America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Not a Topsfield Race Report

Here is the proof that 24th place receives 17 USAC rank points in an NRC criterium (such as Chris Thater):
I did not finish the Chris Thater 35+ event again this year, same as when I DNFed it in 2008. The one compelling difference is that this time it was not lack of form or speed or nerves in the corners. No this was a little bit more honorable as it was an all-out do-or-die assault on the race, made during an attempt to bridge across to what I [incorrectly] believed to be the winning move of the day. My balls are apparently bigger than my brain, and like a wounded animal which would rather chew it's own foot off than wait for help, I persisted in my effort to the point of burying myself hopelessly and needing 5 minutes of recovery. Stuck in no-man's land, I thrashed myself to get connected and came so close it broke my heart. I should have known I was beat and I should have let the field do it's magic to shut the break down.. When the legs no longer go, they no longer go, no matter what. I wanted to get across so bad- But here's the thing: It was not smart. This small stacked field of 40 is populated with about 15 guys with the form, the experience and the confidence to win. The rest of us are in the "pick two" category, if you get my drift.. After a generous push from Alain as the field swarmed me, it was abundantly clear that my race was over. I had really screwed myself over trying to bridge across.. to a group that failed within a few laps anyway.. I guess what I'm saying is that it sucks to race to failure during a tactically incorrect move. But these things are never easy to predict. I am not intimately acquainted with the many cat 1s in the field who are using this race as a means to tune up for the main event and have fun picking money from a tree of $50 primes and the 20 deep purse of $2000. For me it's more of a crap shoot to pick the correct break because I hardly know anyone in this field besides my teammate. So it goes.. A lapse in judgment caused me to strike out pretty badly. Not to worry though- I did not drive 5 hours to go home without a completed result, even if it was DFL, I was going to race again and finish it. Fortunately, this year they introduced the Cat 2/3 event, which is a first I believe. There were two hours to kill in between my races. I used part of it to take a nap in the Land Cruiser. I used another part to register and change my numbers, and I used most of the time to warm up on the trainer. The experience at Fall River was fresh in my mind- how my legs felt awesome during the 2nd race and felt dead during the first race. Maybe this is what turns my crank- a really long and intense warm up. This thinking was obviously a deliberate way for me to improve my confidence because truthfully, I have not done anything besides Pro-1-2 races and 35+ races since I was a junior. This was going to be interesting. The youthfulness of the 78 rider 2/3 field was intimidating, but I felt pretty good about my form and my crash avoidance skills and my cornering speed. What I did not expect at any point during the race, was to get within striking distance of the 20 deep $2500 purse. Let me re-phrase that. I knew it was possible.. that is, about as possible as throwing a pair of dice and getting snake eyes 6 times in a row. Right from the start I was back on my heels in this one, which averaged about 1 mph faster than the 35s race (I used my Powertap wheel) Starting from the nose bleed section, it took me about 20 (of 35) laps to get up into the top 20 guys. A tiny bit of bad luck separated me from the wheel I wanted to follow in the final lap (take a guess whose..)- with two laps to go a rider skidded out in turn no 1 and caused the field to break up. About 20 guys were separated because a bunch of us had to grab the brakes and maneuver around the skidding bike and body. It took 1/2 lap of being completely on the rivet to get caught up, which is about when my calf started cramping. I was fatigued and fighting very hard to get my nose to the front of the race.. and now the bell is ringing for final lap. What a horror show it is to populate the 21st to 30th spot in the train at this point. It's a knife fight to get into the top 20 paying spots. When the guys from PA and NYC and NJ get a whiff of the dinero, they get a little bit crazy. I don't know how I didn't crash on that final lap- it was insane. Well.. I survived to the final corner about 25th wheel. It's a terrible corner because the inside line sucks (there's a crazy dip in the road right at the apex) and the outside line gets you easily pushed into the hay bales up on the curb. (Huge crash here on lap TWO!) At any rate, I took the final corner with great speed and remember being in between two riders who thankfully, could handle a bike. From there the course dog-legs slight uphill to slight downhill to the finish. Somehow I hit 40 mph in this race and this must have been the moment when it happened. For what it's worth, I held my position from the corner and ended up 24th. Four places out of the money.
At the end of they day, I'm satisfied to have completed a highly competitive NRC criterium against a very strong field without falling apart as it's definitely not something you ever fall ass-backwards into. Full results are up on USA Cycling.
Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

didnt your teammate alan ferry win the masters race?

Murat Altinbasak said...

He actually got 2nd in the 35+ race.