Today was the Smithville mountain bike race and the 3rd installment of "this is going to hurt". Good news was that it didn't hurt as much as it could have... bad news is that I didn't put in the effort needed to make it hurt. This was the last race of the TMBRA Fall Series and I think my body is ready for a break.
I had a good pre-ride on Saturday and felt good on the trail and afterward. This morning was a different story, I just could not motivate myself for the race. I've had this happen before and usually once the race starts I'm able to get somewhat focused; but not today. My heart rate was high, but my legs just didn't have the umpf needed to turn the pedals... slow and consistent seemed to be all I could muster, at least I didn't blow-up ;~)
There was some special excitement for the weekend as Lance Armstrong... yes that Lance Armstrong... raced today; which led to to larger than normal Pro/Cat1 class. Would he walk away from the normal 'big dogs', or would there be a race? The following is a blatant cut-n-paste steal from someone that was there for all the action:
Well the start was the usual suspects. Lance missed his pedals and his front row call up went to a back row start... He wasted no time getting up to Fawley, Rick, Scott and I. Basically we shed Rick, and the four of us left rode around for about a lap. Both Scott and Bryan put in some pretty good attacks and lance had no problem sitting third wheel. I could tell he was just sizing us up. At one point, towards the end of the first lap, Bryan got a pretty big gap. He probably had 20-30 seconds. I actually don't even know how it happened, but I think he just out-rode us in the rough twisties. Anyways on the run in to the Start /Finish Line you probably have a good 1/2 to 3/4 mile jeep road. When Scott, Lance and I came to this I saw probably one of the most violent attacks on a bike I have ever seen in my life. Lance got his superfly going probably close to 30-35 miles an hour. I got gapped and spun like a hummingbird to keep it close. Everyone somewhat slowed in the feed zone and by the half way point in the Fat Chucks complex I had made it back to the group... but that was short lived. On the last hill on Fat Chucks Lance put in another 'final' kick. He killed it up and all the way to Karaway. In a section that probably takes 2 minutes to do, he got about a 30 second gap. Everyone in our group rode around by ourselves for the rest of the race. He chewed us up and spit us out. Unfortunately for me, Lance's strong point all day was my weakest. In the wide open stuff he went REALLY FAST and only my legs went really fast.
I'd say our local boys did a good job of representing...
While racing with Lance would not be an option for me, being passed by him was definitely going to happen, and I could only hope that I would at least be able to get my first lap in before it happened. The way I was riding had me thinking that completing the first lap without getting caught was just a pipe dream, but somehow I did manage to at least accomplish that goal.
Spectators were gathering about a mile or so into the course (which was a series of loose gravel/sand climbs) with cameras at the ready to snap a picture of Lance in action. At the top of the second climb there was a good sized group and I told them that I couldn't believe they were all there just for me! That got a laugh from the crowd and a some extra cheering for me.
At the top of the third and last climb I could see another gathering of spectators and soon I could hear them cheering "Go, Lance!". For half a second I thought that maybe they were giving me a hard time, but then I looked behind me and there was Lance and he was closing the gap very quickly. Since I was in the only decent line up the climb I pulled over to clear the way for Lance to pass. As he rode by me he looked over and gave me what I'm claiming was "the Look", or maybe something like "come on, get on your bike and let's go"
or maybe it was more of a "who is this person in the trail" look... oh well, although I'll never know for sure I'm going to go with "come on, let's go" theory.
Tuesday night may or may not be another round of CX/ST racing and depending upon the weather the 6 hour solo race is still on the calendar for Saturday.
Until then I'm outta here!
2 days ago