Washington County was about as perfect as possible. The weather was beautiful, the organization was superb, and I don't recall any ugly incidents: crashes, fights, tacks on the road. Nothing.
The ugliest thing I saw was Justin Reznick's red heaving hirsuit chest (shown above) as he crossed the finish line shouting the king of all exuberantly foul words, for the benefit of all children present. Of course, it was also the most beautiful thing I saw, because Rez doesn't win a lot of races because he's not your typical Type-A chamois-up-his-ass bike racer. He leads bike tour in Mallorca and keeps his red mutton chops trimmed, on the ready for the next Pirates of Penzance casting call.
Teamwork, which set up Rez's win, is always a beautiful thing. DVR's Grant "Man-Dagger" claimed second, and Tom "The Shack" claimed fourth, but the rest of the team straggled in or didn't finish the race; they'd ridden balls to the wall off the front for half the race to whittle the field to about 15, from over 40.
Part of the joy of watching the race was in seeing something I'd never seen before; i.e., a Cat IV race with non-stop attacks. I have never seen that, and it was a thing of beauty.
Grant nabs second and Tom fourth
Grant's daughter tells her dad what to do on the podium
I also enjoyed the women's race, although I felt pity for poor, isolated Monika Sattler. The field attacked her until a small break stuck. As much as I hate to see abuse, the teamwork was beautiful.
In contrast, my race, the 1/2/3 crit, was essentially an extended Cat IV race, a large and fast group ride.
And, like a Cat IV, I crashed out, my rear wheel sliding out with three laps to go. I almost saved it, then fell and slid into the curb. Thankfully, my Cat IV skills didn't bring anyone else down, but I did impair some lines. Sorry.
None of my own teammates stood a chance at the GC on Sunday. Steven Black and Zac Felpel had placed second and fourth in the road race, but none of us can TT that well. Our best hope, Brian Sacawa, has been on antibiotics for a month. I can't believe he even showed up (and put in a better prologue time than me).
Zac, Brian, and Garrett
Because of an error in recording my road race finish, I went off last in the Sunday TT, behind Keck Baker, Nate Wilson, and Kevin Gottlieb. Bike racing can convince you that you're as good as the next guy in the peleton; TTing is a sure way to un-convince you of that assumed equality.
Nate Wilson hasn't won any of the big races he's done this year (I don't think), but it must be nice to come back here and be the strongest rider in the race. To realize that while in the pro peleton he's still developing, around here he's something special. That he's stronger than he was last year.
I have to tell myself that that's what I'm looking for, too: simple proof that I'm stronger than I was last year. Last year at this time I was recovering from two broken vertebrae. So the proof of that question, because I can walk upright, is undoubtedly there.
Next year, I may set the bar a little higher.
Cat 1/2/3 Podium: Russ Langley, Keck Baker, Nate Wilson