My training period for my new lab job is almost over. Which means that I'll be going back to an evening shift very soon. Due to the "shortened" BALLS ride and only riding the mountain bike relatively easily yesterday I was feeling much more rested than anticipated. Decided that I should make it to Opus while I could do so without burning time off even if it didn't really necessarily make sense from a "season" standpoint (the closest thing I have to an "a" priority crit is the middle of July and I've got a lot of other stuff between now and then). Got excited about going, then realized I would be in a 1/2/3 race and got nervous about going.
In order to help calm those nerves I set some lofty goals for myself...
1. ride aggressively as possible (and thus avoid getting dropped)
2. if at all possible hang in there with the leaders and finish in the top 5 on one of the primes
3. ride safely and in control
Almost got lost while warming up, felt lucky to make the starting line in time after negotiating the one-way road maze. Wasn't as nervous as expected. Pace wasn't quite as high as I had expected early on (I spent the entire race with an unreasonable fear that all the sudden the entire field was going to take off at 5 mph faster than I could ride). Despite that fear I was able to stay in 5th-10th with reasonable effort for the first few laps. At some point Brandon K. took off up the hill and I thought to myself, "shit, I just rode with him for 6 hrs a couple weeks ago... why not go join him". Wound up in a 4 man break where I was clearly the weakest link. Bell ringing, group closing fast and I was dangling a bit... let myself get swallowed up. Crap, that might have been my chance for a top 5! Hell, that might have been my whole race if I get spit out the back. Things normalized. Another prime, feeling good... holy crap there are soooo many fast guys. Had to grab a wheel. Stayed near the front, starting feeling normal enough, not in awe. Last prime, treat it like it's the end of the race. Seriously, dude... this is your race, see what you can do. 5th. Happy. Last two laps were a blur. Fell way back and never really got my lungs back, didn't care.
Results - Thanks to all who came out to make the 2017 Dirt Bag another good day for the gravel community. The previous days rain made the course a little soft and put...
3 days ago