Not sure I've entirely been myself since that fall back on Memorial weekend. When the chips have really been down and I've been near the limit it's felt like pedaling squares. My hip was a sore and I think I had maybe lost some of the flexibility needed to really push things. It sure didn't help then to fall very hard pre-riding the Mankato MTB course, that I then did not race... then, again, to fall even harder at Eastwood last Wednesday. At Eastwood I caught a pedal on a downed tree that hadn't been cut back quite far enough and went over the bars at 18 mph or so (I'd been trying to do a full on TT lap). It was one of those falls where it takes you a while to even move because you need to sort of ask each part of your body if it is still there. In the end my right calf wasn't really there, it was in a huge knot. I've been on a steady diet of RICE ever since and the calf has responded pretty well... more importantly the rest of my 'issues' have really benefitted from the extra rest and I'm beginning to feel good.
I did make it to the Owatonna Death Race Saturday though... I figured I had to try to defend my title and couldn't do all that much damage riding 25 miles.
here's the link
Three people in the race had kicked my butt in the TT the previous weekend, but I already knew that I had sucked it up big time and didn't let that affect my strategy. I figured I had an advantage if it came down to a sprint and I'd sort of just see how it went, maybe use some of the sprint type efforts to help sort things out earlier. In the end it became pretty clear that it was down to just Al and I for the finish. At that point Al, Herbert and I were riding together and rotating and I was feeling 'ok', but not great. There had been an earlier hard effort where I had realized all was not perfect, but tried not to let it show. I decided that my best bet was to try to get Al to do a lot of extra work so that I could avoid doing any more work than necessary (I was scared I might find I just couldn't). I fell off the back briefly, took a drink, suffered... Al witnessed and attacked Herbert. I regained Herbert's wheel. We rotated keeping Al within a few hundred yards. With about 1 mile to go and a 250-300 yard deficit I decided it was time to go, made up about half of it very quickly, made up most of the rest on the rise leading into the finish, saw him standing and getting messy, passed with about 100 yards to finish. That was a tough mile! In retrospect I should have just sprinted him.
Tuesday night I raced in the State Fair Affair Crit in the 123 category. It had been a while since I raced 123 when it wasn't my 2nd race in the day... After a fairly early break, the pace was very very high and I felt like I was barely hanging on in the chase group, but also did find myself able to hold 5th-8th position or so in the chase. Made it through all 30? laps to the final one, was a bit out of position and just decided to 'go' and forget any drafting or positioning with about half a lap left as I was no where near 'in position' anyways, sprinted to the corner that was the crux and got inside/in front of the whole chase, took the final corner wide and kept at it. Two guys from the large chase group were able to get around me as I hit the wall and the headwind with 100 yards or so to the finish (Laszlo Alberti and Scott Flanders FWIW) but no one else. It would have been better to have been in a draft further and I would have crossed the finish with more velocity, but I think I made the most of the situation in front of me with the decision to go solo. I was 11th in the 'race'. Next week I'll be racing 3/4 up there and I'll be coming off an insanely busy (riding wise... I'll be racing the Chain Drive, riding copper harbor, CAMBA and Wolverine Saturday-Monday) weekend. I may be very lucky to finish 11th against that field and I would certainly be happy/proud to do so.
The falling crap has set me back relative to mountain biking, but I'll get out tomorrow and will bring my best effort in the chain drive. If the course is anything like the way I remember it, super fun and flowy, I think I'll have plenty of fun regardless. It's impossible not to have fun at Copper Harbor and Wolverine so I'm pretty sure it will be a good weekend.
List of Postcards - In the interest of letting folks know that I received their card (without the hassle of emailing each and every one of you... not that it is too much work....
2 days ago