Monday, March 10, 2008

Perry Series, Round II and some ramblings

First: Lung burn and the inevitable coughing with a cracked rib= bad news bears. But SNEEZING! Probably one of the most painful things ever. On to the update!

I absolutely love racing bikes! AND racing season is the BEST. My seasons go something like: Winter, cold races (spring), warm races (late spring), hot races (summer), fast races (fall) and Cyclocross (early winter). It seems that even when it's cold in the morning, you bounce out of bed on Sunday because it's RACE DAY! Finally, all that "training" can pay off. I've been in Texas so I'm "Texas Fit" which is really just more fit than I was before I left. I was hoping I was fit... only to be informed that when you are, "fit" and on, "good form," you don't complain that a race is too fast when it starts at 23mph. Hmmm.....

Okay, so the plan was to get our new kid, Joe Schmalz in the early move. I didn't think that would be on the first downhill, but about 3 pedal strokes into the day Joe and Kris Tilford were gone. Phase I complete. Now, we just had to figure the rest of it out.

All of us on the HRRC/ Trek Stores team have raced together for years. It's almost as if we're brothers now and there's definitely a feeling of getting the band back together when we all show up for the first reunion of the season. That being the case, often times we don't really have much of team meetings at most races. I think that's because we've all done this so many times that it's just another race. There's a certain mellowing feeling to that. There's no guesswork. "Am I good today?" "Is so and so ready to race?" "Will he know how to lead out a sprint or a prime?" "What are the team objectives?" None of this needs to be discussed much anymore. The guys are all willing to do what it takes, we all know what each other is capable of and we will turn ourselves inside out for each other. That's cycling at it's most pure. That's fun. The common theme is this: put as many guys in a position to win as possible. Once that happens, you can end up with this at the front end of the race:

Geez, I wonder what team is going to win here. Anyone?

Now some observations and assumptions. In talking to a few people, I came to this conclusion: Not everyone gets to race bikes twice a weekend= fine. Some people could race bikes twice this last weekend but chose not to because they were worried about a poor showing because the course is, "not for me"= not cool.

Cycling is a game of chess. The chess masters can adapt to scenarios and situations very well. The same goes for cycling. I'll start by prefacing this with the fact that I have been dropped on that hill more than 50% of the times I've raced on it when you count all the races I've done there in my life. That's a lot of getting dropped.

Not all of us are phenomenal bike riders who are virtually incapable of being dropped in a local event. Hell, many of us are just plain mediocre when it comes riding our bikes. The key to getting to that next level is to improve the things you're horrible at. Become a better bike rider vs. a stronger rider.

A good bike racer will even be able to eliminate the hill as an obstacle to victory. Case in point: Last Sunday the two winning moves went away on a downhill. Kris and Joe got away while virtually coasting downhill. Excellent move! Then a lap later, Shadd and Bill escaped with Adam Lang and Andy Choca during the downhill on the backside of the damn. Then I got away a minute later on another downhill to ride up to Mark Smelser. So there you have it, 1-6 place all got up the road without even needing the "big Dam Hill" for help. To all you readers: Do the races that are local. Try new tactics, new ideas. They might work. If not, at least you'll know for next time.