Any day that whole combination makes sense is a good day! Lucky and I got out Wednesday morning to shake off the Royal and see what we could see.
My calendar called for rest/relexation through the whole week and then to race the Memorial Day crit in Waconia. Basically, just commute all week, ride the mountain bike a couple hours and see how I felt Monday. Last year the Royal had left me weak for almost a full 3 weeks and I have respect for that recovery.
However, some things came up and I wound up being off the bike completely Thursday, Friday and Saturday so I got to thinking that I'd better get on the bike Sunday if I wanted to be able to race well Monday. One thing led to another and I was in the Lester Prairie road race. I wasn't sure which category I'd race in, but I decided to go.
First, though, I was off to Lanesboro on Saturday for an epic canoe journey. Shockingly, 18 of us got organized to make the trip and 9 boats hit the water right on schedule. After a couple of hours of lazy paddling and hijinx we started to notice dark clouds... then we started to notice all hell breaking loose from the sky. Chaos ensued. We beached on a skinny, 3' wide patch of sand and waited out the worst of it. Then we got out back out there despite the lingering rain. Laura was cold and we wound up more or less dropping the group and just hammering the next couple hours. Truth be told I really enjoyed the time we spent alone, working together to get out of there. At some point the rain stopped and it was pretty great.
Sunday dawned bright and early and the weather was calling for mid 90 degree temps! I decided to do the shorter, cat 3/4, race in order to stay out of the heat a bit. My goal was to win and to try to do so without working too hard. The weather was HOT but I managed it ok and kept thoughts of the Royal cramping out of my mind. Once again, as at Durand, there wasn't much organization in the race. Not enough teams, not enough people with clear plans etc.. At one point two of the guys I considered as real favorites in the race got up the road together by at least 250 yards and I was forced to give solo chase or consider the possibility of watching them ride away the rest of the day. Luckily I was able to make a clean break and close the gap in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, as soon as those in the main pack saw that move they upped the pace and made it all futile. The only other 'action' was when on the back side of the first lap I dropped off the lead purposefully in order to pull a friend up.
With about 2 miles to go we caught the break and people started jockeying for position etc.. The pace wasn't super high and so there were charges and thrusts of the group going off over and over again up each side. Nothing was going to stick and so it only made sense to sit back in 6-12 or so and wait it out. There was no one there organizing a 'proper' lead out and so the pace was slow and chaos was ruling. Suddenly, Devin O'brien was bumped and hit the deck very hard in front of me. I was traveling over 30 mph and had to lock both brakes and steer left as much as possible to avoid hitting him. I was able to keep it upright and straight enough to not take anyone else out for a bit, but I did eventually go down at 15 or 20 mph. My injuries are minor but make up for it in sheer number. Luckily, Devin is also "ok". Of course, any field can have a crash, but this definitely left me second guessing my decision to race 3/4. Al, who I was staying with in Waconia, wound up 8th in the race, despite getting off to a rough start and pulled himself into the money in the overall Omnium (he had a great TT the day before as well, taking 2nd).
After the race Al and I headed down to Maynard's on the lake and settled in for the long haul. Can't think of a better place to sit outside and recover. We had a great time watching all the people too. What a crowd! After we had finished our second round of food we looked back away from the lake and realized things were going to go nuts.
The wind picked up to 25 or 30 mph, menus and ketchup bottles started to fly, wait staff ran everywhere taking down umbrellas etc.. Quickly all 500? people who were eating, drinking or hanging out on the patio and dock ALL wanted to be inside (which was already packed and had a long wait just for a table). This time, ABSOLUTE CHAOS reigned. We watched boats coming in, boats coming out, wet people, drunk people, ridiculous people, insanity. I wish I had brought a camera.
At that point I hoped that 3x was enough x of chaos as I had plans to race twice today and didn't need more!
Todays 3/4 crit was reasonable. The goal was, of course, to win. We kept the group strung out and I stayed in the top 6 or 8 for the entire race. Then with 4 laps to go I felt an attack coming from someone who I was willing to work with and we both went hard. I thought it was going to stick... then CHAOS again. A car in the course. The pace motorcycle was stopped, hammering the horn, was the race neutralized? Should we stay on it? I let up and slipped into the main group and started playing for the sprint. My partner in the break and another rider were getting a gap. Nothing to do though, had to try to count on the group to close the gap at that point. They never did and that left me sprinting for 3rd, which i just missed after getting pushed a bit wide on the last turn and having to hit the brakes.
The 123 race was great. This time the goal was to train HARD. Took some getting used to the differences in pace and skill- I made the first few laps too hard because I was braking in the corners but then I realized that I could count on the guys around me to also not brake and things got a whole lot easier. The laps started ticking off and I had to work pretty hard to keep myself from slipping to the back of the group and staying there. Near the end of the race I felt good and was able to move back to where I wanted to be. Then things didn't quite materialize as I had expected and a whole line of riders came by on the left. All the sudden I felt TIRED and with just about 1.5 laps to go that was no time to realize I was tired. I tried my best but finished mid-pack. No chaos this time.
Looking forward to switching back to the mountain bike this weekend.