A wise man once said, "never admit to blogging at 10pm on a Friday."
So let's just pretend that I wrote this one up and forgot to hit publish back. Because I'm obviously out at some place cool (like Lord Hobo), not sitting at home "catching up" on something as vitally important as the blog.
So anyway. Back to last Sunday. Another double weekend, another better course on Sunday. Everyone seems to like the Sunday courses better this year, right? I can't figure out if it's because us old-timers (yes, this is my fourth season of racing Verge, believe it or not) are just excited to see something different at the classic venues, or it the Sunday courses are actually better. It seems like they're more technical on the second day, so that could be why I am so stoked about it, too.
In any case, Sterling day 2 was a quality setup, if not a picturesque one (a tight turn around a transformer box? AWESOME!). It was lots of braking and sprinting with one massive, screw-you, power-to-weight contest power section from the parking lot straight to the top of the hill. The only recovery you got during the climb was right before the stair run (ouch) and it finished with a barely rideable uphill mud bog.
Other than that I was looking forward to it.
I semi-botched the start, but with only 30 guys and a tight bottleneck on the first turn, it didn't really matter; I still ended up in the pain train around 20th, racing the usual suspects, on Kevin's wheel.
Obviously since Kevin and I are on the same team we should get in each other's way, so we did a little accordion, Kevin put a foot down, and I ran straight into his leg. I decided this was all his fault so I went flying by on the next straightaway while yelling "YOU'RE A FSCKING LIABILITY" at him.
I settled into a group with David Wilcox, Al Donahue, Kevin Wolfson, Pete Smith, and a guy I didn't know. Fast company. Too fast, in fact. Being day 2, my legs hurt from the gun, and my brain was like, "uh, you're riding in Al's group, he's way better than you." So all body parts involved with closing gaps were protesting more than usual.
After two laps of yo-yo-ing on the back, I was off for good. At the time it seemed reasonable, but now (recalling that I was only going 99.9% of max) I wish I had died a few more deaths to stay on. You know how it is. In any case, it was off to TT land while I prayed that Al's pace broke someone else off soon.
And it totally did! First "unknown rider" (let's call him Chad Wells), and then Pete Smith lost contact, and the gap to them was imminently closeable. And I was a-closin', right up until I dumped it on the new off-camber descent. I didn't dump it in the "end up with a muddy ass" sense, but I still ended up running down a hill, dragging my bike behind me by a brake hood. Not fast.
What's worse, a large, wattage-heavy group was close behind, with Kevin, John Burns and Adam Sullivan. Sweet, it's like every guy I really want to beat is working together to catch me! Kevin, being the team player that he is, dragged the group up to my wheel, and then retreated to the back of it.
Oh well, hanging out with dudes makes for better stories. We had a Quebecois dude with us and we picked up Chad Wells soon after, and I showed remarkable (in my humble opinion) fortitude by hanging out at second/third wheel instead of tailgunning as is my wont.
Kevin, ever the teammate, picked his way through the group, up to my wheel, just so he could T-bone me on the stair dismount and then never be seen again. Seriously, 100% of the contact I had with other riders in this race was with the only guy wearing the same kit as me. We're so good at this sport.
So that was the end of Kevin. Down to five. It stayed that way until three to go, when Burns (who had been doing zero, zilch, nada, aka racing smart) decided to light it up on the power section. I had made a few attempts to get away, that of course didn't stick, then he went to the front and hammered for 2 minutes straight. "Oh," I thought to myself, "you have to go hard for MORE than 10 seconds to break guys off. I see." Then I almost threw up to hold his wheel.
And oh boy, did he break guys off. Chad and "the canadian guy" were GONE. Like "lost 40 seconds in a lap gone." It was the kind of manly attack that I would like to make someday, when I am a wattage factory and not just a hide-in-your-draft-and-jump-you-at-the-line factory.
Adam Sullivan is pretty strong, too, so he hung on as well, and we were down to three. John was obviously the strongest guy in the group, because he kept dragging us around and accelerating really hard on all the straightaways. Eventually he accepted that we weren't going anywhere, but by then there was only one lap to go, and all parties involved were running on fumes.
Burns was taking some "weird" lines through the off-camber descent/woods section/horse jump, so I got past him on the off-camber and gapped both of them solidly by the time we were back to a straightaway. Oh, it's time for my favorite cx drill of them all -- "hold a 3 second gap for the last four minutes."
I've actually done it so many times now (like I said, I'm an old-timer) that it wasn't even that intimidating; just sprint out of every corner like there's a mountain lion behind you and you're good to go. The power sections were short enough that Adam couldn't crush the gap like at Mansfield and thus I rolled in with my gap intact for my second 19th place of the day.
You know what? I'm pretty glad I decided to write this post at 10pm Friday, er, 9am Tuesday, because I'm 300% more motivated for NBX than I was when I started typing. Does this keyboard have caffeine in it??
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