Friday, September 11, 2009
Colonel Francis Beatty Park was my battlefield last night. Since I’m in a fight to reclaim my spot in the top ten overall standings, I went into last night’s race ready for battle. It seemed as if the odds were stacked against me though. I’m still a little sick, and I had another busy day at work, which further wore me out. I headed down to the race venue, registered, and got in a warm up lap. Then, something happened. All of a sudden I felt energized and focused, and I couldn’t explain why. I didn’t engage in all of the pre race chatter as much as I normally do, even though Doug and Patrick were on the scene. All I could think about was getting ahead of Doug so I could accumulate enough points to leapfrog him in the standings. I put my head down and focused on the task at hand.
We lined up at the start line, and I noticed there were quite a few racers in my category. I figured that would benefit me, since the points are awarded based on placing and number of participants. When the race started, I was smack dab in the middle of the pack, and I pushed hard down the road to get a good position on the trail. I threw caution to the wind this time, figuring that I’m big enough to muscle these guys out of my way if I need to. Yeah, that goes against my usual cautious strategy, but I’m fighting for a good finish, remember? It paid off, as I went into the trail in 10th place, ahead of Doug and Patrick. I kept pushing and stayed with the pack for the first two miles, with everyone else still in hot pursuit.
The fast pace continued into the first black diamond section, and that’s when the leaders started separating from the pack. There were a few riders in other categories that were holding up the rest of us. When I passed them, I went wide open again. That section is rooty with quite a bit of climbs and tricky switchbacks, along with trees so close together my handlebars barely fit through them. I hammered through it all, and as I went around each corner, I could see the rest of the pack falling off. That motivated me to push harder. I caught up with two guys from the lead group and passed them without looking back. Now folks, we have a race.
I would pedal with all my might until I started to get a little winded, then I would back off a little at a time. This worked well, as I didn’t have any issues catching my breath like I usually do. I approached the home stretch with about two miles to go, and I got even faster. I passed another guy in my group, but he stuck to my wheel for the rest of the race. Other than him, I didn’t see anyone else from my group right behind me. This guy on my wheel though, he could be trouble. I didn’t block him from passing, but I sped up at every opportunity so he would have to work hard to pass me. With about a quarter mile to go, I knew I had him. I crossed the finish line in 7th place, a hard-fought victory for sure.
The official overall standings aren’t out as I write this (I’m sure they will be shortly), but I’m pretty sure that last night’s race vaulted me back into top ten status. I trailed 10th place by only a few points, and I beat the 7-10th place guys by a pretty good margin yesterday. The season finale will surely be interesting.
“Yes it will be interesting, but don’t call me Shirley.”
Tomorrow morning Lunchbox and I are headed out to the fine city of Kannapolis, NC so I can participate in the Tour de Tots. The Tour de Tots is a charity ride for the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital and consists of a Metric Century (62mile) and Half-Metric Century (31 mile) course through some beautiful country scenery. Since I’m new to the roadie stuff, I’m doing the 31 mile route. This should be fun. My only concern is how I might feel at the Charlotte Mountain Bike Series Finale at Fisher Farm on Sunday after riding that far the day before. It’s time to see what I’m made of. What would Lance do?
“This is way more fun than riding on the road. Suck it, Frenchie!”