. It was only time in any race I've done that I have had the feeling "this is what it should BE like"... Single file and spinning out my 53 x 11.

Thank you for that experience and the work, next year