13
Jul
11

Being a Strong cyclist doesn’t mean being a Winning Racer….

Accepting the prime award from official Mark Nelson - 2011 Fair Park Crit

After 3 or 4 weeks of fantastic riding in the rallies, and being able to hold my own against strong cyclists with superior palmares, reality hit home on the weekend of July 2nd and 3rd.

The heat has been relentless, with temperatures routinely hitting the century mark, and the Heat Indext creeping towards 105 and 110. I’d been using my hydration strategy to good effect in the rallies, and planned on it making a difference in the competitions. I also got it in my head that I was good enough and could recover well enough between events to do BOTH the 40+ AND the 3/4 races that were being held, roughly 90 minutes apart. But pride certainly goeth before a humbling fall, and I was definitely humbled out there.

The crits at Fair Park have become a little jumbled in my memory, but in the first one, the 40+, I remember attempting a couple of attacks, and trying aggressive tactics, only to be played by some teams, and actually causing the split that eventually formed and gained almost half a lap on me. All efforts to get the remaining riders to rally and paceline it back went for nil. In the second race, I attempted more aggressive tactics, and even won a nice pair of sunglasses in a prime, shocking the announcer, Mark Nelson, who’d never seen me sprint for anything before. But all breakaways were reeled in, and honestly, the heat damped just about everyone’s ability to create sustained attacks or power. It was hot, the air was pretty still, and the pace pretty even, all things considered. At the finish, there were still about 40 riders, and with everyone deciding to be their own hero, I became a viewer and not a performer, and missed my chance to sprint at about 700m, before the final turn. I finished up in 20th place or further back.

My ‘team’, Mirage, had zero riders in the 40+, and several in the 3/4. We did take several primes, but no-showed at the finish, which was disappointing. I’m having some trouble communicating with a few of my teammates. Some of them are inexperienced, but others just plain don’t talk at all, and since I’m not a mind-reader, it’s hard to tell whether they’re ready to work or not. We don’t train together, though, and I’m pretty much the odd man out in the club, since I can’t/don’t attend meetings any longer, and don’t make the group rides, either. My role becomes that of ‘get lucky guy’, and with 4-6 riders in a race, we don’t really work together all that much. I’m willing to change it, but I don’t think they are. Besides, only one of them is a client, and he rode REALLY well all weekend!

Sunday’s event was at a new location, out in Cedar Hill area of Dallas. The out & back course climbed a fantastic piece of viaduct, and King Racing strategically placed the S/F at the crest. Once again, the day started off hot, and only got worse as the sun rose. I got chastised by Dallas Racing’s Jimmy Vaughn after the 40+ race for supposedly “Chasing Down” his teammate Farang, but I don’t remember it that way. I do remember once again being the only real challenger for Mirage in the 40+ race, attempting several break-aways, and getting REALLY close in the final lap with a breakaway that got me swallowed in the last 150m. Once again – I finished maybe 14th. No points, no primes, though I did challenge for one, just losing it by a wheel at the line. 90 minutes later, the 3/4 race was a lower-key affair, with less overall power needed. I maybe tried one or two breaks, but they were quickly reeled in. A teammate and client tried one, but it, too, failed. In the end, sitting just right in 5th position, I climbed as hard and as fast as I possibly could, but got swallowed by legs that were more fresh and younger than mine, and took another anonymous finish.

I don’t know whether to be pissed about these results or not. I mean, in one way, I’m trying like hell to make the race. As Lance said in 1998, “Somebody has to make the race. I’d rather be the guy who opens the race up and is aggressive, attacks and gets fourth, than the guy that sits in the whole day and wins. That’s not my style.” So you could argue that I’m trying to do that as well – open up the race. Make it such that races like this DO NOT end in sprints or crashes. Something that takes more tactics and thought than just ‘Oh, let’s sit back here and have a cake and ice cream ride until the last 400m. Sound good to you? Okay. Cool.’ I hate that. We need something akin to a points-per-lap race on the velodrome. Bring out the speed. Break up the race. Make people WORK for something!

They say that insanity is the prospect of doing something repeatedly with the expectation of a different outcome. I guess that makes me more insane than ever.

The good news is that I think I raised my FTP to over 300 for the first time this season, and broke several 1-to-2 minute MMP records as well. The bad news is that immediately after the races, I came down with either a cold or allergies. Either way, I didn’t ride again until the next weekend, at the Tyler Road Race, which I’ll write up next.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Being a Strong cyclist doesn’t mean being a Winning Racer….”


  1. 1 some guy in east TX
    2011/07/13 at 1:20 pm

    whats the problem with making the race a race…..thats why we race. I dont care if I win, I dont care if I get shelled off the back. I do like to make the race a race and I will blow myself up trying to put the pain down or chase down a break. I had a similar situation happen to me a few weeks ago in a p123 rr when I attacked on the far right almost in the grass, a problem that I don’t have because I’ve raced MTB, and the racer, someone of a higher cat than me, told me that if I passed him again on that side he’d put me in the ditch. Needless to say we exchanged some heated words and I attacked again on the far right and nothing happened. Sometimes I want to go back to being a 4 where I can attack all I want and no one says anything. In the end though I do like to finish the race with at least the pack and after numerous attacks, and hard pulls on the front, I got shelled and pulled out earlier.

    • 2011/07/13 at 1:33 pm

      Yeah, I’m with you. I’m not getting squat for results, but there’s always hope that that one time, the pack won’t be able to respond, or a few good allies will join with you, and you can paceline away.

      This DID happen last weekend in Tyler, only, it happened to a teammate, not me. I like to think I softened up the field for him, but the fact is that he’s a state champ, and had the power and the patience to attack at the right time, and take two people with him. The rest of the squad blocked or did not participate. They ended up getting away. Some day, that’ll be me, and it has been in the past, but it’s still a little rare.


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