Alex took this wicked picture of me.
After living out of a suitcase for two weeks and barely riding outside races for two months, I was chock full of excuses for why Northampton was going to be ugly. And yet, one minute into the race I was leading the damn thing, panting frantically, and thinking "I guess I really don't understand how fitness and training work... no wonder people pay for coaching."
Actually, I was thinking "ohshitohshitohshit" but in retrospect... I don't understand fitness!
My Vermont result continued to pay off and despite a DNF at Gloucester Day 2 I was still 6th in the series and still on the front row. The whistle blew and I nailed the clip-in, it was hot, but apparently it wasn't perfect because Hunter crushed it off the line and took the lead into the first corner with me on his wheel.
I immediately remembered that Hunter and I are two guys who can't work together at all, because he blows me away on straightaways and holds me up in turns. The course starts twisty and I was terrified of getting swarmed by the 100 maniacs behind me, so I sprinted around him as soon as I could.
I led until the lower pavement and then predictably Hunter came back past me with a train of guys in his wake. I fought my way into second spot in line on the runup and stayed there for most of the first lap. Over the barriers I swung out to get a clean line and whoops, now I'm in front again. Yikes.
Back on the pavement after one lap I gave the lead back up and got back into racing smart. I hung out without major incident in the lead train of 8 or so guys until hitting the deck on the roots before the descent. It was a stupid thing where I slipped, put a foot down, thought "whew that was close" and then promptly smashed into the ground a second later.
Something was immediately not right with my right shifter. It was squishy and not changing gears, which meant getting over the rideup in a sweet 46x19 or something. I started sliding backwards. My shifting kept getting worse.
Passing by Linnea a few minutes later I brilliantly yelled "I might need your bike," so she was like "might??" and then I yelled "MAYBE" really loud, because saying something straightforward like "I NEED A DAMN PIT BIKE" would have been too easy.
Seconds later my shifting went completely down the tubes and I became a 46x19 single speeder for the rest of the lap. I come up near the pit and Linnea yells "the bike is in there" to me, all I can think is "why the hell aren't you holding it?" and of course the reason is because I said "maybe I need your bike" like the wishy-washy moron I am.
Sigh. Anyway, a quick changeover and I'm back in action, with a slightly higher seat and sloping top tube. This was immediately cause for excitement going over the barriers as I very nearly whiffed on the the tube grab and just barely avoided the bike-barrier-slam. I followed up this pro move by almost stuffing the remount by hitting the back of the (higher) saddle with my leg. I was a mess.
Luckily we had a good four laps left and there was plenty of traffic to hang out with while I figured out how to ride her bike. Cort pulled through and said something encouraging (typical), it seems like he always comes by me on lap 3 or 4 when I'm having my worst lap and he always something like "come on, get on my wheel." So I did. We rolled around in gruppo el Corto for a while, Toby the best bike handling triathlete evar was there too, along with Pat Goguen and probably some more chaps. We were moderately cooperative, I guess, although I'm not really the kind of guy who is very useful to a group like that since I don't pull very fast. At some point Toby tried to ride away and then immediately stacked it in the sand, which gave me the brilliant idea to try to ride it, which of course failed utterly and led to the first successful drive-side remount of my life (score?).
Then with one to go Toby attacked again through the start finish, I barely got his wheel and no one else made it. We went rocketing into the dirt corners and that's when I realized he can really ride a bike (see above). Luckily I can too, when I'm not snapping shifters in half, so I hung tight and waited for the big sprint at the end. We were pulling back Hunter and someone else, too, so there was definitely no cat-n-mouse.
Up the rideup I made the poor decision to follow his wheel, and when he hiccup'ed over the top I hit him and had to put a foot down. Arghhhh bad decision, three hops later I'm over the top but a quick four seconds down. He was going after Hunter hard so that was the end of that, I rolled through four seconds down on Toby and two seconds down on Hunter for 8th place.
After getting that nonsense out of the way it was time to scream at Linnea in the Elite race, and she did my cheers of "daddy needs a new shifter" proud by scoring a 10th place, 80 bucks, and the last UCI point.
Wait a minute, 80 bucks?? Jeez, I'm not even sure that will buy me a 105 "brifter," and Yash told me that stuff's for peons. WIN MORE MONEY NEXT TIME PLEASE.
Just another boxcar in the pain train
Northampton Day 1 2/3 Men Seat Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.