Monday, April 21, 2008

From First to Fourth to F!@k

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.


eric said...

sonmetimes even when you've got a pace car there's still guys up the road - remember Johnny Cake 3?

Awesome ride none the less, fourth place on that course is no joke at all.

James said...

Look on the bright side, you are the highest placed CBRC rider in any field. Fourth is a great result. Sounds like you were patient and saved the attack for the right time in the race. Next time maybe consider communicating with the riders around you, ask questions, be assertive, and keep and eye on the pace car.

Pen Drive said...
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Danny Goodwin said...

Way to go, Matt. As Eric and James remarked--4th is no joke and that feeling you had across the line was real. Bearing in mind what Baudrillard says about the real: that it is largely constructed of models of reality, based on previous experiences or "simulacra". That loss of the real--it's a real loss, man.

Seriously, you went big and rode a hard-man's race like a hard man. I hope I can hold your wheel once you upgrade in the coming weeks to Cat 4!

Kudos, also to Buffalo Jim, who rode an astounding race, also to be thwarted in the last moments (last 2 miles, right Jim?). He soloed off the front at the last climb and left the chase group chasing until he hit the wall of walkers in the steep sandy stuff. Note for next year: standing on those rocky, sandy climbs does not work unless you have mad mountain-biking chops.

As for my own race, I had the typical good day until it actually mattered (as in the last 5 miles). Said to myself more than once "...I hate this sport--I'm done--I don't care--my ass hurts--must drink beer...", etc. At mile 50 I made the grave error of taking a Gu, even though I was completely out of water. It turned into some kind of industrial polymer in my mouth which made breathing really inconvenient.

Said a little prayer to Satan at mile 55, which gave me just enough gas to drop the fellers sucking my wheel, which accounts for my salute at the line.

Awesome job with the pics, Barry.

Dieter is my hero. What a delicious race! What delicious pain!


Kevin B said...

Hey Matt, I think the guys broke on the Willard climb. I remember someone saying during the race that our group was 1.5 minutes behind, I think it was in Greenwich. We totally could have caught those guys if there was more than 3 out of 8 of us pulling. I got eighth I'll take it that last climb kicked my ass.
Kevin B

Anonymous said...

dg -
"One day, we shall stand up and our backsides will remain atteched to our seats." Jean Baudrillard

Matt -
It's only a matter of time (for you) - rock on.

-Nate B

douglas said...
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douglas said...

4th at B-R is no joke, good job. I was pretty happy w/16th in Cat5 35plus

Dave Beals said...

Matt, Congratulations on a great ride! Your time on that tough course beat all but one of all the Cat 4's and would have placed you in the top 30 in the Cat 3 race. Not too shabby for a newbie racer. You trained hard, worked hard all Spring, and you deserve that awesome finish. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

high end carbon bike: $4000
bike shoes & helmet: $300
team kit: $130
pic of Matt coming in 4th but pumping fists for 1st place: priceless

Anonymous said...

Great job on a superb finish. BTW - it is wrong to say a time in one field would have equated to a top finish in the other field. The Cat3s had alot of tactics, pushing big attacks in the hills and then settling in aftewards. Times are deceiving. Lots of breaks in the 3 race = teams setting false tempos on the front slowing down the pace. The 4s could have simply set a more steady even pace.

Just saying...