This Tuesday's Weston World Championships went really well for me, but I couldn't write about it because I had all kinds of other posts queued up. Now it's Friday and no one cares! Except me. So here we go!
After two weeks of cold conditions we got some classic Bostonian "falling slush" precip for most of the day Tuesday. Falling slush means wet snow, wet snow in the air means wet ice on the ground, wet ice on the ground means I get to break out the waterskis and flouros and ski 25 kph laps around Weston.
I was feeling pretty wrecked from stumbling around Bretton Woods with iced-up skis the day before, but the rest of the CSU masters contingent had also raced on Monday, and they showed up, and were not audibly complaining. So I sucked it up. Also "in the mix" for once was Cary, but he decided to stack the deck against himself by bringing unwaxed skis to a waterskiing race. Then we started and he got crashed on the first hill, and it didn't really matter what wax was on his based because the top 15 guys were gone.
I got a pretty good jump to the top of the first "climb" and slotted into the lead group around 6th. Unlike last week, the fast-fast guys got immediate separation, without towing the old-fast guys (and by extension, me) around for a ridiculously fast first lap. My elation to make the split was quickly tempered by the realization that pretty much everyone else made the split, too.
The race developed into a typical Weston ski crit, slow on the gradual downhills, fast on the transitions, the group stringing out but always coming back together when the pace eased at the front. The most important thing to do, as every bike racer should know, was to defend your position near the front out of the wind. Luckily, the most cutthroat Westonites were leading the group and thus 4th/5th ski was not too hard to come by.
I had a brief lapse, and the guy behind me started to pass on the inside, oh no! There wasn't much space, and he preemptively stepped on me before we could get to the apex of the turn. Instant adrenaline/lactic rush from getting spun sideways, but I stayed up. Unfortunately the first workable gap of the race had opened because of this and we were on the wrong side of it.
I didn't recognize him, so I figured he was a Weston neophyte (the accent tipped me off, too), and sure enough, he definitely didn't display the level of panic that was appropriate when the fastest four guys in the group gap you. Maybe he didn't know that they were the fastest four, or maybe he was looking forward to letting them go. Either way, excuse me sir, I need to panic now, because I am sick of racing for "winning chase 2" each week.
I jumped around him and bridged the gap, which was a mere 15m. Based on how much it hurt, I'd say I panicked at exactly the right time. We pulled away from the back half of the group swiftly while I tried to recover, and I started making deals with myself about "sitting in and trying to win the sprint from the back," which is definitly not a WINNER'S ATTITUDE.
...And when I saw the front three gapping Dave and I with just over a minute to go, well, I was ok with that, too. Thanks to the draft I overshot Dave pretty easily on the last downhill and cruised in for first place in the second chase group... yet again.
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