August 27, 2012
A Marked Man
However flattering, being a marked man reallyreallyreallyreallyreally sucks. I stand up just by habit or to stretch my legs and behind me all I hear is people yelling or the sound of a deraileur sliding down cogs as they get into a bigger gear. Saturday's race was my first in two weeks and I had taken a little dip in training so I didn't have as much gas as my previous winning weekend but I felt confident in my chances. A smaller field of around 40 riders and I had one teammate with me, Thomas, who you may remember from some older posts, was that guy. Dead flat, but lots of corners and strong wind. We were aggressive early and soon both Thomas and I were up the road in a powerful break. A couple guys sat on so I practised an old trick I learned from the legendary Sean Scott and went just ahead of them and then sat up allowing my teammate to ride away in a group of 3 as I brought 3 riders back with me. Of course they had to do the work to jump across and this taught all alas but one (say dramatically with a hint of hamartia) to start co operating in the pulls. He looked like dog crap, so I decided he would probably drop any ways. With 30km to go Thomas and I began the obvious and classic 1/2 punch, taking turns attacking while the other sat on. He went up the road with a guy who was really excited by the fact he was a MTBer. Then the "really tired guy" bridged. I waited. waited. waited. jumped. We were happily 4 riders with two of us on the same team, I was certain we would win I just didn't know how. We let our gap get up and started to 1/2 the other guys and soon it was only "really tired guy" left with us. Thomas and I did our best but he had a great sprint and Thomas had done a lot by now and wasn't quick enough to surprise him. Constantly for the last 20km we tried but having sat on the first 60km he still had a chamber full of shells. He beat us in the sprint. I don't know how someone could enjoy winning like that. Sure the end result looks nice, but if people knew how it came to be they would walk away in disgust. That is not bike racing. So Sunday! It was pouring rain all day and another flat course with a big field. The problem was however that I was being marked, on a ridiculous scale that I could not believe. They even knew my name! I felt like after the race they'd be all looking in my bedroom window or call me on the phone with nothing for me to hear except panting... crazy. I got in a few moves, but they weren't fast enough early, so I pulled for a while and our gap got up but after a short while I encouraged them to pull but the peleton had a lot of riders willing to chase. My best shot was a late attack. I launched with 2km to go but I was already really tired and with 300m to go I was passed and my race was over, I pedalled squares to the finish at the back of the pack. Not a nice weekend results wise and my Kermis % took a big hit but that's racing. I am going to have to get used to not winning 2 races a week next year when I am U23.