Last night was the fourth round of the Weston/CSU Tuesday Night Race Series. Last time I alluded to having a far too specific plan for this week, so let's see how it went:
Part 1: Don't do any extra work until the the last lap.
We had 71 people on the start line so it was the bigger race of the year. I got away pretty cleanly, slotting in around 8th, but the lead group was larger than usual and I think 12 or so people made the first cut. Furthermore, Bret Bedard didn't wax his skis and it was 34 after a high of 40 -- for two laps he tried to break away but the superior (expensive) glide of the chasing pack hauled him back on the downhills. This ended up making the pace a lot higher than last week since we were actively chasing him down the hills instead of standing around looking at each other.
Basically, after 3 laps of trying to do minimal work, I felt like I had done a ton of work just to hang on, and Part 2 of the plan didn't seem like a very good idea.
Part 2: Try to get off the front on the transition after the downhill after Mt Weston
This one requires that you know the course to really appreciate it. After a long, gradual V2-Alt downhill there's a quick sharp uphill and a corner. I know for a fact that if you "get up on it" you can get up that hill in like 4 V2 strides, but we always accordion and it takes like 8 V1 strides. It's a good place to get a gap or put the hurt on everyone with just over 90 seconds to the finish.
The problem was that I was on the receiving end of the hurt. The pace ratcheted up starting lap 4 and the group started coming apart, and I was on the wrong side of the split. I killed it up Mt Weston to close back in to 6th, but on the descent my legs started whining.
"Oh gosh, we hurt so much, can't you just draft for another 60 seconds and then we promise we'll try really hard to win the sprint?"
The lungs tried to echo their support for this plan, but all they could do was froth spittle onto my chin.
Needless to say, there was no attack. But I was the last guy to make the cut, and I was still in contact with the leaders on the last corner. I like to think that this counts as a moral victory.
So we come off the last 180, it's one last mad dash to the finish, and of course I am receiving the full force of the accordion so the front three are effectively out of reach. Coming down the straight, though, I have a shot at the guy in fifth, I start overtaking him but at the same time he's overtaking the guy in fourth... and it's just a narrow Tuesday night race without lanes. With 50m to go, the trail is entirely blocked and I'm still gaining on these guy, trying to come through the middle.
Had it been a big race I might have stepped on people and busted through, but I don't think crashing out the Tuesday night regulars in a sprint finish is a good way to make friends. I tried to double pole up the middle but I'm no Tor Arne Hetland. I threw my ski just for the hell of it, there's no finish camera anyway and it's self judged. I was sixth. Again.
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