Well it turns out I didn’t magically turn into a climber over the winter like I’d secretly hoped. I feel like I’ve written that before. Today’s race was very slow and boring for the first two hours. Then it was nervous and twitchy for the next hour as we avoided crashes (not me) and fought for position in the crosswind. Then, finally, it was very hard for about 30 minutes up a steep climb. I did not like these 30 minutes very much.
Despite my favorite training being long climbs and despite me living at altitude, long climbs at altitude are my weakest point. Maybe one day this will change, but for now I’m much better suited to courses with power climbs, which Lang would call NARBRs (Not A Real Bike Race), so races like Univest and Redlands…you know, fake bullshit, easy races.
If you couldn’t tell already from the fat man excuses, I did not go super well today. I finished 43rd, which is actually quite a bit better than I’ve done here in the past. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Inner Loop stage, which is still difficult but ends with a flat sprint, for which I hope to be positioned perfectly and have the legs (but mainly the mind) for a top 10. If it’s windy tomorrow, things could be very different to what I’ve experienced here in the past. I’m actually hoping for wind…says the guy currently sitting in a comfortable chair and NOT breathing out his ass.
After that comes Friday’s TT, which I’m for once excited about after my good time trialing at Sea Otter. Then comes Saturday’s crit, which I’ll most likely sit in on and conserve because of Sunday’s final Gila Monster road stage. I’d like to be in the break that day since it’s only a matter of time before I get dropped on the cat 1 climb. Everyone does, except for maybe 10 or 15 guys. Making it in the break and staying away until after the cat 1 climb would give me a good shot at riding into a top 20 stage placing. Bold words.
Anyways, onto today’s stage:
We soft pedaled for a really long time, I drank water bottles from the feed zone, we started going faster, I attempted to stay near the front, I got tangled in a crash but didn’t get fall over until after I’d stopped moving forward, I caught back on with help from Alex in the team car, we climbed up a steep mountain and I went slower than I wanted, I stopped at the cattle guard finish line, I slumped over my bars for five minutes attempting to breath once again, I realized my hearing was impaired, likely due to lack of oxygenated blood flow to my ears, I drank some bright blue clothes detergent I mean Powerade and stood in front of a big fan blowing cold air, I rode down the mountain and got my Garmin from a nice woman who picked it up at the base of the climb where it fell off, and then we drove home. Done. Nick finished 34th, (USA) Garrett finished 42nd, Trevor was 62nd, Aaron, Scott, Chris, and (CAN) Garrett all finished together not too far behind in a group containing 78th to 83rd, so not a terrible day actually. Not a superb result but we got through it.
Here we are at sign in. Note my un-broken spirit in the form of a goofy face and Chris’ thumbs up.
Here’s the finish…broken. My throat still hurts from coughing.