Sunday, June 10, 2007

just like Jens

I know now why Jens Voigt goes for it over and again. Because there is always the chance it could stick. Yesterday I pulled a total Jens, soloing off the front on the 1st climb of the 2nd lap at Balloon Fest in the Cat 5 race. I got sick of all the braking and negotiating in the main pack and attacked hard on the 1st climb the second time around. Nobody chased. I got to the top of the climb and looked back and I had what looked to me to be a full minute on the peloton. I put my head down and hammered the descent and looked back and they were nowhere in sight. Then I suffered in the wind on the flats for nearly 20 miles (though it felt like much longer) while spectators cheered me on with shouts like "its gonna stick man!" and "you got it!" I started to imagine rolling across the line uncontested in front of my girls. Then I noticed I was cruising at 31 mph and my heart rate was 168 bpm. Hmmm--I know durn well I can only do that for a little while. Wonder if I'm about to pop. Yep, here it comes--pop! Like a f***ing dragster releasing the parachute.

The chase group caught me at the top of the last climb just in time to motor hard into the last corner and into the finishing straight. I jumped on the last wheel of the lead group and took 11th place, barely. Club member Gene Primono worked hard to keep me in and I thanked him over and over after the race. A pretty crappy result for all that suffering, but honestly--it was the most fun I've had in a road race so far. Having kids run beside me on the climb, strangers taking my picture, and taking bottles from spectators while in my head Phil Liggett's voice was saying "...ah, its really a shame he'll get reeled in--what a heartbreaking effort..." Later a guy told me that if I had gone 2 miles an hour faster (easy for him to say), I would have stayed away. Whatever. Winning is hard, I guess. Now I upgrade and it only gets harder (though hopefully a bit more organized).

I cleaned myself up in time to watch my daughters Anna and Ella in their races. Neither were really prepared for actual competition, so they both took dead last in their age-groups. But they did it. And they finished and they didn't crash. Which is more than a lot of guys in my field can say.

Real pulled pork bbq and cold beer and carnival rides followed. A fun, fun day. Dieter and crew did an awesome job. This is one the team must not miss next year.

Congrats to Mike Fallone--coming back from a 4-year hiatus from racing to finish 21st in the 3/4. And Phil took 8th place in the 50+ race! Rock on Phil!

Of course, my hero is still Curtis White.

Photo from Ed Sharp Photography


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