Monday, August 20, 2007

Dillon Crit

the alarm went off at 4:20 saturday morning. "what am i thinking?" i thought to myself. i dragged myself out of bed, had some breakfast, and headed out the door at 5:15. good thing i packed the car the night before. head out on the road and it's still dark out. "what AM i thinking?" anyways, the nice thing about going to the mountains at 5 is the lack of traffic. it's a very peaceful drive and i catch up on the news on am radio.
i get to the race course and i'm the first rider there. man it's cold. 49 degrees. within 5 minutes everyone else begins to show up. i fiddle with some stuff and go register. i'm bib #2. "interesting" i thought to myself. maybe this is a sign. nah. i get my stuff together. luckily i brought a rain jacket for the mountain biking i plan on doing later in the morning. i bundle up and do some pre-race laps. man. what a short course. even at half speed they're a little over a minute. and the whole course feels flat or downhill. i thought this was going to be such a lame race. man was i wrong.
next thing you know 20 minutes have passed and the race is about to start. we head out and the guy next to me swerves in front a little and can't clip in boxing me out from being in the first 5-10 guys. eventually i swing around him and we're off. holy mother, we're off. the pace for the first 10 minutes was rediculously fast. couple that with altitude and the time of day and i just kept hoping for a flat tire (i never bring pit wheels). i was pretty much ready to quit, flat or no flat. and then i start to hear cheering. "who is that?" it took me a few laps to realize, but Kevin A. made the trek out to dillon early to watch, cheer, and yell advice at me. which he did throughout the race, telling me to move up, keep my position, and time gaps on any breaks. that was great. of course my first thought is f#$$%. now i can't quit. luckily the pace starts to settle a little. my legs are just screaming at me though. they're probably upset that i didn't do much to open them up during my warmup. just cruised around a little and this was their way of getting back at me.
but the course is short and fast. about a half mile with 1/3-1/2 the course being a long sweeping downhill into 4 corners and back up to the start/finish. each lap was taking right around a minute. man i got dizzy. about 30 minutes into the race RMRC got a solo break off the front. he maxed out at about 11 seconds. I sat in about 10th position yelling for people to catch him. at first everyone was just sitting in, but eventually with enough coaxing, some guys finally started to put in a solid effort to catch him. i got that from riding in a combined 3/4/35+ race before. it was a 35+ guy that egged on everyone to do his bidding. the dude was annoying. but effective. so was i. as the break got caught a gap formed where there ended up being 5 guys with a small gap off the front. i saw the gap form and bolted up to bridge. there was no way i was going to just let that go. and in bridging up, I charge the front and we end up with a gap formed for three of us. i take a massive pull to try to build our gap and pull through. but we've still only got about 20 yards, if that. potentially enough b/c now we're down to 6 minutes of racing to go. but it doesn't hold. we are all strung out in a long line for the final 4 laps. with a few laps to go i find myself right at the front of the race. usually not the best spot, but i figure what the heck, i'm not going to drop back and completely lose position. so going into the final lap I put in a strong effort just before the descent and try to recover a little. things were pretty strung out. but i let up just a little too much as a Twin Peaks rider puts in the perfect attack just before the set of corners grabbing a 10 yard gap. I honestly thought someone would have been on his wheel, but nope. just solo right in front of us and I don't have the chance to pull it back. we come out of the corners and onto the straightaway for the finish. i charge as hard as i can, but now my legs are really feeling the effects of the last few laps. right at the line I get nipped for 2nd by an echelon rider and finish 3rd.
i am elated. there are things i could have changed, done different, etc. but it was a hard, fast race and i did what i could. so no regrets there. and it's my best finish of the season. after the ups and downs i went through this summer, it's great to be able to finish off on a high note. one more to go. i can't wait for next year...

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