I was in St. Louis last weekend racing the Tour de Grove. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to road racing. Lesson number one, dont race at the back.
The race was 3 days, it was rainy all weekend, my results were very blah.
Today was actually dry. Flat rectangular course. 4/5 race. The race seemed easy, but still i sat at the back. i've always been a 'path of least resistance' type guy and in road bike races that equates to me riding at the back. For this race it was actually kind of fun (a big part of that is because very few folks were getting dropped.) Being the caboose of the peloton means you can take whatever line you want thru the turns, and to negate the yo yo effect that happens when your in the back and going thru a turn i would just drop off a little before the turn and then when everyone else was breaking and re-accelerating i would use my momentum to roll thru smoothly.
But then there was a crash with 3 to go and i had to stop. So i never saw the peloton again and finished towards the back.
Gravel Matt was with me, behind the crash, so we rolled in together. BK finished top 20 (i think) in the 2/3 race and even won a little money.
X raced the pro 1 / 2 race. Her first ever. She rocked it and finishing 25th of around 45. Take that Meredith Miller!
Extremely wet but not actually raining for my race. Big flat loop with lots of tight turns and road paint. It was in the gay bar district. 'Just John' looked like the happening spot although 'Rehab' was giving them a run. After yesterday i told myself to be more aggressive and ride towards the front. Well, as soon as we started i immediately wasn't feeling it. The road seemed slick and i had no desire to fight for position with 60 guys. So i drifted to the back. This course was infinitely more demanding that yesterdays so guys were getting dropped left and right. I kept leap frogging to catch back on, but pretty soon the people you leap frog to have already been dropped.
I took off solo, determined to catch on, then i fell in a corner. I was running 85 psi but i think that was too much plus my tires are nothing special. I picked myself up and grabbed my two bar plugs that had popped out. Then i realized i had only lost one bar plug which meant some other poor fool had likely bit it in the same spot but they forgot to get their plug. Sucker.
I made my way to the pit and rejoined the group when they came back around. 1 minute later i said 'f this' and pulled myself.
i paid $45 and raced for 15 minutes, now whose the sucker.
X got caught behind some crashes and much like me didn't' have it today. Gravel Matt had a good ride and hung with the much depleted pack in my race. BK finished in the money once again... 11th in the 2/3 race. He was looking good.
Time for redemption, right? wrong, there was to be no Hollowood ending to this soggy trip.
This course suited me the most, it had a hill. I was encouraged. Plus i got in my best warm up of the weekend, 45 minutes. Plus it was mostly dry and the turns were way easier than the day before. The first few laps were fine but once again i found myself at the back. Now I dont think this recurring problem is a fitness issue as much as a lazy issue. Remember, path of least resistance. But let's not analyze it. So i'm at the back and people are once again getting dropped, then comes the moment of truth when i can see the peleton about 25 yards ahead but i just cant catch back on. I accept my fate and do a reverse break-away to link up with some other dropped riders.
We rotate for the rest of the race and then dont even realize it when we finish. They stop us a lap short even though we were never lapped. I did hear them ring the bell, but i also saw '3' on the lap counter. I was confused. So none of us sprinted up the hill to the line. It's a shame, that would have been fun.
Gravel Matt appeared to check out before the race even began, i recall him saying 'i dont really want to do this' and BK played it safe and had a pack finish in the 2/3 race. X raced better than the day before, partially thanks to her friend who advised her to run 70 psi. Not 85. She had a hard time wrapping her head around such a low number and ended up running 75... afterward she said it was good. She raced hard and came away from the weekend motivated.
So that's that, now im ready for some sun shine!
Oh, did i mention that i had a pony tail for all 3 races, yeah baby.