Cascade stage 6

I just posted about the crit so read that before this. Although it isn’t a very interesting post. Neither is this one. No good humor. I had some good ideas a few days ago for something funny, but I forgot what they were.

One thing I forgot to add about it was when a little kid came up to me after the crit was over wanting something from me. I was eating some free cookies from a food stand–they were going to throw them away–and he approached me with a pen and Cascade Classic pamphlet poster thing. My first reaction was to bring my handful of cookies close to my chest out of his reach, because I figured he wanted my cookies. There was a whole plateful of them on a table, so it wouldn’t have made a ton of sense for him to want mine. But I wasn’t thinking properly because, well, I was focused on eating those delicious cookies. Turns out he didn’t want my cookies; he wanted my autograph!! It’s the first time that’s ever happened, and it did feel pretty good. I wasn’t sure how to sign my name though, because my usual signature is a big K and a scribble followed by a big P and a scribble. Instead of the scribble method, I signed in a third grader’s cursive hand writing. It needs some work but I think there are other things I should work on first, namely getting faster.

Today I lined up pretty close to the front. It was hot out, upper 90’s. Probably 100 or so on the black top. I envied all the guys with ice bags in their jerseys. After the neutral section ended, the attacks began. I started drifting backwards, but held in the top 20 or 30 for a while. Before long, we reached the first considerable climb, the one right before the feed zone. By now, I had drifted pretty far back. The climb hurt a lot, and the field turned single file as we entered the feed zone and false flat, tail wind section before the next steep stair step climb. This section hurt. Guys were going off the back and pretty soon I held the very last position on the tail end of the peloton. We entered the steep climb and stair step section and more guys popped off. I was definitely in the red zone here, just barely making it. I was really hoping the pace would slow down on the next lap.

You could tell the peloton was tired on the next lap. There was less competition to move up, gaps were opening off the back (I was there for a little while before smartening up and moving forward). And the constant meandering of the pack in the head and side winds began causing crashes. I lucked out and wasn’t behind any of them.

We started the climbing again, this time I felt much better. I was still near the back, but not as far. But when we started climbing up the 20% grade section, my chain somehow popped off without me even touching the shifters. Both of my feet came unclipped and slammed on the ground, I nutted myself, swerved and almost went down. I had to get off my bike, put the chain back on, and start up on the steepest section of the course. I was off the back now with the stragglers. I put some big watts in over the next five minutes, but didn’t quite make it back into the pack. I picked up a few guys after the hill section (Sean Passage and one other guy) and we worked together for the rest of the race, roughly 50 miles of hot wind. We were only a minute behind the pack for a long time, but it eventually went out of sight and we were left to ride on our own, sweating out gallons of liquid and kilos of salt. We finished 87th, 88th, and 89th and I finished 97th GC, 2nd to last. Almost 100 people didn’t finish the race this week. Definitely the hardest stage race I’ve done, and probably one of the hardest NRC races of the year.

Afterwards my dad, mom, and brother and I went to swim in the river and later ate some mexican food. Now I’m back ‘home’ in Sunriver by myself. I’ve got four days until nationals. Time to start concentrating on rebuilding those broken muscle fibers. I just ate over a pound of cherries. Cherries are proven to help recovery. Look it up, it’s a fact. Or maybe it’s grapes. One of those small round fruits.

Cascade Crit, stage 5

The crit was packed with people. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions. My family came out to watch the crit and the last road race, so I made sure not to crash.

I was feeling decent, not good not bad. I had spent the day watching Super Troopers and part of the movie ‘Fly Boys,’ which I don’t recommend. But it did help pass the time until 6, when I got ready and rode over to the course in downtown. I had eaten a bunch of food that day, overcompensating because of my bonk the day before. I ate too much, actually. And I started the race feeling a bit full. This would be fine for a long road race, but a 90 minute all out crit is different. My stomach revolted throughout the race and the taste of bile, quinoa with chili sauce, and cherry flavored sports beans entered my mouth on numerous occasions. Some of it’s still splattered on my handlebars.

Of course, I started the race lined up next to dead last. I go to the start line with what I thought would be plenty of time to get a good spot up front, but 15 minutes early wasn’t even close to enough. I chatted with Evan Elkan and Chris Hong as we waited for the gun to go off.

I moved up a bit in the first 15 minutes, but not much. The first 20 minutes of the race was very fast and very painful. The course had two long straight away sections and four corners. Corner number 3 and 4 required slowing down to about 5 miles an hour and sprinting out of corner number 4 into a strong head wind. The pack began dwindling after half an hour and a breakaway that had gone early in the race was almost about to lap us. But they must have lost steam because their gap started getting smaller and smaller and they were caught with 2 laps to go. But before that, I got dropped. I made it until 15 minutes to go and an official held out his hand for me to stop, or at least I thought he did. Turns out he says he wasn’t pulling me, but just telling me to keep going. I was in oxygen deprivation so it didn’t quite dawn on me that I should have kept on going for another couple laps since I had just fallen off the back of the pack. But I didn’t know that there wasn’t a breakaway group about to catch me or what was going on, so I exited off the course after I thought I had been pulled.

I cooled down on some back streets while the race went on for another couple 15 minutes, then began questioning why I had been pulled so early, thinking that maybe I hadn’t been pulled. Whatever, I figured I’d go back when the race finished and make sure they knew I wasn’t still in the pack.

When I told the officials what had happened, they said that I had not been pulled and that I had pulled myself, which meant that I couldn’t start the race on Sunday. I was shocked and very mad. The cut off point of the race was only 30 minutes. You only had to accomplish 30 minutes and you’d make the cut off time. I had done 75 minutes, plenty of time to spare and yet the official still said I was out of the race. I argued with him, explaining that I thought he had pulled me, him disagreeing. I won’t get into the details, but after about 10 minutes of debating, he agreed to let me race the next day. I was very happy. Although my placing was all messed up. I finished at about 90th or so but the result they gave me was 133rd or something. No point in arguing about it, I was content just being allowed to race.