As we all know the infamous Battenkill Roubiax took place this weekend. While I've been training for this race since January (as I suspect most of you have too) I felt strong and confident going into Saturday's contest. Especially considering I was in the CAT 5 field. My race went as follows...
So after the first dirt road climb I found my field had shrunk to about 10 dudes. We had broken away from the rest of the CAT 5s and even the most clueless rider could see these would be the top 10 finishers. The race went smooth from there on out. As smooth as a CRASH I mean CAT 5 race could go. As we turned left at the State Trooper building and entered the 10 miles to go mark I realized that my time to attack was approaching.
I stuck to my plan, that being attack on the last climb. That 1/2 dirt 1/2 pavement long gradual climb. I had noticed that our field had shrunk to about 7 guys and I just figured that some guys had dropped off. Before I knew it we were at the last climb. I made my move. Surging up the little "bump" on the last of the dirt road, then switching to my big ring and hammering up the pavement. As I reached the top of the climb I shifted into my hardest gear and hammered alll the way down the bottom of the hill. I was reckless and dangerous reaching speeds of almost 60 mph all the way down the twisty and sandy hill. I had nothing but victory in my mind. This was my race to win and I wasn't going to let anyone stop me.
When I reached the bottom I took that last right and rode about 1k. I then looked behind me and saw NO ONE. "This is it" I thought to myself. No holding back. Hammer it all the way home. I survived the last 4 miles or so solo and saw the finish line. Victory I thought. VICTORY. That last 2k or so was the happiest I had ever felt on a bike. I had won and nobody could take that away from.
As I crossed the finish line I threw my hands in the air. People were cheering but nobody really seemed too happy. I didn't care though. I won the race...right? After the feeling of being the greatest ever to ride a bike began to leave me I rode around and found my mom. "Way to go Matt!" she said. "4th place...not bad at all for your 5th race ever." Thanks mo...WHAT! Not 4th...1st!!! "No" she said. 3 dudes came in about 3 minutes ago. I was in such shock and disbelief that I went to the officials table and asked to see the results. Sure enough there was my number, 119, sitting with a big number 4 next to it.
I would later find out that when our field crossed paths with the masters 50+ field 3 guys had attacked and I had not noticed. Even more embarrassing then throwing my hands in the air thinking I had won was the fact that I rode the last 4 miles by myself not realizing that there was NO PACE CAR IN FRONT OF ME!!!!!! What a dumbass I am?!?!?!
So, I guess the moral of the story is in the sport of cycling it is just as important to be strong physically as it is mentally. Everyone always told me that the strongest doesn't always win but it's the smartest that usually comes home with the trophy. I guess I learned that the hard way. Oh well, there's always next year.