Category racing tonight in hot and sticky Salisbury, NC. The course was L shaped, fast, technical and a bit suspect, both in the neighborhood it went through and the roads and turns. I am sure The Judge did his best at making sure it was patched and prepared well, but it was still with challenge. As a matter of fact, one of my teammates went down, JPatterson "The Kid" and although all I saw was road rash and a cracked frame, I certainly hope he will be fine and be able to race again this weekend.
In any event, I wanted some Cat 3 points so I can eventually move up since I seem to be getting quite a bit of crap from the friends, but after tonights performance it may just quiet them for a while. A race that I really wanted to be super competitive in and quite possibly win to claim another State Crit Championship (won as a 4 in Fayetteville a few years ago). It was all but that tonight. The race started and I sat on the front from the gun just to make sure I got through the turns okay in the always nervous beginning of a race. It worked and then I let others take their turn on the front.
It started out extremely mild paced, but I am sure mid to back was challenging from having to go single file through turns 2, 3 and 4 (all night long). There were a few minor jumps, not even sure I would call them attacks, but probably more for positioning. I found it interesting that with at least two visible teams (Clif Bar and Bennissimo) there was very little to no teamwork. Santana threw some attacks, but no one countered or let it go more than a few seconds. At some point it was a given that this was going to be a sprint finish, so just sit in and wait your chances.
This is typically a good thing for me, but tonight, like Tuesday night at Orr Road, I just wasn't feeling it. I thought with the mild pace and disposition for a sprint that my legs would come around about 30 minutes or so, but they didn't and I just didn't even have enough to put myself into a position to challenge. I was sitting 12th wheel or so coming out of corner 4 and not much in the way of order was changed from that point forward based on the narrow and technical turns. I gave it a go, but all I could muster this night was 10th and that was a challenge in itself. My dreams of a championship were dashed as quickly as the race ended.
Something has to give at some point in either my snap and fitness start coming around again OR I need to take some time off the bike and re-focus on the next wave of training. It is always dangerous to be a self coached athlete that knows their body well. They ignore so many signs and tell themselves it is something other than what it really is.
In the Pro/1/2/3 race, which I had pondered lining up for, but wanted upgrade points instead, it was ON! From the gun, single file for about 1/4 of the course. OUCH! If you were mid pack to back, good luck hanging on that train. Started with 80 guys and dwindled to 40 or so. Our team was well represented and was in every move or attempting most moves, but at the end of the day the race was controlled by Global Bike. There were certainly strong guys, but not so much strong teams, so everyone appeared playing off of Global Bike's moves. Charlotteans Ben and Alder raced their tails off to set up their man, DForkner for the sprint and of course he delivered since he was fresh and delivered to the line.
The Judge and The Don were extremely active as RJenkins did his own patrolling of the front, but in the end, no breaks, no concerted effort from other guys and a great photo finish. The Judge, and local Salisbury hero, claimed 2nd place and The Don snuck in for 5th. Tough race and good team effort!