Here's the 'more later' part:
Imagine Murat wringing his hands, looking out the window at the falling rain.. as wife and child sleep peacefully nearby. The struggle to avoid going back to bed was fought quite fiercely for a few minutes.. even while I slept- the snooze bar was struck twice to avoid this inevitable clash of character versus "weenie-ocrity". In the end, I resolved to do what winners do: "everything which losers are unwilling to do". HA.. ha.. Cut it pretty close too, because by the time I reached the parking lot and stood in the registration area, again wringing my hands, someone announced that I had five minutes to make up my mind- it was 35 minutes until the start. "Rain".. "Cold".. "Crashes".. "Forty dollars".. "You hate road races".. "Why are you here?".. are swirling through my mind as the rain pours, now harder than ever. Then.. who rolls into the pavillion? None other than team mates Ralf and Kyle- who have ridden from home in this mess. Well, that cinches it for me right there..
A half hour later I'm staging with the other victims of this unfortunate weather.. No warm-up, no stretching, and the race is ON right from the start. Immediately two are separated and up the road. Within a couple of miles, I move up and try to stay near the front. Next thing you know I'm rolling through the front, past a bunch of BikeBarn guys who were trying to keep the field tame and dormant. I could see the two up the road are within my striking range, meaning they have about 10 or 15 seconds on us at most. I accelerate smoothly, on the hoods and one minute later I discreetly find their wheel just before the second corner (turning off of 138) Now we are three and I settle into their rythym without skipping a beat. Not 30 seconds later, Mr O'Connor joins us and we are four. Four teams represented and a big BikeBarn team back there doing a good job of blocking, we were sure.. Fine and dandy. I'm doing my share, pulling through, but not really drilling it. Our team would rather have Matt K up the road than me.. and I'm there more to disrupt things than to contribute.. In the mean time I'm hoping that some pressure's off Matt for a short while and he's just cruising and letting others tire themselves out with chasing.. Nevertheless.. I know there's some vertical rise coming up and I don't want to blow up. Well, no amount of holding back was going to get me up and over the start/finish line with these guys. I tried.. I turned myself inside out but lost contact about 200m before the line. What seemed like 10-15 seconds later, the first chase group whizzes past me, Matt yells something supportive as he passes, and another chase group five seconds behind the first almost leaves me in the dust, but I manage to latch on and recover for the next 4-5 miles of lap 2.. felt pretty solid too by the time we reached the climb again. Kept myself at the front 2-3 guys for the first 1/4-1/2 mile of the climb- big ring- standing a lot- using my heft to my advantage as much as possible.. but to no avail. Again I'm shelled (with a few others) very near the top/finish line. Now it's a solo TT to limit the damage. I have a target up the road- a lone BikeBarn guy. So I keep it steady and we're together by the time we hit the climb again. Not wanting to be caught by the 45s, we do a good job of pacing ourselves up and over the climb, such that the 45s don't reach us until after we turn onto 138 for the last time. Then we're absorbed and decide we may as well ride this train to the finish. Careful to keep out of the way, there are about 4 or 5 of us 35s in the 45+ group. Last time up the climb, a lapse of paying attention let the BikeBarn fella up the road a piece. Oh well.. Whatever. I dig for the last 300 meters and get to within 3 seconds of him. I have no idea if I'm gunning for 20th place or 30th.. (36 started I think) As it turns out I finish 18th.. with Steve B and team mate Ralf right on my heels. Felt good to finish! I think I'm doing a better job this year of "finish what you start". It's ever so much more satisfying than quitting.
The thing I'm happy about is a couple of new Critical Power values- CP20 and CP60. Before today, my mbest CP20 was 265 (last September) Today I hit 275. Also last September, my best CP60 was 235, but today: 253! This means that my fitness/form as of this spring date is better than my peak summer form of 2007. Sounds kooky, I know- after all I'm getting dropped on easy climbs in road races.. but bear in mind that in 2007 I did my best racing in criteriums.. per usual.. I'm not a road racer- I do them only when there are no crits I can do. Coach and I are going to be winding me up pretty tight over the next few weeks.. I expect to feel tired and fatigued all through May. Come mid-June we'll be letting the spring really unwind and I should be flying in time for Nutmeg, Keith Berger, Crit Nationals, New Britain, Attleboro. Good things are coming my way..
I should take my own advice! Stick to crits Murat.. but these road races are essential in terms of TTFU. Oh well. I felt good today, believe it or not.. don't let the 18th place finish fool you. The numbers churned out by the Powertap tell a much more positive story, numbers worth celebrating about actually. More later..
Preliminary Millwork One Racing 35+ results:
4 Matt Kressy
18 Murat Altinbasak
20 Ralf Geiben Lynn
22 Kyle Gates