It was Sunday around 11:00. After the race I'd gone home and ridden some around Rochester, seen some friends and tried to unwind. I'd not slept well, tossing and turning while envisioning going out and just punishing myself for 100+ miles. Every one of the 26 miles I'd ridden prior to taking that picture had been hard and directly into a brutal wind.
I wanted to see what I could do, to prove to myself that I'd deserved to be up front with such a large field in the 100. I had made all the selections that had taken place prior to flatting, stayed out of trouble, put myself in the positions I wanted to be in throughout the race. My new Tarmac and the Vittoria Pave tires had been the right choice. Moreover I had found a way to show with good legs and the right attitude. Sometimes you flat. Sometimes that is aided or abetted by breaking both of your wheels on a pothole while following the Eppen tandem downhill at over 40 mph. I heard the cracks as I hit the pothole and was immediately grateful for being on tubulars (almost certainly would have pinch flatted immediately on clinchers), secondarily grateful that my carbon repair on the frame was solid. I rode on for another 16 miles. The group split and split again. I looked around and felt a sense of pride in being there, I shouldn't have allowed myself this... certainly not so early in the race. A tire blew like a starting gun and I almost immediately felt the sinking feeling.
Now I was chasing something the next day out by myself, something I certainly wasn't finding. But when the, new to me, gravel road appeared to dead end but what was really there was the above... well I found the answers. I had a great rides both days last weekend. I love riding my bike, racing my bike, exploring.
More of what was beyond.
I'm sad that the spring gravel season is over. I was faster than ever before and don't necessarily have more to show for it, but it truly doesn't matter. I had a great time. In the big picture it's amazing what the Almanzo has become and was I'm excited about running the Dickie Scramble etc. too (yes that road will be on my route next year).
I wouldn't have changed much. I think I had the plan. I should have tested or somehow figured out that the valve stem on my vittoria tires wouldn't work on my spare such that I could have carried a different extension. I should have taken the time to reglue the tires onto newer rims. I broke older zipp 404s and I know that either of my sets of Reynolds 46s might have shrugged off the blow. Maybe I should have run 5-10 psi more to protect the rims, but I doubt it... it was such a fluke. I hope to be back next year to most of the same events, particularly the Almanzo with more fitness and more wisdom.
Today I transition primarily to mountain biking for a while but still with road mixed in. I think that's the best combination both because my true focus is CX, but also because it's good to mix it up and be able to find joy in riding regardless of what the weather does. I bet that from here to CX season I'll be 40% mountain, 40% road and 20% touring/rafting/camping. We have an awesome trip along those lines planned for this weekend. One that I thought I would need to recover, but which now I'm just excited for.