My little boy gave me a cold for Father’s Day!.. So Sunday morning I had a raw scratchy painful cough and congested lungs.. I went to Harlem anyway as planned. It’s been a year of waiting! They combined the 35+ and 45+ for about 40 total guys.. separate prizes and rankings though.. Three guys broke free fairly early- I’m pissed that I didn’t bridge across when they went.. but I guess if I believed I could have, then I would have. Confidence is such a huge factor.. Duh. On the bright side, the rain held off- not sure how the pros made out.. The small field was more or less strung out the whole way.. No primes that I can remember.. With 6 to go, someone attacked, I followed, I pulled through, and rode him off my wheel. So now I had a ½ block gap to try to hold for 4 more laps. I was committed- riding with my wrists on the tops, I was holding them off pretty good. Coming up on 3 to go, just before the final corner, I hit a hole in the road so big that I’m amazed my fork didn’t break. It threw me partially over the bars, but I recovered and avoided falling. Speed dropped, nerves were shattered and I lost momentum and was swarmed during the following lap. Two to go.. I’m hanging on in the field as best I can- breathing in short gasps- wishing it were over, or wishing I had my late May form.. With one to go I’m nurturing my position- or rather- fighting for it literally- this is Harlem. Guys were PUNCHING eachother at one point- and lots of yelling.. I’m one of the top guys through the 2nd to last corner, but it cost me dearly- Everyone went to Mach 5 on that final run-in before the final corner, and I had nothing left- could not get up to the proper speed.. but I tried so damn hard. I sprinted- if you can call it that, to minimize the number of guys passing me. It was an all out effort that had me slowing down just before the line.. A few bottom feeders passed me with a like 5 meters to go- I was done.. They ranked me 10th in the 35+.. Better than last year when I was 18th out of about 71 starters- on a soaking wet course- but I was there to do better than 10th. Wish I could have delayed getting a cold by one day..
Now if Sunday were as prestigious as the 2008 edition, this would have been good enough for 16 rank points.. but I’m not so lucky- this year it’s a “D” event instead of an “A” event, so 10th place is only worth 1 point. I’ll take it. I know I did my very best physically, because when I do, my head feels like it will explode after the finish, followed by nausea and dizziness. Check, check and check.. It’s partially because I’m sick, but mostly because I didn’t sit up at the end, no matter what. In a mixed category event, you never know for sure who is passing you- it’s best to go full tilt no matter what.
Thanks for reading.
Next up: Keith Berger Criterium on Sunday. My favorite.