Murad, another field sprint. I hate field sprints. Well, actually I hate when breaks go up the road and I am not in them, but still, I hate field sprints. You know what though? If I was better at them I may like them more, but at Murad I only managed a 6th - but Todd got 2nd so that was cool. The nameless one won again. Just kidding, the fastest sprinter around put on his cape and did it again. Or is Todd the fastest sprinter? They say your only as good as your last race, so that makes it Ken, but at Murad it sure as hell wasn't me. Plus I rode a rear wheel that did not like me so I was tired as hell at the end, and I am usually not after short road races like that.
Last week, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do the Wash County Stage Race or the VA State Crit. I choose the Stage race, mostly to hang out with Brian and get more than one race in my legs, plus the competition on Bike Reg looked harder as well as the courses.
While we were driving to the first stage, sprinkles were hitting the car. I knew if it rained, everyone would be miserable, and probably wouldn't warm up well - so I was going to attack or go with every attack like it was the last lap from the gun and see how things played out. It was pretty hectic and hairy and the dark clouds and pouring rain only added to this feeling of urgency I had to get away from the field. I loved it. Going over the 2nd of two pretty easy short climbs on the course, I looked back and guys were strung out all over the place. When all was said and done, 2 Kelly Guys (to include young Nate Wilson) and myself were away at the beginning of the second lap. We all rotated very well, and ever time I looked at Nate, I remembered that quote on the bio of his blog that says "I chill", and it made me smile. His teammate Jacob was pretty damn strong. At some point I heard there was a group of 3 coming across, but there split went from "30 seconds" to the "field is all together 3 min behind". We finished with a huge gap and the lead on GC.
Time Trialing is not my strong point, unless someone is chasing me or something. On my way home from the road race, I decided I would need more than TT bars (thanks Jose) to defend my place on the standings so I called everyone's favorite cop, John McClane, or as most in the cycling world call him Art Brown and begged him for some wheels. He loaned me a whole bike - and a helmet, and special shaped glaces, and possibly a little luck and magic. I like the word and. I had my best time trial ever, I think. My main worry was not to loose over two minutes to Pete Cannell and Josh Frick and keep Jacob, the Kelly guy within site and try not to let him dig into the 11 seconds I had on him. I managed to loose between a minute and 2 to Josh and Pete, but Jacob took the 11 from me and then added 11 more. Pete won, Josh got 2nd, Mike Githens (Big Red) got 3rd, Jacob 4th and me 6th. There was 22 seconds separating 7th from 4th! Thanks Art for loaning me your bike, last year on my normal bike I lost over 4 minutes to Pete, so it really saved my butt.
Going into the Crit I was 2nd over all, I tried to gain back the time in the sprints, but Jeff dickey beat me in the first sprint so he could move from 43rd to 42nd or something like that, then DC Velo got two guys up the road. Kelly didn't chase (smart), and those guys absorbed a majority of the time bonuses, leaving me sprinting for the 3rd place 1 second time bonus. Jose crashed out and broke his frame, and I was left with Brian, who like a hero gave everything he had to the end. Even though I felt like the whole field was against me, I still had fun and manged 5th place - even got a pretty decent size gap off the front of the field in the final sprint - but if the officials had counted it, combined with the time bonuses, it was not enough to win the overall which I lost by 7 seconds. Does anyone remember that punk band 7 seconds?
Joe Jefferson adds much too a race, and I have to admit, I am a Joe Jefferson fan. The races were well run, the tech manual was clear, and the courses were challenging. The only thing I would change is the huge amount of time between the TT and the Crit.
Next, 3 days of racing are the Working Man's Classic - which ironically I have to take time off work to do. Then Poolesville and Reston. Good stuff.