in retrospect, doing a race withe the words "Grand Prix"in the title is really cool. In prepose it is more than a little daunting. So why you might ask, do I continue to do things on a bicycle that cause me so much fright, trepidation, anxiety, and unbridled fear? The answer is simple… it is for that moment, when the race starts and the fear fades to the background and is replaced by the most incredible focus that a man with adult onset ADD can muster. The fear is still there but I have little brainpower to process it because the focus is on the wheel in front of me, the next corner, and the race itself.
but… let me back up a little… one of the worries I had about this race was the fact that I would be riding it on a brand new bike
that's right kids… I would not be racing on my trusty, rusty, 2001 LeMond… but on a brand new Pinarello. Carbon Fiber, Ultegra, Asymetric frame, sweetness all around. But… new… and untested
|Pinarello FP Quattro|
Oh I'd ridden it home from the bike shop.. 8 miles… but… as proven by the fact that I asked the neutral support guys to adjust my saddle twice during my warm-up laps… it was not quite as dialed in as I would like.
there were over 50 lined up for the 4/5 crit… and the course layout while being kinda cool was challenging. But not in the way that I thought.
the gun goes off… and so do we. I was seeded about halfway back, on the outside of turn one. Somewhat as expected the field came apart in the figure 8 (basically 4 turns in 200 meters). Also unsurprisingly I cornered gingerly on my unfamiliar bike. Bridging up to the back of the main group through dropped riders wasn't easy but attainable. The extremely tight corner at the end of the back straight proved to be fun and fast when I had feared before the race that it would be where a crash was apt to occur. I thought the finishing straight would be the place to make a move and I was not wrong about that… and managed to move up.
the second lap was (as best I can remember) a carbon copy of the first but the third lap was my undoing. On the downhill corner of the figure 8 while sitting in the back third of the bunch a guy passed me on the outside… a good pass… he even told me that he was there.. but it spooked me a little, i took a really bad line, lost a ton of speed and was overgeard for the uphill corner. off the back again. I managed to catch back on by the finish straight but found myself not on the back of the group but in a group of other shelled riders. I pushed through them… and could see the back of the pack 20 meters ahead of me… but I couldn't bridge again.
I stayed in the race… dove through every corner… stayed redlined… for another 15-20 minutes but then I was lapped and pulled.
so… not a storybook maiden voyage for my new bike. There were, however some positives and lessons learned.
1. Once again I had a blast
2. I overcame my fear
3. sitting on the back is no way to race a bike
4. I would do well to remember one on my mantras "it's hard to get dropped when you are on the front
5. Racing in downtown Wilmington, DE was cool
6. Racing the exact same course that the pros raced on later in the day was also pretty cool
We did the Gran Fondo on Sunday… lots of hills but absolutely beautiful countryside
I really hadn't felt too well since I had a pretty intense asthma attack after the race on Saturday…
Yep… but I've got some antibiotics so I should be back at it soon.