Sunday, October 28, 2007
Now That's Entertainment!
Canton happened today, and it was to be my last Cat 4 race before the big upgrade to 3. I had 25 pts., with 23 of them coming this season. So, time to make a move. I was hoping to go out in style.
This whole week I've felt like absolute dog crap. Not sick, but just lethargic with no pop in the legs. Last night, I decided to make the bold move and buy a six of Guinness. I have had Guinness at the top of the Guinness factory with a shamrock in the foam, in small pubs in Galway, in large pubs in Dublin, in Irish pubs in the Boston, and nothing compares to Guinness poured properly. I normally wouldn't commit such sacrilege, but desperate times call for desperate measures. After downing two, I went to bed and hoped for the best.
Got to the course early (as usually), hit the head, and off to the course. First race in the skinsuit, so I was sure I would be jinxed and wreck. Plenty of leaves to make the pavement interesting, loose stuff, tight turns, and long laps. I discovered it is a good idea to pre-ride the course when it is getting crowded. Helps to get a sense of what is going to happen during the race, such as where to pass, what lines you can take when you have to, and how best to avoid trouble.
I was first to the line before the race to reserve a front position. 100 guys in the Cat 4 race. Unbelievable. The road was wide enough to have 18 in a row. More fun. We had a flotilla of MRC guys on the right side.
I had another flying start. Absolutely beautiful. Struggled to clip in while people were flying by me. Once I got clipped, I went all out trying to save some spots. Thankfully, a bad start at Canton isn't the end of the world because you are basically diving from wide pavement to a wide dirt road. So, I was able to make it up and pass people.
Into the first stretch, I decided I would bunny-hop a deep groove in the course. I did it in practice no problem, and figured it would be a better line that trying to cram on the right side. I almost paid dearly for my hubris. After nearly going over my handle bars and wiping out in spectacular style, Mike Lowry commented on the beauty of my near impact. No time for complements; time to move on.
As we reached the pavement for the first time, I was about 7th wheel. As I made the turn, I heard behind my someone scrapping metal on the pavement. Assuming this was not intention, I gunned it, thinking that we would now have a gap.
Was able to start passing people through attrition and a few sharp efforts. Guy in front of me was taking really good lines, so I tried to follow. My desire was only limited by my skill level, which still is low. I would catch back up on the power section, and he would gap me anytime we turned. Until, of course, he bunny-hopped the low barriers. What an a-hole.
Ended up racing with the same pack of 5 guys for the entire race. What a blast. Trading leads, trying to attack, going too hard in corners and ending up in the weeds (again). Digging back. Mr. Rabbit was off the front, and I was with a group of three going into the last set of barriers. Guy in front thinks they lowered the barriers from 40cm to 37cm and takes a face plant. This leaves me and another guy up the finish hill. I figure he is all mine. I shift for the sprint, shift too much, legs say F-you, and I finish third by half a wheel. Bummer, but given the fun I had, I couldn't complain. I only wish they would have thrown one more lap, as we raced 37 minutes.
Great race and a great day.