Guilty. While this result pales in comparison to the steady flow of inspiring results from our gentlemen in Trexlertown, I entered the Cat 3 (yes, I still need more upgrade points...) Salida State Championship Road Race yesterday and found myself amongst unfamiliar faces. Just over 5 miles per lap for 9 laps in the heat, 500ft of climbing per lap mostly on false flats with a few short steep pitches, a long downhill and a few technical bits.
After 2 laps, I moved several yards off the front through a turn hoping to get a few riders off with me, or at least help whittle down the large pack on tight roads. No takers, and shortly I’m 100 yards off the front contemplating 35 hot miles to the finish. Shoot! Maybe I should rethink this. Instead, I thought “what the hell”, put my head down, stepped on the pedals and figured I would give it a lap and see what the gap looked like (halfway hoping too small of a gap would give me an excuse to settle back into the pack and recover). With no organized chase initially, the gap opened and I realized I might be in for an hour and a half of hurt. Having been mentally and physically humbled by Mt Evans last weekend, I reasoned there was no way it could possibly hurt more than that. The laps slowly ticked down and, although I didn’t get time gaps until 3 to go, I got out of sight and started passing dropped riders and groups from other races, which I hoped might confuse a chase. Drilling the false flats, surviving the steep pitches, and recovering in a low tuck on the long descent I realized that amongst the few dozen muscles I’ve had cramp these past two weeks, one’s eyeballs can actually cramp when looking up too long from said low tuck – I hoped they wouldn’t stick that way as it would have been awkward to explain riding myself into a ditch due to that! I crossed the line a few laps later 2 minutes up on 2nd and 3rd place for the Cat 3 State Road Championship. A pretty good day! - Ken O.
By the way, I wasn’t there to see it, but congrats to Frank Z on the 45+ crit win on Saturday!