You might've noticed that it's the end of the week, and once again I've got no race report up. This time I have a totally legit excuse -- my girlfriend of the last seven years broke up with me.
YEAHHH THAT'LL STING.
I love talking about myself on the internet, even when things go shitty (except usually it's just a "race report" instead of a "relationship report") so let's give this one its own paragraph.
We had a good run, no doubt about it, but ultimately people change a lot in their 20s. There's no exciting scandal, no screaming matches, nothing dramatic about the end of it at all -- just the trite-yet-accurate phrase "we grew apart." But at least we both grew. I'm looking forward to seeing where my life goes now that I really know who I am -- and I'm sure Linnea 2.0 is going to make some guy very happy down the road. But we're not doing it together, that's for sure.
In the meantime, yeah, I could use a beer feed.
A power course masquerading as an old-school cross course. After 3 or 4 years of this thing I'm finally wise to it's tricks -- the cornfield kills you, the road kills you, the runup kills you, the barriers kill you -- then you get all of 2 minutes to recover before the cornfield starts killing you again.
A whole bunch of my cat 2 nemeses showed up (Wilcox, Fridrich, Huff) so slacking was not an option. Matt was very interested in me taking a beer feed on the runup (because beer goes down so well at 200 bpm), so I told him I'd do it at the end as long as either I had dropped Cary or he dropped me.
Then the race started.
I made "the group" on lap one, because the group was going so slow that 9/16 starters made it. Ahh, non-Verge races, where a good result seems actually plausible for over FIVE MINUTES of racing.
Obviously my legs were trash from partying and not racing Saturday, so while I was sitting in quite comfortably I noticed I went into the insta-pain-cave any time I had to go fast. I couldn't hurt effectively, but I could ride tempo like a champ.
Needless to say, if you can only ride tempo The Wilcox will drop you. He eventually took off with Shawn Milne and Kevin Gauvin leaving me, Rob Hult, Cary and Huff riding for 4th. Pulling through was not in the cards for me so I went in to my standard "wicked annoying riding companion" mode by doing as little work as possible. At one point Rob and I gapped the others and we could've totally tried to ride away if I wasn't USELESS. I bet Rob was thrilled.
So around the midpoint I ended up tailgunning (as is my nature) and Huff had a pretty sweet crash at the top of the descent that gapped me off something fierce. I chased my little heart out for a few minutes and regained contact at the road -- and I was feeling so good about it I went to pass Rob on the super-bumpy trail after the descent on the next lap. Dropped it into the 44x13 and...clunk.
Ok, my goddamn front derailleur must be too high/angled wrong, because this NEVER used to happen and ALWAYS can shift it back on when I drop... until this year.
So when I finally gave up trying to shift if, stopped, and put it on manually, they were GONE. Like 15 seconds, you aren't chasing back on, it's not even plausible, gone.
Well that sucks.
Luckily Huff was so discombobulated from his crash he was miles behind, and sixth place looked like a lock for me. Except Huff is full of roadie power, and I have to do a beer feed...
My 20 second lead with two to go was down to 10 seconds with one to go, and then I stopped at the top of the runup to choke down a beer directly in front of an official. And just like that, Huff was BACK and SHIT WAS SERIOUS. Oops.
But I had a plan! Make it to the road and fast-twitch your way to victory! I somehow convinced Huff not to attack me in the cornfield by riding so pathetically slow he started mugging for the camera. Oh yes, I am totally cracked, you're gonna smoke me on the road...
We hit the road and we both knew what was up. My plan was to either let him go first, or attack at the slight bend if he hadn't already, since the first guy to the runup has a huge advantage. I could see his hands on the drops in his shadow (thanks, late afternoon sun!) and when the bars started moving, I knew he was coming.
He got a good launch but there wasn't much surprise, so I clung grimly to his wheel for 15 seconds and then counterattacked just in time to come around for the runup. A shining moment in my career of otherwise questionable tactics! I flipped out and slayed the runup (no beer this time, thanks) and thrashed my way across the line, not realized Huff had pulled the plug on the runup and I was sprinting all-out to turn a 2-second gap into a 10-second one at the line.
Ouch. Cary and Rob put almost a minute on me after the chain drop, which makes me think I wasn't gonna beat them anyway. Sixth place was worth an entry fee refund which was immediately contributed to the Putney Co-op. So I might not have a girlfriend, but I've got FREE AMATEUR BIKE RACING on the weekend, which is nearly as good. Right? Right??