This concludes my last crash block of training before USA CRITS Speed Week. I did the double dirty Thursday with my TT rig during the noon goon and my Blue for the rock creek goon ride in the evening, a 90 mile ride Friday out past Sugarloaf Mountain, the Roanoke Twi(night) Criterium Saturday, and a final effort yesterday at the most well organized but most boring race of my life at Carl Dolan. It's time for a weekend off before the 9 day, 7 race, twilight crit racing extravaganza down South.
I'm not a crit racer, but I am a crit racer. I suppose it's the same thing as not considering myself a true climber, but people thinking I am. Hopefully I have that odd personality that likes the solo challenge against a stopwatch, so that we can all agree that I am a TT specialist. But let's not jump ahead of ourselves... I've never had a successful Time Trial due to mechanicals/fit/excuses/equipment/more excuses.
THURSDAY I lived how I expect most pros would. From beginning to end, my whole focus on the day was cycling. I started off the day picking up a rear wheel that had exploded from Cyclelife, which I assumed was due to the collision from the taxi cab I took a couple weeks before. I had some coffee and had some words with Esmond and Frick and watched recorded footage from Paris-Roubaix, the 08' Tom Boonen edition.
From Cyclelife I left for Hains Point for the infamous Noon Goon. It was a massacre of buses when I got there, but it had cleared up for the most part and a group of about twenty riders formed. This was the first time in my new position on my TT bike, and it felt good. I felt fast. And Nima felt pain.
A protein shake later I was at my beloved shop, The Bike Rack. The mechanics and service guys there are about as down to earth as they get and I always enjoy just stopping in to hang out for no reason. Nick Kwasigrouch - the master service specialist at , p90x pioneer, and pista palping randonneur, got lunch at Whole Foods and caught up over some dehydrated kale and pizza. Nick's responsible for the design of the upcoming shop jersey that holds a Vintage and Leopold Trek-esque style that will surely be a hit. I might have to get one for cyclocross. If you need a graphic designer for anything, I'll put you in touch, he's good.
Now back at the Buzas Bungalow (home) a couple hours before the evening ride I set up camp on the porch furniture with a book, beverage, and bike relaxing until the second goon of the day. My legs were wide open and I kept the throttle that way the entire ride. The first of tests following Battenkill showed me that the fitness was really coming along. I cooked myself some pasta and went to bed early. If that's what living like a pro is like, I could live with that.
FRIDAY was an absolutely beautiful day. I had originally intended to go out for 3 easy hours, but realized immediately that this might be my last chance to get a really long hard day on the bike in good conditions. I made sure to grab an extra blueberry scone at Starbucks to account for the caloric deficiency that was pending the 90 mile ride and set off. I finished the ride 8 pounds lighter than I started. That's not that odd though, and I made up for it that evening.
Dinner 1 - 4pm: Pasta and Peas at home while watching Equilibrium.
Dinner 2 - 7pm: Halibut, Risotto, and Beer at Bar Pillar. I missed out on the Mussels but had a good time catching up with two of my old teammates and engaged-cyclists-to-be, Kevin Cross and Dennis Bodewits. I hope I didn't infringe on some last-hour bachelor bonding.
Dinner 3 - 9pm: Pizza and Pasta with Buzas at Pines of Rome in Bethesda, MD.
SATURDAY was reserved for the Roanoke Twilight Criterium in Roanoke, VA. I was very excited as this was the first speed test of the year having a number of pro riders show up to make for a strong field and aggressive racing.
Fast forwarding through the inclement weather that is becoming a pattern when I travel with Russ to races... The seven riders, Keck, Mason, Brown, Russ, Switters, Jared, and myself were ready to roll on the dry 6 corner course at 9:00PM. The only substantial light on the course was through the start finish line. The rest of the course had lights scattered making depth perception harder with the skewed shadows and road inconsistencies invisible. I was frustrated that someone actually thought parking a car with it's high beams on pointing directly at the field before a 90 degree turn was a good idea.
We missed the first move. It was up to Mason and I to bring the field back together. I drilled it on the front alone for the latter part of the chase for 10 laps with Team Mountain Khakis giving me that oh so familiar glare we like to give at local races, meaning, "you aren't getting any help." Within 50 meters of the breakaway I was finally given a break when Russ and Jared jumped across. I immediately went into panic-recovery mode and luckily Russ and Jared were able to form a group with five other riders that lapped the field about 25 laps later.
At this time I was back at the front marking Clayton Barrows/Stans No Tubes who had already lapped the field and was trying to escape again. After a few unsuccessful attempts Switters made it to the front with Russ in tow and the call was made to control the race. Brown, Switters, and I set a mean tempo for the biggest portion of the race making the team look very good and strong with Russ sitting in the passenger seat.
We lost the stranglehold, or I guess more of a firm grip, with about 20 laps to go as the barrage of attacks were unleashed by guys caught out from the breakaway and guys going for gold who were already a lap-up from the earlier 7-man move. It was just Russ, Keck, Jared, and myself left - and as much as we tried to control and keep the tempo high, the winning move did get away by Ziwacki from Team Mountain Khakis.
I tried to get Jared on my wheel for the field sprint but his race had ended many laps prior and was left to hope for the best for Russ who was outkicked at the line by another Mountain Khakis rider and Clayton Barrows. The results show Russ 4th, Jared 7th, Rugg 12th, Keck 13th. However, they don't show how well we rode as a team and how much promise we have for the bigger races to come. That was fun.
SUNDAY was the Carl Dolan race. Too short to be considered a road race and laps too long to be considered a criterium. This was simply a 40-mile group ride. I'll spare you all the details and sum up the race with what was discovered on the course...
Biggest snapper turtle I've ever seen! I was as disappointed with the race as I was that someone was careless enough driving to actually hit this turtle. The symbolism is beautiful though, so he/she had a special place in my heart that day.
Eli saved the day with an invite to Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar. We drank, we ate, and we were merry.