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.