"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Goodbye July

One last push for July.

The course, designed by my coach, Randy Warren, was fantastic and you couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting for a wicked fast criterium than Chicago’s Grant Park. 4 turns on Columbus, Monroe, Michigan and Balbo, plus a half-moon chicane on the back stretch at the intersection with Congress. Wide turns and smooth pavement.

I was pretty tired after 3 races in 4 days and no training - and today adding on. Plus a little on edge after seeing some nasty crashes and going down myself. I have to admit I wasn’t feeling competitive at all at this point, and honestly, all I wanted to do in this race was be safe and help a teammate get the win. Jeff Holland was in second place for the Illinois Cup in the Masters’ 4/5 30+ category.

And it was a very safe race, a prototypical Masters’ event. It didn’t bunch or swarm very much, and I never found myself boxed in. There were only a few attacks and it was actually quite relaxed at some points.

Towards the end the pace began to surge back and forth and bunch up in the wind. Coming past the line and seeing two laps to go I said to Jeff, “let’s go” and took the front. I strung it out for the entire lap but at the bell several jumped past me going into Turn 1, and then it bunched again back on the Congress chicane. Just behind me, Jeff went down.

I just sat up at the point, but even then the pace still wasn’t that fast. There was still a chance to get into it even going over the Balbo overpass. But not knowing if Jeff was OK – he’d crashed hard at Evanston just a week earlier – took all the fight out of me. It was exactly the opposite of the outcome I’d come looking for in doing this race.

I can’t believe we just have one more month to go. I have the confidence to believe I can put something together finally, but for the most part, up until now, it’s been largely disappointing. Katy correctly points out I have no right to gripe about all my poor finishes knowing that they are all largely my own doing.

It’s disappointing because I know I have the physical strength to take me to good results, and the knowledge to set it up, but I still lack the balls to fight it out in the final turns, to risk road-rash and worse, for the ultimate glory that is that $200 check.

And if riding well for an entire race only to phone it in on the final turns isn’t making me happy, racing for fun and to keep me fit, then why am I doing it?

Only I can answer this question (as well as make you read it, again and again, blog after blog)…but the rest week is here. It’s time to reset, give a lot back to Katy for all of her support, and clear my head.

August may be here already, but there is still a lot of racing left, and within it, time to find myself…

A pair of bigger balls.

1 comment:

Tamara Fraser said...

Doood, you figure out how to get those balls, let me in on the secret.