Sunday, May 23rd
BikeJam Crit Cat 4
___For the last 3 years BikeJam has been the single most important athletic event on my calendar. More important than the fact it is our team's home race is the fact that is also the only race every year that my friends come out en masse to watch.
It's a tactically tough race, almost every field is decided by positioning coming into the final corner. Over the last 3 years I've slowly gotten the hang of it.
In 2008 I crashed going through the chicane and though I got back on the bike with only a few scratches I was pretty badly shaken. I eventually got dropped and pulled. I was not a happy camper. I was actually a pretty bitchy camper.
In 2009 I was in better shape and racing differently. I was learning how to stay in the pack a little better and corner a little tighter. While I was one of the less than 50% of the field to finish this race I got mobbed in the sprint and finished almost last. I was slightly less bitchy camper this time.
In 2010 I returned again as a different racer. Having hit my stride both physically and tactically I already had 2 wins under my belt that year and was looking for nothing less than a 3rd W. I spent about 18 of the 20 laps in the first 10 wheels. Doing my best to be a major factor in the race I was taking pulls, keeping the pace high and hitting the corners fast.
On the 2nd prime a guy I know from another team jumped too early to try and take it. He towed me to the line and jumped around to snatch it up right in front of my friends. Definately a top 5 cycling memory for me.
With 6 laps to go one of my teammates jumped off the front. Another teammate yelled at me to follow but I knew better. My sprint was solid but I was just going to slow him down if I got in a break. We put 3 guys on the front and managed to hold back the field and give him the W in front of a home crowd by about 10s.
With about 2 laps to go it was clear out rider was going to get away so I started to position myself for the sprint. Something happened on the last lap though; I just didn't respond. I saw the moves I needed to be in and I just didn't respond. Somehow I just wasn't there.
Going into the last chicane I braced for the inevitable cat4 crash and sure enough someone takes the corner wide and fast. Breaking and crashing ensues around me but fortunately I was OK. Come out of the last corner a ways back but still in the pack. I pulled whatever sprint I could out and came through in 23rd out of 80 starters and 42 finishers.
I rolled through for a lap and then came back to my friends.
I was not a happy camper.
I slowly rolled past them, shook my head and said something along the lines of "I don't know why I bother with this shit"
I glumly rolled about 20m away and realized I was being a little bitch. I turned around and went back my friends and told them how awesome it was to have them there and thanked them for their support. I explained I was just upset that I had 19 perfect laps and then blew it in the last mile. They understood. They're great friends.
It took a few days for me to calm down about it but at least I kept things under control when it mattered.
Looking back on it while I raced better than I ever have at the race I think I am most happy that I was able to get over myself, deal with my disappointment and focus on what was important; in this case telling my friends how much I appreciated their support.