Friday, November 13, 2009

fair hill

A couple of pics from Fair Hill last Saturday:

(I'm kind of hiding back there to the left, between the heads
of the dude in yellow and the Guy's Racing dude in green.)

(Another barrier shot... Why do photographers think barrier shots are so cool?)


A really nice day at the races last Saturday. It was a beautiful morning, a great course, and I was in a sunny mood to match the weather.

But the race could have gone better than it did. (I suppose it also could have gone much worse.)

After a season of really pretty good starts I really blew this one. I overestimated the size of the gear I'd want to be in and lost a lot of ground, from an already mid-pack start position, right from the gun. Forty-four riders started, and into the first turn I was sitting 30th or worse. Arrgh.

But the course suited me--lots of power sections, plenty of room to pass--and I rode the long sand pit section surprisingly well, generally gaining ground on those around me through it. So halfway through the race I had made my way up and was riding somewhere around 5th or 6th place.

I also had the first set of barriers pinned. Most rode the final 180 prior to the barriers. I dismounted before the final turn and came out of the barriers about 10 feet up on whomever I was riding with at the time.

Well, somewhere in there I got passed by a few folks (one had the audacity to ask if I was a lapped rider...yes, I was insulted) and I was sitting seventh going into the final lap. But I found my second wind and on a longish uphill section I put in a beautiful effort, coming around three riders (including the jerk who thought I'd been lapped) even though they were each spaced about 20 feet apart from one another.

That last lap I really felt great--shifting up and out of the saddle on all the straightaways--and by the second barriers I was just seconds behind the second and third place riders. But I couldn't catch them. I crossed the line fist-pumping in frustration at having been so close, but not being able to close the deal. (One spot off the podium...again!) I finished two seconds down on third, four seconds down on second, and only 18 seconds down on first.

The moral of this story (as it almost always is): ya gotta nail the start. Had I hit that first corner in the top 10 I'm confident I would have won the race. Eighteen seconds? That's next to nothing given the time and effort it takes to pass 3/4 the field during a 45 minute event.

Oh well. Disappointment may be why I keep racing...


Scott said...

I think photographers like the barrier shots because you are moving a little slower on foot than on the bike and people tend to space out a little more when they are carrying their bikes, thus allowing the photographers a little more time to shoot everyone.
But your question was probably more rhetorical than actual, so disregard my comment anyway.
Congrats on a strong finish, even if it wasn't quite the one you wanted.

Anonymous said...

A thought starter for your next blog .... if you are one of 44 starters, why do you feel disappointed to have schooled 40? What is it about our society that demands 1st place (or top 3)? If the race was 58 starters would you have felt better about 4th? (Same ratio as 3rd in 44.) If there were 20 starters and you placed 2nd (same ratio as 4th in 44) how would you have felt?

Funny how our society places value in competition ...... But I know how it feels when you know there is something you could have done differently to change the outcome.

I think finishing strong and feeling strong through the race is every bit as great an accomplishment. Good job bro.