Sunday, March 30, 2008

Witty Comments about Adventures from the Previous Days

Let's see..... Since last we left Adam, it was Easter Weekend, or Zombie day depending on your beliefs (Resurrection= Miracle or Zombie?) no races and a long time to prepare for the upcoming race. Now let's tune in....... oh yeah, this is going to be a long post and I'm not splitting it up.

Tuesday Night Worlds. 45 minutes plus 3 laps.
No numbers, no prize list. Pride and bragging rights only. I rode the 35 miles from Lawrence to KC to do the race. In the end, it was myself and Shadd riding off the front, being the anti-social folks that we are. We finished 1, 2 and Shadd was obligated to let me win. Seriously, if he wins all of them, like he normally does, the Feds are going to sue for violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890.

Hillsboro Roubaix. Hillsboro, Il. 90 miles.

This is probably one of my favorite races I enter all year. The course is a 22 mile loop on some state highways, rural roads, a bit of brick and some roads that are, "paved." The 120 man field limit was solidly oversold so it was a big race. Again, another race without any sort of team meeting. Some guys may think that's a bit strange. But not for us. It's more common that we don't have a meeting, which we should change for the new guys on the squad, just so they know what we expect from them.

On our side, we brought: Steve, Bill, Adam, Nick, Joe. Nick is getting more and more aggressive and continues to improve with every race, especially big races. Joe is a junior who is a new acquisition. It seems like the best guys in the area (6 hour drive radius) show and it's really the first big race in the Midwest.

So, Bill gets into a three man move after about 12 miles and we don't really see him for a long while. Meanwhile, the rest of us keep riding slower, and slower, and s l o w e r. . . .

But then about at mile 75, like a cannon, BOOM! Fireworks. Woo Hoo! Time to race. When the dust settled: Bill was still up the road, Steve and I were in a small move with 6 other guys, one of which was Brian Jensen. Brian started the move, established it, and drove it so hard that some of the guys either couldn't or were unwilling to keep the move rolling. With Steve and myself there, I was obligated to take pulls and let Steve stay rested for the throw down at the end.

Once we were clear of the field, I decided that there were too many guys catching a ride. I understand that they have reasons for not pulling, but that places me at a disadvantage.... Time to turn the tables and forces some decisions. I did what any other bike racer would do when you have an ace like Steve Tilford on your team and in great position. Attack of course. The attacks weren't meant so much for me to ride solo, but to enable a split in the group and get a group of guys willing to work together. Well, it ended up being Brian, Steve, Myself and Josh Carter.

We caught up with Bill's group with about 6 miles left. Then on the two tiered hill leading into town, things got ugly. Brian jumped with Josh and Steve (who had the luxury of sitting on and was very fresh) right there. Josh got dropped on the first hill; and at the top of the second tier, Bill and I were next two over. Steve was able to hand Brian a second place for the third time in this epic race while Bill and I rolled in for 3rd and 4th place. I scored a 3rd place, which may be one of my best results ever. It also landed me my first ever bike racing trophy. Some guys have a whole bookcase of these, but this is my one and only:

Competition is very interesting and does different things to different people. In a utopian's world, friends especially would be like Sam Sheepdog and Wile E. Coyote when competition comes into the fold. You know, friends until the whistle blows, adversaries during work hours, and friends again after the final whistle. However, sometimes things happen and feelings get hurt. I'm not saying they did here by any means. From a personal standpoint Brian is a good friend of mine and a former teammate. Now, he's in my group and wearing the "wrong" jersey. I know he's wanted to win the HR race for a long time and he's probably one of the single most talented riders I've ever had the privilege of riding with. I can personally recall a few races where Brian has utterly shattered a peloton consisting of some of the best riders around. His abilities deserve the utmost respect.

However, this was a different year, a different day and a different situation. Brian is no longer on my team and I'm obligated to ride for the team first. This put me in the uncomfortable position of having to race against a friend. It wasn't my favorite thing, but I did it. I tell myself that I'm not racing against Brian, but racing to win and make sure that myself or a team mate is the first across the finish line, regardless of who is there. Does that make sense?

Perhaps that's why this third place is so rewarding. It may have been the best place I could have gotten that day. I'm not sure I was ever able to beat a Jensen, and Steve was the only one who could have matched and countered Brian's attack on the final hill. Either way, 1,3,4 is an excellent result. If Brian was still on the team, it would have been 1,2,3,4. Wow.

Quote of the trip: "Oh fuck..." -name held anonymous to protect the guilty, but you know who you are...

You know, in hindsight this was actually a very good week for me..... Let's recap:
Tuesday Worlds, 1st. Hillsboro Roubaix, 1,3,4. KU vs. Villanova= W. KU vs. Davidson= W. FINAL FOUR!!
If anyone wonders what happens in a college town when your school gets into The Dance, I present Downtown Lawrence, KS; March 30 at roughly 745pm.

And yes, this IS a 1980's KU Blazer. Bundy, be jealous.....