Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Indianapolis Double Wknd - Part 2

The story continues:
Sunday morning I got to do something rare - sleep in!  Awake before the alarm at 8:30 and on the road by 9:00ish to Brookside Park.  The rumors were all about a set of stairs, a LONG set... and in the week prior I had contemplated learning to shoulder the bike, but coach assured me I'd be fine suit casing it like always.  And he hasn't lead me astray yet, so I showed up without the ability to shoulder a bike.  What's the first thing I see?  44 steps still snow and ice covered, an ice patch along the start line, and another ice patch in the first 110 degree turn.  No worries.... I've got Rhinos again today!
Frozen cables
Once again, I got registered, changed, took a lap and set up on the trainer.  The warm up went well and the stairs weren't a concern after the pre-ride other than a few that were rounded off and near impossible to get footing.  The temperature was colder, probably around 20F but there was no precipitation.  The course held two paved climbs and a handful of other "power sections" but handling was still paramount.  First call to staging came, I sat on the trainer relaxed and headed over just as the officials started walking, dropped the pit bike, and got ready for a call up, only my front derailleur is rubbing....uh oh!
More frozen mud, with clean wheels.
Call-ups were off again, but Jason, Ryan, Matt, Will, and I all got our spots on the front line.  The start was a couple hundred yards uphill on pavement and then a thawing 110 degree turn onto grass.  I took the hole-shot with Jason on my wheel and with the noise was pretty sure the whole field was on his wheel.  The pace was hard but not crazy and when we got to the top of the treacherous descent I looked back to see we were alone with at least 10 seconds to third.  Jason and I raced for a couple laps with minor accelerations, but nothing major and with three laps to go I noticed third place was gaining on us.  In my head, I thought a win for me and third for Jason left us tied in points (this was incorrect math based on Jason skipping Saturday's race).  So I was content with keeping pace and seeing what happened.  Halfway through lap 4 of 5, Jason threw down a big attack on the second paved climb and opened about a 5 bike length gap.
Tough to see, but back seat that I "lived out of..."
He held that gap through the last turns of the lap until I saw coach standing at the tape.  He told me to, "Ride for the win!" and those four words lit a fire.  As we came onto pavement I dug deep and closed the gap on the first climb of bell lap.  In the second turn, Jason hopped off his bike with a dropped chain and though I hated it, I dug even deeper and saw third place catch Jason as I rounded the next turn.  I buried myself opening a bigger gap, but not thinking about keeping it upright, just "riding for the win."  There were moments where I thought I was going to pop from going too deep too early in the lap, but as I turned onto the pavement, Jason sat in third behind Cory with a few turns remaining.  I got to relax and enjoy the win across the line and then watch Jason take the sprint for second!  Another great race, battling great competition until the last lap.  I wish that Jason hadn't had bad luck with the mechanical so we could have raced to the line; he's an outstanding sport and has been one of many great competitors this season!

It's been a week since the race and I've got a lot of after thoughts, the engineer in me requires bullets (in no particular order):

  • Coach doesn't show a lot of emotion, but that day he did!  Those four words were what I needed!
  • I'm lucky to have supportive people in my life - family, girlfriend, friends, teammates, and competition!
  • Going from a decent Cat 4 season in 2009 to this has been amazing - hope the trend continues!
  • I race best in snowy conditions - would come in handy if I ever got to race in Belgium (I wish!)
  • Following coach's workouts almost perfectly for a week pays off!
  • If it weren't for all the driving, I'd love to keep racing!
  • My first mention in a magazine HERE!
  • Off season is here and no planned riding for two weeks!!

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