It's a short week so we're rolling two reports and a video into one. Hold on to your coffee.
I rolled down to Southampton this weekend with Linnea and Sara. They are fast ladies, so they were hoping to take advantage of the promoters's increased women's payout to score mad bank. I am an occasionally-fast dude, so I was hoping to not get lapped by Tim Johnson.
The lapping situation was grim, though, because Southampton is a shortshortshort lap with a ton of climbing, so the fast guys are only 5 minutes away from lapping you when the race starts and the course really lets them showcase how they are "professional cyclists" and you are "not."
The rest of the UCI pack fodder stayed home, so I got the coveted back row lineup along with Pete Bradshaw. We joked about how lonely we were, then the whistle blew and he crushed it to a 16th place, last-guy-on-the-lead-lap race. Bastard.
Oh, and spoiler alert, if Pete crushed it and was last guy on the lead lap, guess who wasn't? THIS GUY.
I did not help myself out by running the CRABON file treads on Saturday, either. They were ok when I prerode, but with the sun going down and the ground getting moist at 3pm, I was "rallying," not railing, every corner. Maybe if I was Adam Craig I could have made that work. My wheels made exciting pinging sounds when I shifted, but I went around corners, and especially the HUGE OFF CAMBER, basically sideways. File treads are still the secret weapon... but they're not the ultimate weapon.
So anyway, there were 33 starters on Saturday and 25 of them were light years better than me. I rode a mediocre race and placed 30th, right where I should've been. Lonely day, though. At least I had Steve abusing me on the ride up each lap. I was not alone:
Tim lapped me after 40 minutes (ouch) on his way to riding 11 laps in 55 minutes (ouch), and slapped me on the ass on the way past (ouch). And my stupid seat cam didn't catch it! Ouch!
Sunday was a new day, with similar characters on a similar course. This time we went up the sharp climbs and down the more gradual ones, which was surprisingly a lot more fun. Or maybe it was just because I was running Fangos, which felt like I was velcro'ed to the ground after a day of file treads. Anyway, mojo was higher!
And it's a good thing my mojo was higher, because I put myself straight into DFL about two minutes onto the course. We went over the the methane hill bottleneck, I was on someone's right side on the downhill, overlapped wheels, and when they swung wide I had nowhere to go but into the tape. Rookie move. Worst of all I slammed on the brakes and the damn stuff stretched out a mile but didn't break, leaving me wrapped up as the race rolled away. (2:00 in the video) I had to unhook from my brake levers, bars, and seat cam (!!) and then back up before I could be free, taking over the DFL spot from Zach. He said "I'll wait for you," and I was like, cool.
So he did, I guess, anyway we rode the rideup together and looked good doing it. At least if you didn't know we were the last two guys in the race.
Soon after that he had an innocent little lay-down on the descent, but since it was on an off-camber he went sliding several miles under the tape and was never seen again. (3:55 in the video)
And now I'm alone! Again! On a short lap!
This time, though, I vowed it would be different, so I gunned it for a half lap to catch Chris Hamlin just in time for the long pavement stretch. He expertly blew the turn onto the pavement and I accidentally rolled past him... oh goddammit now I have to pull? If he did that on purpose it was one of the slicked moves ever. I pulled for 2 minutes, he jumped around just in time for the first climb. NICE.
I did cling to his wheel long enough to finally pick up some draft on the next lap, and then "attacked" on the steepest climb to open a little gap and set off alone again. At this point I assumed the "grim reaper of the elite field" role and rode around ending people's races. Ricky had a biological/mechanical thing going on, so I rolled around him. Pat Bradley rolled a tubular, bam, another victim for the reaper!
Unfortunately Tim and Jeremy then lapped me before I could claim any more souls.
All in all, it was kind of a bummer weekend, because it turns out that racing no one for 28th is nowhere near as gratifying as racing 20 of my closest Cat 2 friends for it at a Verge. I can't even tell if I rode well, because there were so few guys to compare against.
Luckily, my carmates slayed it both days to come away with serious loot and yet more UCI points, and they dragged me outta there on Sunday in time to catch the 5pm ferry back home.
Hey, dudes my speed: COME TO STERLING. Please?
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