Saturday, January 5, 2008

Everything's Bigger In Texas (20070620)

Okay, so I'll admit that I went to the AT&T Crit in Austin expecting to
find smaller fields (it's Texas, not Northern California Bike Mecca,
right?) and less talent. Basically, I was expecting to go over there and
beat up on some people.

Imagine my disappointment when reality sets in and I realize that
despite the fields being smaller and a little shallower, I hadn't
actually worked out the math. If the fields in NorCal are around 75-100
with 15 or so that could make you hurt, a 40-50 person field is still
going to have around 5-10 that can make you hurt, right? Right.

So I did the Cat 4 race first, in 90 degree heat with 100% humidity (no
exaggeration, it rained a bit on us before and during the race and
evaporated into a nice wet haze) so I wasn't cooling at all. I swear I
went on a breakaway with every single one of the other 5 or so riders
that were a threat, but never more than one at a time. The others just
towed the pack up. Very frustrating! Was gassed enough on the last lap
to not maintain position properly and got 5th in the sprint. No
breakaway glory, no sprint victory. $25 though. Entry fee repaid.

I warmed down for 15 minutes, drank and ate, then warmed up again for 20
minutes and hopped in the Cat 4/5 race thinking my fortunes would be
better here. Lo and behold there was a story typical of our own Cat 5
fields. There was a guy in here (nice, by the way, we chatted
afterwards) who didn't have his 10 races to get to cat 4 yet, but out of
the 7 or so he'd done, he'd only gotten second once. First the rest of
the times. I tried to get in a break with him but the only time I did he
didn't work hard (why bother, he can sprint...) and we were absorbed. I
fought for position better and was rested for the sprint, I unleashed it
and actually felt right at home in the 12 after I shifted into it only
to have someone completely pinch me in to the curb. I actually had to
use the brakes with 100m to go, but after a brief discussion with the
rider (civil, I promise, and if you know me you know it actually was) I
got around him and pipped two more people for 3rd. Still no breakaway,
very little sprint glory, but $35 this time.

Oh well, didn't strike gold in Texas, but had a great time. Should
mention that my sister, who hasn't raced since her college days more
than a decade ago agreed to do the race with me, rented a bike, shared a
trainer with me that we bought for this race, borrowed a Team Oakland
jersey and scored 5th in the women's cat 3/4 field. Go Team Hardy!

That's it for the first race back since Copperopolis.

I've got a new bike now, with most of the parts worked out. I've got a
new position that I've been working on. I've been training a lot, and
the fall campaign is about to start in earnest. A couple more tune-up
races then it's onwards and upwards to the Fall as a Cat 3. Next up is
Burlingame as a 4 though. We'll see how it goes...

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