Note the definition in my quad. Impressed ? Just wait....
My four trips in October left me staggering into the November races tired and not real sharp. I continued to fight off the sinus infection and some days I was ahead and some days I was behind. I rode home from work Thursday and felt like I was watching the commute on TV, it felt unsettlingly surreal. Friday night I slept ten and a half hours. Saturday I added another nine plus. I always have felt I could sleep off cancer if needed, yet Sunday morning I knew I was on borrowed time.
The sky was grey and the course tacky. Not enough for file treads, but the Grifo/Fango combo was well suited for the course. I got my pressure dialed in and the course suited me. I allowed myself a flicker of hope. It was pretty darn cold so I dipped into the embrocation and sincerely believed the smell alone would give me superpowers.
I did my usual start near the back and then begin moving up. I was starting to look ahead to see whom I could pick off. This could be a good race for me. El Jefe was ahead and moving up and I was passing the same guys a couple minutes later so I was starting to think big.
With three to go I passed the finish line and went to power up a short climb and my head started to throb. I felt like I was riding good lines but the power wasn't there. I tried to push, but my body complained. It wasn't the screaming that I pride myself on ignoring; it was a quiet voice that kind of asked how stupid did I want to be?
I hung on until the board said "All DONE" and perfectly executed a pathetic sprint and bike throw at the line for 32nd place.
After the race it started to rain and I changed clothes.
Tyler Farrar is a Tour de France stage winner from Wenatchee Washington who rides for Garmin. He winters in Seattle and he came out and raced with the Cat 1/2 riders. In these races your starting position is determined by your standing in the series. Since Tyler hadn't raced any previous races he didn't get a call up. The riders graciously parted and offered him a front row spot.
Tyler's specialty is sprinting and so we all expected him to take the hole shot. By accident I was perfectly positioned to see his expression as the race started. His legs may have been saying "I can beat Mark Cavendish," but his face was saying, "This is crazy fast on grass!"
Halfway through the first lap he was hanging on the back of a group of six. His skinsuit looked flawless. No wrinkles, no flapping, no stretching, it looked perfect. As the race wore on the riders strung out. Tyler looked like he was both having fun and working harder than he had planned.
He finished tenth on the day and a couple of the 35 plus Cat 1/2 guys caught him. He was a class act and after the race I was heading to Hottie with some frites and Tyler was astride his bike talking with friends. I thanked him for coming out and offered him a frite and he thanked me and took a fry.
I finished 32nd of 44 but based on who was around me I did poorly.
A) Tyler being a good sport. B) LOOK AT THOSE FREAKIN' LEG MUSCLES !!