Big Ring Rumpus part deux
Ok, so where was I. Oh yeah, we had just been swallowed up by the second group and I was starting to feel better again. I hung towards the back of the group for the rest of that lap and then at the beginning of what must have been lap 5 the group slowed drastically. I was still holding out hope that we’d catch the first group if we worked together so I moved to the front and mumbled something about us all working to pull them back. Apparently, no one heard me because I went to the front to push the pace up a bit and no one followed and I opened up a bit of a gap. At this point in the past I probably would have drilled it to get away and try to solo up to the lead group but since I’d been treating the draft like mama’s milk all day (I’d die without it) I didn’t think it would be wise to go it alone so I eased up a bit. Thankfully, when the group caught me, two guys decided to really start pushing the pace and ended up doing 85% of the pulling for the next three laps.
At this point I was feeling well enough to do an occasional pull so I wisely stayed away from the back of the pack but was still desperately trying to conserve energy because the tanks were getting low. On the last lap things got interesting. The two guys doing all of the pulling put in monster pulls at the beginning of the lap, keeping the pace high and not requiring anyone else to work. I was confused. Did they not want to win the group sprint (which we’d surely end up having)? Were they working for some mysterious teammate (not likely since they were on different teams)? Or were they just good guys?
I found out with about 1/3 of a lap to go when the CCB rider pulled around and did a mini attack and one of the pullers said “you can’t be fucking serious. You’re going to try to beat us?” To which the CCB rider replied (among other things) “sorry, I thought we were in a race”. Fair enough. Sure these guys had done a majority of the work and they DESERVED the win but there is a difference between deserving the win and getting the win. The Big Ring Rumpus is more road race than mountain bike race so road tactics come into play. If you want to be wheel sucker #1 and pull around for the win in the end, more power to you. Does it suck? Yes, but that’s racing.
So anyway, the CCB rider pulled around and I jumped on his wheel and when I THOUGHT we had about a ¼ mile to go I launched myself and got a good gap. Too bad we were still over a half mile out and I sputtered to a near standstill about 100 yards before entering the chicanes allowing the CCB rider (coincidentally the guy who took me out on the first lap) to get by and take my field spring glory. Drats.
This is a race that shows exactly where you stand with your fitness. There is no hiding. Sadly, this race proved what I had been feeling all along. My training isn’t quite there. The good news is that I don’t think it’s that far off and if you throw some technical shit into the mix I’m even closer.