Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pain in the Rain

This was no easy race by any means. To start, i thought that since i was from New England that i would have a huge advantage because of such shitty conditions. It was low forties and pouring rain the whole time. I felt good the whole race, just had some slight problems on the last lap. The race was very hilly with the first half of the lap pretty flat and rolling and the second half, hill after hill after hill... no easy hills either. The grades were somwhere around 13% on the short climbs and ranged from 6%-10% on the last long climb. After the long climb there was a long descent, and it was very cold. After the first lap with the pack i was at the front sitting very comfortable heading into the down hill section, the precious lap everyone was on there breaks so i decided to get to the front so i could descend as i pleased.
Well that went well, as i had practiced this descent twice the day before. I got into my tuck and bolted away from the field without even pedaling my bike. I think i had like 15 seconds at the bottom of the climb, and i wasnt looking to get into a break. So i was soft pedaling waiting to the pack to catch me when a rider attacked out of the pack and said "lets go", so i followed him. He was probably very excited to be off the front cuz he was pulling his brains out. We were off the front by ourselves for like 10 miles when another guy from california bridged up to us. he must of been a time Trialist cuz we was pulling for long periods of time in a TT position. So i felt like i was in a good situation when i was barely doing any work at about 2 mins ahead of the field... So he continued to pull for long periods of time and then when he signalled me to pull through i would lightly pull through for about a minute trying to preserve as much energy as possible because i knew we would get caught by the good guys at some point. After being of the front for a full lap, the second lap on the big long climb there was a chase group of 5 guys and they had about a minute 20 on the field. And i thought to myself that this is the perfect situation for me to be in. Right before the climb i dropped my chain, had to get off and fix it and then caught back up to my guy that i was with and the 5 guys still chasing. As you can see in the pic below. Now we had a strong pack of 6 or 7 guys including a friendly face of Tristan baldwin from UVM so that was nice.

Sitting comfortable up the climb knowing that we would soon be caught by a strong chase group. We would eventually be caught on the 4th lap after being out front for the whole day.... i was expecting a small group of the strong riders... nope, there was like 25 or 30 guys still together. So my plan went wrong, cuz i thought i would be caught by the winning breakaway.
When Pavel is suffering, you know that everyone else is. and he does not look comfortable in this picture.
This is the finishing climb, im all by myself as i had pulled away from the small group that i was with and was chasing down some riders that fell off the peloton.

So the last lap i had some mechanical problems with my rear deraillur. the chain was not sitting on the gears when i was in my little ring. It kept skipping and i couldnt get a smooth pedal stroke when climbing the steep hills. I knew this was a huge problem and didnt know what to do. I was desperate, so i kicked the deraillure once and it helped a little, but not for long. Up the lap 4 long climb i was comfortable and well rested when heading into the climb. But i couldnt get a smooth pedal stroke and i was falling through the field as i started on the second wheel to be in good position.
I said to myself that i was gunna fall off if i didnt do something, so i shifted into the big ring and put it in my 25 on the back and tried grinding out the climb with the pack. I couldnt stick with them and they had about 15 seconds as they took the turn for the descent... not good. needless to say i couldnt catch back on cuz they were screaming down the descent into the final lap and things got really hot. so i was left chasing with 3 others who were fading fast. I was pissed. we made it to the final climb together and then knew that we just had to try and pick up stragglers but it didnt really matter at that point. i rode away from the small group i was with, picked up a couple riders ( while riding in my big ring) and i was left to finish almost ten minutes back of the leader. Very frustrating when my legs were feeling so good.

So, as it was my first nationals i am glad that i had a strong performance and theres nothing could have done about my bike. and i made it into a USAcycling article about the race.

I was mainly pissed because i let the ECCC down. Joe Kopena was chearing for me, and it really motivated me to put my all into the race because i know how much he puts into the ECCC and it must make him feel proud when all the hard work pays off with strong representation at nationals like previous years.

i will update about the crit later. but probably not till monday because there will probably lots of post race brewskies being drank, which means i will not be coherent enough to post on my blog

goodbye, time for me and Pavel to head to the hot tub!


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